BCP confident as parties faceoff at LepokolaBorotsi ward
BY EDWARD MPOLOKA
Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will face-off in a by-election in the Lepokole-Borotse ward in the Bobirwa constituency on Saturday.
The by-election is a result of the resignation of Mafoko Motseothata of the UDC who polled 1701 votes in the 2019 general elections. Motseothata left the UDC for greener pastures.
Meanwhile, the BDP, which was represented by Sepelong Lemphositse garnered 652 votes in the 2019 general elections. Before the 2019 general elections which saw the BCP, Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP) coming together to form the UDC coalition, the Lepokole-Borotse ward had always been a BDP stronghold.
Asked about the campaign atmosphere, upbeat BCP candidate, Moalosi Afa told this publication that the campaign is generally an issue-based and peaceful one. “As BCP, we are ready for the showdown on Saturday,” Afa said. He posited that the biggest challenge facing the BCP in the by-election is limited resources.
“Inevitably, we have to engage a significant number of foot-soldiers to do house-to-house campaigns and interact with the electorate. The need to transport the campaign team around as well as availing t-shirts and food is always a heavy burden for the opposition such as the BCP,” Afa said. He continued, “Despite the financial and other problems, the BCP will prevail because both our competitors are weak. For example, the BDP lost a lot of people in both Lepokole and Borotse to the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) hence cannot match us.
“By the same token, the UDC is not a threat to us either because it is very thin on the ground,” Afa, who is confident of an early Christmas, observed. “One of the challenges waiting for a meaningful and expeditious response is stock theft at the border with Zimbabwe. This niggling menace is a threat to our economy as a community. We have lost and continue to lose our
livestock to cross-border cattle rustlers.
“One of the issues I will be seized with if elected over the weekend, is the creation of meaningful collaboration with the community, police, paramilitary police and veterinary personnel among other stakeholders,” he pledged.
Boitumelo Nyambe, the UDC LepokolaBorotsi ward candidate, rubbishes the narrative that the UDC will lose the contest because, after winning the ward in 2019, its councillor resigned occasioning the by-election and the attendant expenses to the nation.
“Naysayers always have something to say. This is not the first time that a councillor or Member of Parliament (MP) has resigned his or her seat. As far as we are aware, there are no angry people waiting to shame the UDC in the by election on account of the councillor’s resignation,” Nyambe said. His view is that despite the negative talk, the UDC has grown popular in the ward and beyond due to its incessant calls to protect democracy in the country by way of demanding transparency in the country’s registration process.
“This has made the coalition very strong and, in the process, its competitors have got no choice but to attempt to malign it. The presence of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) and the BPF in the ward, will benefit the UDC a lot,” Nyambe said. Nyambe is troubled by the many social ills such as Gender Based Violence (GBV), suicide, among other social ills. According to him, the current government is not doing enough on the social challenges bedevilling the people.
Like all opposition politicians, Nyambe bemoans the fact that there is no state political funding in the country.
“As an opposition coalition, we are always struggling for finances,” Nyambe said. He believes that state funding of political parties would go a long way in maturing the country’s democracy. Efforts to interview the BDP candidate for the ward, Letso Leshiba were futile as he, on two consecutive days declined to comment insisting that this reporter should “get permission from Domkrag.”