Low Turnout For Bulela Ditswe

Banthasetse Merementsi PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Banthasetse Merementsi PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

While it is always expected for by-elections to yield lower numbers, one would have anticipated a better turnout for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primaries at Moshupa East in the Moshupa/Manyana constituency held on Saturday.

This is because Moshupa is a BDP stronghold, and it had attracted nine candidates. The ward, however, attracted a paltry 665 voters while other areas also had a low turnout. Reasons advanced include reluctance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, short time for preparation as well as disgruntlement on the part of some voters over unfulfilled promises. Moshupa East had the most candidates namely, Grace Kobua, Lentswe Mosanako, Modimoofile Batolomi, Shiny Tumediso, Batlhalosi Tshedifatso, Reuben Baaisi, Issac Matale, Joseph Keotshwaetse and Tshimologo Motlamme.

According to presiding officer Bantlhasetse Merementsi, they were expecting 2,045 cast votes. “The turnout was very poor in all of our polling stations. We had five polling stations, but they were not as busy as I had expected looking at our previous voters roll. Maybe we did not do enough as a party to announce to people that there will be party primary elections and I think the time was not enough for candidates also to a campaign looking at the voters roll,” Merementsi said. Mosanako, who is a former area councillor, won by 152 votes.

Tumediso got 96, Matale, 79, Kobua, 73, Motlamme, 72, Keotshwaetse, 68, Tshedifatso, 49, Baaisi, 37 and Batolomi won only 26 votes. There were 13 spoiled votes. At Lerolwane ward in Mathethe/Molapowabojwang constituency, there were three aspirant candidates. Boitumelo Seakgo, Mogopodinyane Tsiripane and Tshotego Phologolo. According to the presiding officer Leo Motlhophi, they had expected 1,000 voters, but only 398 turned up. “Even if the number is not impressive, it is clear that we can still retain the ward if close to 400 members can come for Bulela Ditswe during a by-election.

By-elections do not attract people like the general election does and again some might have failed to come due to the bad roads leading to Lerolwane, which is far from Molapowabojwang. Again, from this number, we do not know how many people might have passed on and we had a limited time to call for primaries immediately after the State of Emergency,” Motlhophi said.

Seakgo won the primaries with 154 votes while Tsiripane got 143. Phologolo came third with 97 votes while there were four spoiled votes. At Boseja North in Mochudi East, three contested for primaries and they had expected over 400 to cast their vote but only 132 voted. The three were Bosa Seboni, Charles Ntshole and Mogomotsi Chelane. Seboni got 22 votes, Chelane 28 and Ntshole won it with 82 votes. Mochudi East branch secretary, Tumelo Setshogo expressed concern over the turnout of members at the party primaries. “Maybe the weather could have played a part but again the other issue could be the short notice. Mind you, a lot of activities have been on hold during lockdowns, especially weddings and now people give weddings first priority. The date was announced when some had already had engagements.

This is worrisome, but the campaign now has begun since we have a candidate,” Setshogo said.

Editor's Comment
Everyone should be on high alert

Close to half a million people in the country have been fully vaccinated while over 800,000 have received their first doses. Botswana has tackled tough hurdles, but the race is far from over.Batswana are gearing up for the holidays and there will be a lot of movement across the country and outside the country. Social gatherings are back in full force and now more than ever, people should observe COVID-19 protocols.Our neighbouring country South...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up