As the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) goes into its second stanza of primaries next week, Mmegi Staffers RYDER GABATHUSE & CHAKALISA DUBE sample the chances of possible winners of the party tickets in the 38 constituencies ahead of the 2019 general elections
Minister Shaw Kgathi will face off with mining consultant and former Debswana engineer, Francisco Kgoboko. A ‘well resourced’ Kgoboko is said to have started his journey in the constituency since 2015 and has reportedly made major in-roads.
Kgathi and Kgoboko have in the past had skirmishes. That was after Kgathi had accused Kgoboko of campaigning illegally. Kgoboko might cause an upset against Kgathi who enjoys incumbency.
Incumbent Sethomo Lelatisitswe tussles it out with Oboetswe Gabotlale, Lillian Thanke and Kenanao Mmopi. The two other candidates are relatively unknown or less influential in the political cycles. Lelatisitswe might triumph, but Gabotlale is breathing heavily on his neck.
Vice President (VP) and incumbent, Slumber Tsogwane will face Tlale Setumo and Emmanuel Kgaboetsile. By virtue of being the VP and as per tradition, it is a given that Tsogwane will use all the resources at his disposal to mount a strong campaign. Tsogwane is also highly revered in the constituency and the BDP, which is something that might work in his favour.
Being chosen the VP early this year might have also helped him cement his political career, which might earn him votes at the primaries.
This will probably be one of the fiercely contested primaries. Both candidates, James Kgalajwe and incumbent, Buti Billy boast very strong political credentials. Factors such as resources and experience play an important role in candidates’ conduct in the campaigns. Both men have the aforementioned ingredients. Additionally, they boast vast political experience, as they are both former Francistown mayors. They have also assembled strong campaign teams. Results may go either way.
Six candidates have thrown their names in the ring to contest the elections, but the real race is between incumbent Ignatius Moswaane, Tebogo Toteng and Samuel Kealotswe.
Kago Phofuetsile, Cornelius Gopolang and Raoboy Godfrey Mpuang stand no chance. The three leading contenders have been visible in the constituency.
Moswaane might emerge victorious on account of his well-known electioneering abilities and might benefit from a possible vote split. However, his public battles with other BDP diehards in the constituency might give either Toteng or Kealotswe an opportunity to triumph.
There are seven candidates vying for the constituency including incumbent Polson Majaga.
Majaga faces stiff competition from 34-year-old Lawrence Ookeditse who is a former director of Youth at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture Development.
In recent months, Ookeditse who reportedly enjoys the backing of the youth has traversed the constituency in search of votes.
He has held various empowerment activities in a bid to solidify his bid to win the primaries.
On the other hand, Majaga is a well-known grassroots politician and he has been passionately advocating for the rights and welfare of his people in Parliament.
The result may also go either way in Nata. Pundits believe that other candidates Rayner Makosha, Ditiro Majadibodu, Gadibolae Nlashwa, Mbanga Mbanga and Oliphant Mfa will not make it.
Former minister, Prince Mooketsi Maele, who is the incumbent will have a lot to do if he is to win candidacy for the general elections.
Maele will be up against politician Setlhabelo Modukanele who stood as an independent at the last general elections before joining the UDC. Modukanele rejoined the ruling party last year. Allegations of corruption that have been levelled against Maele on several occasions might swing the votes in favour of Modukanele who is said to have covered much ground in recent months. Modukanele is also no ordinary politician. The fact that he amassed 4,115 votes as an independent candidate in 2014 means that he poses a genuine threat to Maele.
Maele garnered 6,356 votes. Maele will most likely fall.
Minister Thapelo Olopeng, former Tonota College of Education (TCE) lecturer Tapela Setshege, who is the current BDP branch chairperson for Tonota constituency and nominated councillor, Botho Ntirang are the contestants and so is Peter Williams who is the chairperson for the Central District Council (CDC).
Dynamics in the constituency are not easy to tell. However, Olopeng has proven that he is a good mobiliser and is well-resourced which might possibly win him a nod.
The race will be between President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s blue-eyed boy, Moabi Mavange and incumbent Biggie Butale, an assistant minister. Wide speculation is that Mavange might upset Butale. Mavange is alleged to have started positioning himself for a possible victory some years ago. His alleged association with President
On the other hand, Butale might win based on the fact that he has also not put his foot wrong since he was elected to the National Assembly. Both candidates have a fair chance of winning. Nyathi Ruth Sisa and Tirelo Mukokomani are also in the running, but have little chances of winning.
An architect by profession, Puma Matlhware has been very active within the ruling party in recent years. He has held various empowerment activities in Serowe North in a bid to enhance his chances to win the primaries, but he will have it tough against incumbent Kgotla Autlwetse.
Autlwetse is held in high esteem just like the Khama family in Serowe as a grassroots politician. He has often been perceived as a strong politician even during his days as a councillor. This might influence the numbers in his favour.
Autlwetse’s vast political experience might also be another ace up his sleeve in increasing the probability of winning the primaries.
Having in the past proved his mettle against seasoned and well-resourced politicians like Ramadeluka Seretse, Autlwetse is likely to give Matlhware a torrid time.
Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s long-term political nemesis, Tebelelo Seretse will fancy her chances this time around because the former has decided to step down from active politics.
Dr Kolataamo Malefho, who quit the civil service early this year to pursue his ‘passion’ for politics is seen as Seretse’s close challenger.
Malefho is said to have started his campaigns behind the scenes last year before quitting the civil service. Seretse has fought many political battles here, and her competitors cannot easily match her stamina, which means that she is likely to emerge victorious. Former government journalist, Sefhane Phuthego is another man to watch on a serious note. Other candidates are Lesedi Phuthego and Oteng Thankane who pose no threat.
Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama is up against former assistant minister of education and MP for Gaborone North, Keletso Rakhudu, as well as businessman-cum-politician Moemedi Dijeng of Daisy Loo fame.
Khama does not have to do anything to prove his popularity as Bangwato have a tendency of not making a distinction between chieftainship and politics. Coming from the royal house, Khama’s chances of winning are very high.
This constituency is considered the home of the Khamas and dislodging the Khamas from it is almost unimaginable.Rakhudu and Dijeng are, in other words, simply exercising their democratic rights in challenging Khama.
Thato Kwerepe, incumbent MP for the area and an assistant minister, is in for a tough test as he faces former legislator, Jacob Nkate in a clash of titans. Nkate has been fighting very hard behind the scenes to make a come back. This one might go either way.
Assistant minister and incumbent MP, Fidelis Molao is skating on thin ice, as his main challenger Onkabetse Daniel has no better chance than now to prove his mettle. It’s tough and this one might go either way although Molao is boosted by incumbency and that he is a grassroots man.
Another assistant minister and incumbent MP, Master Goya is going to easily sail through as his challengers are perennial losers who always pose no threat to his candidacy. Both Isaac Maforaga and Moses Kesamang are still learning the ropes of politics, especially running for elected office, the art that Goya seemingly masters.
Incumbent Machana Shamukuni faces his usual challengers who seemingly know his strengths and weaknesses. Although there is fear that Shamukuni skates on thin ice, he stands to benefit from split votes. The incumbent will win with a thin margin this time around.
The absence of incumbent Botlogile Tshireletso has attracted five candidates to slug it out in the area. Lazarus Lekgoanyana, Eco Maje, James Lefoane, Tassman Cebane and Timothy Tlhalerwa are in he race.
A political fight between incumbent MP Joseph Molefe and Bernard Bolele has all the ingredients of a derby match. It’s going to be a tough calling. Molefe has an edge of incumbency, but Bolele this time around has gotten closer to the party structures, which might prove tough for the incumbent.
May the best candidate win!