PALAPYE: Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Palapye constituency has confirmed Kolaatamo Malefho as a parliamentary candidate to represent the party in the coming general elections.
BPF picked Malefo against another candidate Tefo Malala. The party national executive committee nominated Malefho last week. But the decision did no please Malala. He felt the party did not take him seriously.
“I heard from people that the party has chosen Malefho and I am still waiting for the official response. The constituency secretary general approached me to be a campaign manager, but I can’t because I feel the party somehow doesn’t take me seriously. I will be an ordinary member,” a clearly disappointed Malala said.
In the Palapye constituency, Malefho enters an established battle of three others; Moiseraele Goya of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Gape Motswaledi of Alliance for Progressives and Oneetse Ramogapi of the Umbrella for Democratic Change.
Malefho is a former BDP member. He contested the ruling party’s primary elections in Serowe South and lost to Lesedi Phuthego. His latest candidature for the BPF has unsettled the constituency, party insiders have revealed.
Some constituents fear that Palapye residents might reject Malefho and there would be no time for change.
“He is at liberty to contest where he wishes, but he lost Bulela Ditswe in Serowe. For him to contest in Palapye says a lot about his personal interests. Palapye community doesn’t know him and would ask why he did not contest for BPF in Serowe if we are to sell him,” said a source within the party who preferred anonymity.
BPF’s Palapye constituency chairperson, Lawrence Bodilenyane confirmed that there were some members who were misrepresenting the party within the constituency. He, however, cleared that due care was followed to determine the contestant. The two candidates, he said, tabled their interests in writing and their names were submitted to the Party Executive where a determination was made.
Malefho believes he could turn around the established constituency parliamentary battle. He has a little over a month to sell himself. The general elections are set for October 23, this year.
The Serowe-born Malefho is a political novice. The former public servant joined politics last year. The 49-year-old retired medical doctor is also former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health
His first political home after calling time in his medical profession was the BDP. He became an active politician in 2018 when former president Ian Khama retired from office.
He put his name up for the BDP primary elections in Serowe South and lost. Malefho reckoned there were doubts in the Bulela Ditswe. He later joined BPF at formation. He was immediately elected BPF’s secretary for health.
But Malefho doesn’t have reservations on his new assignment of leading BPF in the battle for the Palapye constituency. Malefho said he had visited a few places and the response was promising.
As a new face in the village, the doctor expects mixed reactions. He is worried that time effect might weigh heavily on his campaign. “If only the constituents could lend us an ear, I believe they could hear us. We actually stand for what they wish for,” he said.
He added that from his experience at the National Strategic Office at the Office of the President he figured there was a lot he could do for Batswana.
“Palapye people are open -minded. They would understand we are in an era where the economy of the country needs to be driven by capable people that would help improve their lives. That is what I look forward to,” he said.
The constituency chairperson also confirmed BPF would field eight local government candidates. Palapye has 10 wards. The party would not field in the two wards that are currently held by the UDC, Morupule and Khurumela Wards.
“We will contest in the rest of the wards that are held by the BDP. We believe the UDC is capable of retaining Morupule and Khurumela Wards hence we chose to support them instead,” explained Bodilenyane.He added that they had made inroads with robust campaigns in the village. While we did house to house, he said, we told our constituents that we would be fielding a parliamentary candidate.
“We will now call them and introduce the candidate. Palapye has responded well to the BPF, and we are confident we will do well in the constituency.”