The Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration minister, Eric Molale’s path for yet another bid for the Goodhope-Mabule constituency has been cleared after his main rival, Fankie Motsaathebe stepped aside for him.
Molale narrowly defeated Motsaathebe in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primaries for the August 2015 by-election, losing in the actual poll to Kgosi Lotlamoreng II of the Umbrella for Democratic Change. In the BDP primaries in July 2015, Molale polled 703 votes to Motsaathebe’s 625, in a bitterly fought election involving five ruling party members. Motsaathebe initially rejected the results, filing a complaint with the party and alleging the process was unfair.
This time around, Motsaathebe told Mmegi he was “sick and tired of fights” in the constituency and had opted to ‘sacrifice’ his long-held dream of representing Goodhope-Mabule in Parliament. “Our troubles were going to increase as there are errors in the voters’ roll.
I decided to withdraw to show that I put the party first and do not hate Molale as some have suggested. “We have had many fights in our region and the President has had to intervene before. “We had to do things right this time around by having a consensus candidate,” Motsaathebe said. He has opted to be Molale’s campaign manager for 2019 and will work to convince his supporters to vote for the consensus
The latest developments come after the region told party president, Ian Khama that their area would not win the constituency from the opposition if it went for the primaries. The region said BDP members were deeply divided in the constituency.
In a constituency meeting held on May 3, Khama pressured party members in the area to agree on a compromise candidate. “Modula setilo wa kgaolo ke kopa gore o tle o tswalele botlhe ba ba vetilweng mo classroom, o ba time metsi go fitlhela ba dumalana ka candidate e one.”
Motsaathebe told Mmegi that Khama’s statement had made aspiring candidates start talking amongst themselves on the compromise. He continued, “we had to put our differences aside. We had several meetings with branch chairperson, Olefile Thobogang until we agreed. The consensus period was given to candidates after vetting process”.
“We had differences with Molale, but we have reconciled for the sake of the party in order to win the constituency. “We have to kill this perception that I hate Molale and cannot work with him,” he said. In August 2015, Kgosi Lotlamoreng trounced Molale by 6,152 votes compared to 4,372.