Masisi Magic Ticket To Council Seat


After the scramble for Moshupa East ward at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary election last weekend, the winner is certain of presidential-backing for a council seat in the upcoming by-election.

The Moshupa East ward under Moshupa-Manyana constituency saw a heavily contested race that drew nine candidates each vying for victory in what the winner has secured easy sailing for a council seat. As a BDP stronghold in the President’s constituency no less, the ward victory makes the by-electoral race a sure win as the candidates will ride on the Masisi magic against the opposition.

Lentswe Mosanako secured victory for the ward against rivals Grace Kobua, Joseph Keotshwaetse, Modimoofile Batolomi, Shiny Tumediso, Batlhalosi Tshedifatso, Reuben Baaisi, Isaac Matale and Tshimologo Motlamme.

Though primaries saw a low voter turnout, individuals complained that they could not cast their votes as their names did not appear in the voters roll. They bemoaned that it was a ploy to disadvantage those who did not enjoy support from the branch committee. This also rubbed some candidates the wrong way as they decried irregularities in the electoral process.

“This election has not been fair because the date was announced late. The branch committee did not allow us to campaign and we were only told that we could campaign on Wednesday,” said Kobua, who lost the contest.

“The painful part is that our branch committee had a candidate whom they had wanted us to support so that there would not be a primary election and they had been campaigning for him. Some people think they control the party.”

What worried Kobua most was the discrepancy with some supporters’ names on the voters roll not appearing during verification.

“Batho ba ba neng ba le mo rollong ka bontsi ga bayo. Ke raya BDP members jaaka le ba bona ba tshwere dikarata. Ne ba le teng le ka 2019 mo voters roll. Bangwe ba itse gore go diragalang,” she revealed.

Another frustrated BDP member, Teto Olebeng said: “I was an observer in the primaries in 2018 and my name was there in the voters roll and the branch committee members who are here can attest to that. I am shocked that today my name is not appearing on the roll. “I am not the only one who is not appearing on the voters roll. We are many, as you can see and some have left. The branch committee is the one responsible for this [discrepancy] because they want the person whom they had been forcing us to give support.”

The frustrated member said she would not be shocked if the Moshupa East ward by-election is won by opposition and that would be a sign of rejection by some of the BDP members.

The other member, Keneilwe Leko who managed to vote also expressed disappointment that most of the BDP members in the Marumo ward had failed to vote because their names were not on the voters roll.

“In all the meetings that the party held, we were told that the voters roll that is going to be used was for 2018 primary elections. If indeed the roll was not tampered with, we had expected to see names for some people who had voted during that time. But the majority of names are not there. It is difficult to trust a branch committee with the voters roll when it already has its preferred candidate. It can easily take out some names after some candidates have signed and made submissions to the party,” Leko said.

However, the BDP returning officer Banthasetse Merementsi said: “I am shocked that some of the candidates are raising some issues that I have addressed this afternoon. I had a meeting with all candidates from this ward in the afternoon to hear out their complaints and worries.

“Yes, the issue of the branch committee came out and I spoke to them about the concerns raised by some candidates, which they denied in front of them. I even told them that since they are allowed to be outside the voting area that they are not supposed to be seen campaigning for anyone. I asked the election officer and he said they were not interfering.” “The one about some members’ names in the voters roll for 2018 not appearing now, is new to me and has not been brought to my attention. I would not know what could have happened, but the candidates should always check the roll before they sign for it.” Merementsi said what they had observed was that some people came with Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) cards to cast their vote and they were returned because this was ‘an internal exercise for BDP only’.

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...

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