On Saturday, five candidates will slug it out at the Bosele ward by-election in the Gaborone Bonnington North constituency. Indications are that the best prepared candidate will carry the day. Mmegi Staffer TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE reports
So far, there is no obvious winner and it seems the electorate is going to be very strict with the parties vying for the vacant ward. The vacancy for Bosele ward council opened up after the death of a councillor. Five candidates running for the seat are the Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) Kgomotso Kaelo, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Maplanka Mpule, the Botswana Labour Party (BLP)’s Olebile Sesupo, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Isaac Moseki and an independent candidate, Molomo Montsho.
Out of the five candidates, three parties that really stand a chance are the BDP, BCP and UDC. Over the weekend when Mmegi visited the area, the three parties were mostly mentioned by different voters as standing a good chance. It has been one of the hectic weeks for different political parties and an individual as no one seems set to leave any stone unturned as they canvass for political support.
Different political parties have created bases or war rooms where they discuss all their strategies on how they approach and convince residents of the area to vote in their favour. For residents of Bosele ward, this has also become an entertainment moment since there is always noise and there are artists performing freely at different rallies to attract voters.
Every candidate is hopeful that come Saturday, she/he will be the winner of the by-election. The BDP candidate Moseki said some of the things that he would advocate if he wins include small business development and support, improvement of WiFi availability and connectivity, storm water drainage and repair, maintenance of roads and street lights, assistance for people living with disability and the elderly (home-based care), crime prevention and neighbourhood watch scheme (satellite police caravan). “There is a need for corporate social responsibility through our businesses in the area. Bosele has many businesses and the owners of those businesses could assist in playing a role in the society, which could also help to create employment. Since the area has a lot of youth, it is important to establish and support recreational facilities and sports teams. Again youth study groups and learning centres are important for students to improve their results,” he said. As for the UDC candidate, he is worried about internal roads which are in a bad state but the current council is still failing to attend to them. “Streetlights are not working in the area hence it is mostly dark at night. This contributes to the crime rate which is high in the area. Another factor that contributes to crime is the unemployment rate. Poor water drainage is a concern in the area since during rainy times, floods do affect the residents.
At Taung and Extension 20, the situation becomes worse during the rainy season,” he said. The other issue that Maplanka raised is the bushy areas which he said contributes to crime and renders the area filthy. On the other hand, the BLP candidate Sesupo said she is worried that a primary school in their area does not have a pre-school and therefore, parents are forced to take their children to areas that are far from the ward. “Some of the residents in my area do not have resources that permit them to pay for a taxi or combi every month for them to take children to schools.
Therefore, failure to have such a pres-school denies our children the opportunity that others have. There is a need for an additional clinic in our area that will open 24 hours because of the population density. Our area is dirty and the council is failing to assist us,” she said. Independent candidate, Molomo complained that the council is taking long to collect waste in the area. “Bosele is filthy. Water drainage in this area is bad and the situation becomes terrible during the rainy season. I strongly believe that I am a capable candidate who can speak on behalf of residents since I am not aligned with any party. Unlike party candidates, nothing binds me from having fear of talking about issues that affect my residents. This ward was neglected hence we have rubble, which contributes to the filthiness of the area. The council is failing us,” Molomo said. The BCP candidate, Kaelo also stressed that he is the rightful candidate for the area since he grew up in it and knows its challenges quite well. “The businesses in this area are many as it is an industrial site. The problem is that business owners in this area are not paying back to the community to assist residents or even to clean the area. Some of the rubble that residents are complaining of, was piled by some of those business owners. Again, lack of unemployment is high because Bosele ward has a high population because it consists of high, middle and lower classes. Crime rate is high and hence the need to have a satellite police post or active neighbourhood watch. Residents and business owners need a representative who can help them to work together,” Kaelo said. In addition, he also stressed that the Gaborone City Council (GCC) has failed residents of Bosele ward since it has not done anything about the bush which residents long complained about. He said they were shocked that some of the internal roads in the area were last Friday cleared as they knew that Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane was going to address a BDP rally. He said that on its own shows that the council does not care about the residents of the area. He said since the BDP was voted in 2019, developments in their area had gone down and that is why even their clinic does not have drugs as residents are forced to go to Julia Molefhe Clinic at Block 9.
He also shared same sentiments with others on the issue of roads, street lights and poor drainage system.
Meanwhile, another ward that will also elect its councillor on the same day is Grootlaagte in the Gantsi North constituency.Only four candidates will battle it out and that includes BDP’s Moretlwa Petro, the UDC’s Tjemisa Sehakgamaleng, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)’s Theko Kopanelo and independent candidate Maselesele Jacob.