While the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) insists the Goodhope/Mabule by-election was lost due to the chieftaincy factor, Zibani Maundeni, a well-known political analyst says the loss was a sign that the ruling party has lost appeal.
In trying to explain the humiliating loss to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), the BDP secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane said they would have won had the opposition put up any candidate other than Kgosi Lotlamoreng II.
Lotlamoreng, on the UDC ticket, comfortably defeated the BDP candidate and minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale as well as the Botswana Congress Party’s Comfort Maruping.
“If the UDC candidate was someone else, we could have won the area,” Ntuane said yesterday.
“We are (however) waiting for our regional committee and campaigning teams to do evaluation exercises to show how we lost.
“We campaigned vigorously and we were not expecting a loss.”
Not necessarily so, argued the University of Botswana political scientist Maundeni. Maundeni said the ruling party was losing popularity even among its rural strongholds. He said the BDP loss in Goodhope/Mabule was a sign that Batswana were starting to reject the ruling party.
“This has nothing to do with Molale’s popularity because he worked for years in the public sector. From the look of things, those who lost, lost fairly and even those who won, won fairly,” Maundeni said.
“The BDP is the one which lost not Molale. There are winds of change in the air; people are eager for change,” said Maundeni.
The UB academic said the issue of possible frictions arising from the BDP’s primary elections could not be given as a reason for the loss, as those who had initially opposed Molale had ended up supporting him.
Maundeni said the BDP had not been doing anything to increase its popular vote, which he said had been on the decline for years.
“Party’s popular votes show their performance. Therefore the party can assess itself on whether it is still likeable or not. Some parties take these seriously and they research on how to improve or what could have gone wrong,” he said.
Maundeni said the identity of the UDC candidate did not “contribute much” to the election’s outcome.
“Of course some people voted because they wanted to vote for their chief but the truth is that people are tired of the ruling party. I believe that even if it was not the Kgosi, UDC candidate would have won.”
Maundeni said the election results show that the Botswana National Front (BNF) has penetrated the constituency. The BNF is a member of the UDC.