On Wednesday, registered voters will head to the polls to hire who they believe will serve their constituencies better.
Compared to previous years, this time around it is not obvious which of the contesting parties will emerge victorious.
Almost all the parties contesting elections proclaim that they will be the overall winner, but that remains to be seen after all the ballots are counted.
The question in the minds of many Batswana, especially those whose judgement is not clouded by party loyalty, is who will emerge victorious between Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
In all honesty due to the number of candidates the other parties have fielded, the real competition will be between the two.
The tight contest has seen both parties intensifying their campaigns, aiming broadsides at each other, and this frustration and anger seem to have taken a toll on some of the contenders.
The race is hot, and sometimes in trying to sway voters to their side, the leaders of both the BDP and the UDC have said things on the campaign trail that have not been received well by members of the general public.
UDC president, Duma Boko caused a stir during the presidential debate held last week when he used words from late folklore legend Ratsie Setlhako’s song Matshwaro.
Many people said that he wasted too much time criticising others rather than selling his party’s manifesto, while others argued that they appreciated what he said.
BDP president, Mokgweetsi Masisi also had his share of criticism relating to the presidential debate. The issue of ‘ke lelope’ came back to haunt him.
He denied ever saying “ke le latswa thipa” much to the disapproval of some members of the audience at the Mass Media Complex in Gaborone.
It has been a busy campaign season indeed, and we have had a good laugh at some of the things the aspirants have said in the public domain. It should, however be noted that some of these issues, regrettably, created caustic debates on social media, with insults flying around across the political divide.
During the presidential debate, Masisi denied ever saying ‘ke le latswa thipa’, and oops, the power of social media, the video, where he clearly states: ‘Nna ga ke latswe thipa hela ko Domkrag le ko pusong, ke e letswa ko kgosing, ga ke itse gore ha o sa e latswe o ikantse mang’.
Oh Lord did this become a de-campaigning tool for especially UDC members, questioning his honesty?
At one of the many campaign rallies, Masisi took a swipe at Boko’s relationship with South African businessman Zunaid Moti, saying “Yo mongwe o tlhola a tabogile mo ka dikoloi tse a di adimilweng ke ditsala tsa gagwe tsa bahumi…….a re sireletseng lehatshe la rona”. Masisi was
Gideon Duma Boko
UDC president, Duma Boko’s use of Ratsie Setlhako’s Matshwaro lyrics during presidential debates, created such a buzz.
While some people were impressed by what they termed creativity on the part of Boko, others expressed disappointment and said the UDC president was outright disrespectful and arrogant.
Some of the words borrowed from the folklore song, which were used by Boko: ‘Re buswa ke bo nkobolwane, dithodi, bo magogajase’.
The statement divided Facebook commentators into two camps; those who were and are still defending Boko’s use of the lyrics, and those who seemed to be irked by the use of such “offensive” words in a presidential debate.
The following day the UDC’s president was on radio doing interviews, which some viewed as damage control.
During the UDC double launch in Molepolole, Boko shocked many by announcing that after winning the elections: ‘ha re santse re baakanya lehatshe, re ya go fa Motswana mongwe le mongwe yoo hirilweng se go tweng 13th cheque.’
The UDC president was not specific on whether he was referring to government employees or all employed Batswana to give them the 13th cheque.
Many took to social media to seek clarity on whether he was referring to government employees only or all employees, while some dismissed it as a populist stunt geared towards increasing the numbers of potential voters.
Boko also took a swipe at Botswana Movement for Democracy leader, Sidney Pilane during the launch of Gaborone Bonnington South candidate Ketlhalefile Motshegwa.
“Le ene yo o bonang re mmitsa thokolosi ha re tenegile yo, ha se gore re mo thoile. Re tenwa ke mekgwa ya gagwe le bothinthinyane le bogogorwane ja gagwe.
Ga re na letlhoo mo go Pilane. Re tenwa ke bothinthinyane jo le go rongwa boloi. Re tenwa ke gone mo. Ene hela ele motho ga re a mo thowa gothelele.”
Alliance for Progressives (AP) president, Ndaba Gaolathe seem to have taken a stand to concentrate more on issues rather than taking a swipe at individual candidates, or making what some term ‘urealistic’ promises to the nation.
He told his supporters at one of the rallies, that they should not be moved by anyone who chooses to insult him or other AP members, saying they should concentrate on the bigger picture.
“Ba togeleng ba re bitse bo Sta-soft, le ape hela maina a ba a batang,” Ndaba said.
Butale has not really been that visible with the spotlight at his party enjoyed by patron Ian Khama.
Butale had people in stitches on the debate night when he said he could be president after the elections.