The aftermath of Letlhakeng West

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The Letlhakeng West by-election was always going to be a high tempo affair. In the first place, it came right on the heels of the loss by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in Tumasera-Seleka and Mmathethe wards to the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) respectively.

Reportedly President Ian Khama commissioned an inquiry into the reasons the BDP had failed to retain the two wards. A few months earlier, the BDP had lost Sebele and Maboane wards to the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and BNF. Unlike Tonota North and Mahalapye North by-elections whose outcomes were almost predictable because they are BDP strongholds, the stakes were high at Letlhakeng. In less than 10 years between 2004 and 2009, the constituency has changed hands at least twice between the BNF and the ruling party. No doubt the BDP foot soldiers were not going to disappoint their leader nor earn his wrath by losing the constituency especially after he had allegedly threatened action against those found culpable for the loss in Tumasera- Seleka and Mmathethe.

For the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), which consists of the BMD, BNF and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), the Letlhakeng West constituency by-election provided an opportunity to begin the process of regime change. Significantly, with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) throwing its weight behind the BNF and the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) openly campaigning for the opposition, the clock seemed to have gone back to the public servants' strike period in 2011 when the opposition, united in purpose, sang the regime change tune in unison with the workers union. UDC needed to win a constituency in order to prove it is a viable project. This was the third constituency by-election after Tonota North and Mahalapye West both of which the BDP retained.

Editor's Comment
Women unite for progress

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