As the country goes to the polls next week, Mmegi Staff writer CHAKALISA DUBE and Correspondent LESEDI MKHUTSHWA sample the chances of possible winners of some of the constituencies.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) candidate for Boteti East and Vice President (vp) Slumber Tsogwane will battle it out with his usual challenger Sam Digwa of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Tsogwane beat Digwa with a very thin margin in the last general elections, which is why many believe that Tsogwane is skating on thin ice. Tsogwane won by 5,790 to Digwa’s 5, 549 votes.
The BCP attained 622 votes. There are those who believe that Digwa’s chances of winning will be boosted by the support he enjoys from the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), a BDP splinter party. Another factor is that the BCP is now part of the UDC, which might therefore boost Digwa’s numbers as the party is now under the UDC fold.
Perhaps sensing danger, Tsogwane has been frequently visiting the constituency to address kgotla meetings. To some observers, Tsogwane’s incursions are a well-calculated strategy to boost his appeal to the voters.
Being elected the Vice President of the country might also have boosted his profile. The race might go either way, but the margin may not be that convincing.
Both candidates Dorcus Makgato and Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang have proved that they are good mobilisers and grassroots politicians.
Makgato won the constituency with a margin of over 1, 500 at the 2014 general elections. The two have been at each other’s throat while on the campaign trail. The BPF has also openly declared war on Makgato. The party has made it clear it will fight hard to ensure that she loses.
Dr Gobotswang has not stopped campaigning since the last general elections, which might be a plus to him. On the other hand, Makgato has also not been deterred by her ministerial and parliamentary duties she has often visited the constituency and has matched the militancy and shrewdness of the opposition on the campaign trail.The constituency might also go either way.
Taolo Lucas, the UDC candidate is very well known in the constituency having represented it (under the BCP fold and lost several times) at the general elections in the past.
This time around his most notable challenger is Francisco Kgoboko of the ruling party. Other candidates, independent, Dan Moshokwa and Ofentse Njobo of the BMD are said to be struggling to make inroads.
Although Kgoboko is relatively new into politics he has proven his mobilising prowess. He twice beat (the second primaries were a rerun) seasoned politician Shaw Kgathi a factors that Lucas should be wary of.
The greatest advantage for Lucas is his vast political experience and the fact that he has not stopped campaigning since the last general elections.
The BPF factor might also work in his favour. BPF Patron Ian Khama has been extensively de-campaigning Kgoboko in the area.
Kgoboko started campaigning in the constituency as early as 2015, which means he might have asserted himself very well to the voters. Lucas lost to Shaw Kgathi at the 2014 general elections by a margin of 120.
This time around he has the best chance of winning but Kgoboko who is said to be well resourced can also pull a surprise.
The two candidates do stand a chance of winning. Tshepo Makhani of the UDC, BPF president Biggie Butale and Simon Moabi are in the race.
But the real contest is between Moabi and Makhani. Both men have been on the campaign trail for some time while Butale joined the race late. The BPF has also not fully established itself in the area.
Makhani might benefit from the vote split between the BPF and BDP. However having defeated Biggie Butale in the BDP primaries Moabi cannot be taken lightly.
He also appears to be very well resourced which is why he might win. Now let us bring figures into play. In 2014 the BDP managed 4, 510 votes while the UDC garnered 3, 506 and the BCP came third with 1, 671.
It is not far-fetched to assume that based on figures the UDC is best placed to win because the party’s strength has now been boosted by the arrival of the BCP. Overall, Makhani stands a good chance of winning.
The real race is between President Ian Khama’s brother Tshekedi of the BPF and Moemedi Dijeng of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Not many dynamics will be at play.
Tshekedi will simply win on account of being from the royal family. The Khama family enjoys a lot of backing in Serowe. Other candidates are Leremela Bogosing of the AP and Rolend Gambule.
Past immediate MP Bagalatia Arone might fall on account of various factors. There three candidates on the race but his actual challenger Kenny Kapinga who has been campaigning for over two years.
The former police deputy commissioner is also highly revered in the area. The area is also a BCP stronghold. There is also still a strong perception that Arone angered a lot of people in the area by quitting the BCP , a party ‘that made him what he is’, which is why they want him out.
Arone has a remote chance on account of incumbency and the fact that in the BDP he has done comparatively well in the area. Kabelo Mahupe of AP will not make an impact as he is said to be less popular in the area.
In Maun West the actual race is between UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando and Reoboka Mbulawa. Moalosi Sebati of the AP is also contesting.
In 2014, Tawana Moremi won the constituency under the UDC banner by 7, 271 votes against BDP’s 5, 335. Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s George Ludinda managed 2, 357.
On account of numbers, the UDC will win the constituency. The UDC also has an impressive following in the area. However what makes the race very interesting is that there are strong unconfirmed reports that Kgosi Tawana Moremi (who won the constituency for the UDC at the last general elections before quitting the coalition) is said to be now rooting for Mbulawa.
Francistown East constituency
There are four candidates in the race. Buti Billy of the BDP as well as BPF’s James Kgalajwe and Morgan Moseki of the UDC. Theresa Mmolawa is also in the race.
However it is Moseki and Billy who might make an impact. Moseki has contested the general elections in the area in the past (under the BCP banner) and lost to the BDP. Moseki’s win might come on account of a vote split between the ruling party and its second splinter party the BPF.
The constituency falls under three BDF camps and the government camp, which houses several police officers. It also falls within the Prisons camp.
A hypothetical analysis on the ground shows that some in the disciplined forces might vote the BDP on account of the recent increments afforded to them.
Moseki has often relied on members of the disciplined forces for votes in the past because the BDP government was not willing to head their plight in relation to low salaries.
Billy is also a grassroots politician something that should worry the opposition. The verdict: Billy might win but not with a strong margin.