Pelotshweu boela mannong, mmatla sa gagwe o se bone. This Setswana saying, meaning one has to be happy when one finally gets what they always wanted, could best describe the joy felt by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) members over the weekend.
UDC won Mochudi East, a constituency they lost when slain legislator, Isaac Davids crossed floors to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
One could have mistaken the mood at the recent Mochudi East by-election for a choral competition, as members of political parties kept the virgil with dikhwaere songs. UDC were more vocal, having started right as ballot boxes were arriving for the counting at Molefi Senior Secondary School.
The BDP also had their own choir, which disbanded when it seemed obvious that they were headed for a drubbing, not only in the chorals, but also at the polls. Bakgatla who are renowned for dikhwaere staged a wonderful night vigil of song up until the election results were announced. The UDC choir grew overnight and at some point there were three sets of UDC choirs singing different songs on the tarred road right in front of the school where ballots were being counted. The jubilant followers of Moagi Molebatsi and the UDC sang peacefully under the watchful eye of police officers who were stationed at the entrance of the school. They sang praises Molebatsi, UDC and its president, Duma Boko. The BDP was insulted them through song. The
Both young and the old rejoiced in song and dance in the cold weather.
Those not taking part in singing imbibed different beverages as others sat around a fire. Not far from the counting centre was a UDC base where those who did not want to watch dikhwaere enjoyed different music genres in large tents with disco lights to celebrate victory, which seemed to be within reach. Even though the UDC has won the constituency this time around, they were given a run for their money by the BDP.
Mochudi East is a stronghold of the Botswana National Front, which is an affiliate to the UDC. However, the UDC was at some point afraid the numbers might favour BDP because they did not do much campaigning on the ground. This was evident as they failed to win with a wider margin despite joining forces with the Botswana Congress Party, which also did very well in the constituency in 2014.