FRANCISTOWN: After an indifferent start to his political career, Member of Parliament-elect for the Bobonong constituency, Taolo Lucas, claimed a historic win in the just-ended General Election.
The phrase – patience and perseverance pay – aptly describes Lucas’ ride in local politics. The phrase captures Lucas’ multiple loses against various Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activists until his recent win.
According to the incoming Bobonong MP, his win against Francisco Kgoboko of the BDP was not a fluke but a result of efforts he and his UDC comrades put into the constituency over the past 20 years.
Narrating his political journey that was mostly punctuated by losses against his BDP nemesis, Lucas stated that he first contested the elections against James Maruatona in 1999 and garnered about 1,200 votes while Maruatona emerged victorious with about 4,900 votes.
Not one to give up, Lucas tried his luck for the second time against then MP for Bobonong, Shaw Kgathi. Kgathi defeated him by close to 4,200 votes while he got 3,700.
The concept of pre-determinism probably came to Lucas’ mind because the number of votes he amassed over the years showed an upward trajectory. Predeterminism is the philosophy that all events of history, past, present and future, have been already decided or are already known (by God, fate, or some other force) or human actions.
Buoyed by this increasing number of votes he amassed over the years, Lucas tried his luck again against Kgathi in 2009, but he lost by a margin of 420 votes.
At least 5,800 electorates voted Kgathi while Lucas garnered 5,380 votes.
Lucas did not despair but threw his hat in the ring against Kgathi in 2014 only to lose again by a slim margin of 120 votes.
At the time 7,230 voters chose Lucas, but Kgathi emerged victorious with 7,350 ballots. “The votes I amassed in 2014 gave me hope and appreciation that I shall one day emerge victorious.
These numbers showed that the people of Bobirwa appreciated my contribution to the democracy of Botswana. I was even encouraged by some BDP members. They encouraged me to keep on soldiering on,” an ecstatic Lucas said.
The gods finally smiled upon Lucas in the just-ended general elections when he trounced Francisco Kgoboko of the BDP.
This time around 8,956 people voted for him while Kgoboko got 8,103 votes, which put Lucas on a significant lead with 853 votes. Lucas – who was standing on the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) slate for the first time after the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) joined the UDC – dismissed as a fallacy the notion that his party won all the four wards in Bobonong because he originates from there while Kgoboko bagged wards outside Bobonong because he originates from Mabolwe village. He said:
While it is a well-known fact that the UDC has an acrimonious relationship with the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), which was expelled from the coalition for bringing the name of the UDC into disrepute, Lucas revealed that they did not field a candidate at Mathathane ward but instead fielded a BMD candidate.
“We instead supported Meshack Makgosa of the BMD at Mathathane and he was also victorious. After the BMD was expelled from the UDC, we felt that Makgosa could win the ward. In total, the UDC won five wards in the constituency while BDP prevailed in four,” Lucas explained.
Asked if he was not afraid that Kgoboko might upset the applecart following his entrance in politics after he defeated Kgathi convincingly in two primary elections after the BDP ordered a rerun following allegations that former president Ian Khama had decampaigned Kgathi, Lucas answered: “I didn’t think that I would lose”.
Quizzed about a widely held belief that some UDC supporters applied for BDP membership cards in order to defeat Kgathi during the BDP primary elections, Lucas responded:
“Those allegations cannot be substantiated”. Lucas also revealed that he has not quit his job at the University of Botswana (UB) but has applied for ‘leave to take public office’, which expires after five years. He also stated that he and his UDC colleagues who have also emerged victorious during the elections are more than ready for the parliamentary tasks that lie ahead.
“I am very happy with the quality of UDC cadres that we have in the opposition benches. I must say that this coming Parliament is going to be very lively and robust,” an optimistic Lucas said.
As a parting shot, Lucas thanked his wife and daughter for always supporting him through thick and thin.
“I thank my family for their patience. I also thank all my friends and the UDC very much for the support they gave me. Let me also thank all comrades and well-wishers who supported me with resources to achieve this historic win. My political campaign did not drain the coffers of my family,” he said.