Moagi Molebatsi, a leader of Mangana regiment of Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela has been elected to represent the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the Mochudi East by-election billed for April.
Molebatsi garnered 795 votes, winning the candidacy for the constituency for the Botswana National Front (BNF) parliamentary primaries, while Obakeng Matlou came in second with 363 votes while 338 people voted for Mothusi Tlhowe.
Molebatsi has been championing efforts by Bakgatla to have Kgosi Bana Sekai re-instated as Bakgatla deputy chief as well as seeking peace between the government and self-exiled Kgosikgolo Kgafela Kgafela II. Interestingly, Kgafela’s brother Mmusi Kgafela will represent the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the 2019 general elections in the Mochudi West constituency.
Speaking to The Monitor briefly after he was declared a winner, Molebatsi said he was happy and promised that he would win the constituency and will not defect. “I am glad that we managed to finish the exercise.
I will win the constituency and promise that I will never defect with it or be bought by anyone. I will serve diligently under the same party that will take me to Parliament,” he said.
Molebatsi said he was hopeful that they would work together with the losing candidate for the BNF and UDC to win it despite the hiccups they encountered in the process. “Things could have been done better. We had challenges with some people’s names not appearing in the voters’ roll and other mistakes. It was mainly because we did not have enough time
Matlou accepted the results despite having reservations about how some things were done. “Generally it all went well.
The only challenge that we had was that some names were missing from the voters’ roll. It is mainly because there was not enough time to prepare for the elections, as names have to be submitted next week. We will continue to work for the party and support the winning candidate,” he said.
Tlhowe was nowhere to be seen at the counting centre.
The presiding officer Jerry Rasetshwane said there was a lot that the party needed to do to prepare for elections. “We had some shortcomings as you heard about some people not being able to vote.
We should always be ready and not just wait for elections. It was, however, not bad and none of the candidates objected to the results,” he said.
Rasetshwane said they were not worried about the numbers that participated in the primaries stating that they would now be campaigning together with other UDC partners to win the constituency. He urged the candidates to support Molebatsi and help in the campaign, as they are one people.
The Mochudi East parliamentary seat fell vacant in January after the then BDP legislator Isaac Davids was allegedly stabbed to death by two of his farm workers.