Mmegi Online :: Who will win Phillip Matante East by-election?
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Last Updated
Friday 08 December 2017, 17:25 pm.
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Who will win Phillip Matante East by-election?

FRANCISTOWN: As the curtain falls on the Phillip Matante East by-election campaigns tomorrow (Friday) the question on everybody’s lips is which party will win the ward on Saturday.
By Ryder Gabathuse Thu 21 Apr 2016, 11:42 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Who will win Phillip Matante East by-election?








Come Saturday, all the questions in the people’s minds will duly be answered, as the best-prepared party will definitely win this ward.

The by-election follows the death of Shadreck Nyeku of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) who had contested the elections under the tri-party Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Other members of the UDC include the Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has joined the bandwagon under the memorandum of understanding for by-elections signed recently.

Talks to determine whether or not the BCP will become a member of the UDC will commence after the by-election.

A lot has been said and done at freedom squares and door-to-door campaigns in a two-horse race that pits the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) against the UDC. The key to winning the by-election rests upon about 1,387 people who cast their votes in the 2014 general elections. Ills bedeviling the people in the ward will also determine the direction of the votes.

In the 2014 general elections about 1,381 total votes were cast at Phillip Matante East ward with six of them registered as spoiled votes.

Primaries for the contesting parties painted an interesting picture, with the UDC primaries attracting about 304 and the BDP 141. Five other people were in the race with Nare in the BDP primaries for the Phillip Matante East ward.

Quizzed about his party’s chances in the weekend by-election, the BDP by-election campaign manager, Samson Guma described Phillip Matante East as an opposition ward.

“Mathematically, they (opposition) have better numbers because of opposition unity. Incumbency provides another natural advantage,” Guma said, as if giving up.

In 2014, the late Nyeku had won the

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elections with 554 votes, followed by the BDP’s Bridget Masalila with 418, the BCP’s Nobert Madatha with 221 and Nare, then independent candidate, with 71 votes. A lot has changed in this ward, and some people have crossed the floor to either side.

“We respect the position of the opposition and we continue humbling ourselves before them,” he said.

Guma however said the BDP campaign team did what was expected by sending the right messages to the voters.

“We apologise for any untoward or unacceptable bevahiour by any of our members during the campaigns,” he said. “There has been no debate on pertinent issues and the gauging of strengths of the candidates so that they could show what they would offer and their understanding of the political game.”

According to Guma, issues in the ward include unemployment, which ravages the youth in particular; destitution; and poor sewerage systems. Many people in the area do not have access to government’s empowerment programmes.

On the opposite side, UDC assistant campaign manager, Vain Mamela, was quick to point out that they were doing well. He was buoyed by the backing of the majority of literate middle-class workers who have issues with both government and private companies.

“We are confident that we are going to win this ward despite the fact that we did not have sufficient funds to match the BDP which has been splashing money to buy votes,” he said.

Mamela said the UDC candidate, Nyeku, is favoured by circumstances to win. He said even the BDP-led Francistown City Council has a tendency to neglect opposition wards when allocating development projects and funds.

“The BDP will suffer for its mistakes,” he said.

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