The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) made history on Saturday night when it won Bokone ward in the Mochudi West constituency for the first time.
The BCP’s Thapelo Mosothwane was voted by 453, followed by the BDP’s Lesego Matlapeng with 404 votes. The UDC trailed behind with 271 votes. Nine ballot papers were rejected in the by election that lacked hype just like the three council by elections earlier this year.
The seat fell vacant earlier this year after the resignation of opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) ward councillor Titus Kebuileng. He resigned following an ultimatum from the University of Botswana who are his employers. Kebuileng was forced to choose either his job or political career and eventually chose to continue working at UB.
During the October 24, 2015 general elections Kebuileng won the ward with 590. The Botswana Democratic Party got 435, while the BCP had 482 votes. This time around the BCP changed the tables and claimed the ward from the UDC. When counting of ballots commenced at New Linchwe Primary School it was clear that the competition was between the BCP and the ruling party. The usually loud UDC activists were conspicuous by their silence and small numbers outside the counting centre while the BDP and BCP supporters were all over the place anticipating a victory. After the announcement of the results, BCP activists erupted into song carried Mosothwane aloft.
The victory means the BCP now has four members at Kgatleng District Council. The BDP has 11 members while the UDC is leading with 12. “The victory is a good start for the BCP. Because of the results the truth is coming out that the BCP is not dead politically. It also means the BCP is still relevant,” said the elated BCP director of elections, Stephen Makhura.
Kebuileng who was present throughout the counting process said the voters had spoken. “We as the UDC accept the results. The BCP’s victory is our victory as opposition parties. Remember that the UDC and BCP cooperate at the council. I don’t think the voters have rejected the UDC,” said Kebuileng.