When Kagiso Molatlhegi announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking another term as Member of Parliament for Gaborone South, it was almost certain that Meshack Mthimkhulu would represent the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the 2019 general elections.
But the former Botswana National Front activist will not have an easy ride, as it has since emerged that former member of the BDP communications sub-committee Monametsi Kalayamotho has thrown in the hat into the race.
There be more, as it is only at the end of this month, when it will be known if only the two will be contesting in the party’s Bulela Ditswe for the only constituency in the ruling party hands in the capital city.
The deadline for expression of interest in BDP held constituencies is May 30.
Molatlhegi won the constituency in 2014 with 3,872 votes, followed by Murray Dipate of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) with 3,629, Akanyang Magama of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) with 2,318 and Mthimkhulu, then an independent candidates coming last with 1,475 votes.
The two young BDP activists grew up in the constituency and are both believed to be close to President Mokgweetsi Masisi. Masisi once headed the sub-committee and is said to have played a crucial role in recruiting Mthimkhulu and other opposition activists to the ruling party.
As a long term BDP activist, Kalayamotho is said to also enjoy support from the area MP while Mthimkhulu is relying on masses that have been backing him up for a long time. In regard to campaigning, Mthimkhulu is far ahead of the pack as he started to publicly show interest to represent the party two years back.
According to a source, the BDP members are divided between the two candidates, as some believe that the members should be loyal to a person who has been a democrat.
Kalayamotho is new on this game of campaigning. He only experienced the rough tussle of campaign when he was part of Masisi’s party chair team in 2014.
His campaign in the area started three months ago, Mmegi has learnt.
But Kalayamotho said he cannot comment on the matter until vetting has been done.
Mthimkhulu is so far leading when it comes to number of people he had newly registered to vote for him in the primaries.
For Kalayamotho to register Mthimkhulu’s number or more, he has to work harder to convince those who registered to vote Mthimkhulu to turn against the young but veteran politician.
Mthimkhulu confirmed that he is contesting.
He is understood to have a good relationship with democrats in the area, because he has been active in the BDP events in Gaborone South.
He is well known and knows the tricks of opposition politics, which he grew up under.
Mmegi has learnt that Molatlhegi is eyeing position of Speaker of the National Assembly in 2019, as the term of the current Speaker, Gladys Kokorwe, will be coming to an end.
“It is true I won’t be contesting in the coming party primary elections. I had agreement with my family that I should run for two terms. Other democrats will take over from where I left. Submissions of names for party primary elections for second lap has not yet been done. I would not know the names of people who will be contesting. New people with fresh ideas should come and take over where I left off,” Molatlhegi said.to spoil Mthimkhulu’s party