The fall of UDC's Young Turks

Arafat Khan. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Arafat Khan. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

The 2019 general elections have claimed the scalps of very influential opposition, when it was least expected.

The three Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) council candidates are Arafat Khan of Borakalalo ward in Molepolole North, Phenyo Segokgo of Sefoke ward in Tlokweng and Kagiso Thutlwe of Village ward in Gaborone. They did not see the losses coming and the defeat was unexpected for many of their followers. The three Young Turks are also newsmakers.

They first stepped in council chambers during the 2014 general elections when the UDC contested general elections for the first time. Segokgo and Thutlwe were elected Gaborone mayor and South East South District Council chairperson respectively. Khan on the other hand became a force reckon with at Borakalalo ward in Molepolole North.

If there was a prize for the most hardworking councillor, Khan could have easily won it consecutively. If he was not donating computers to Borakalalo Primary School, he was securing sponsorship for prizegiving ceremonies. Typical of Khan, controversy followed him.


A week before general elections he was arrested by the notorious Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) for alleged possession of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) information regarding elections. When his attorneys were busy drafting an urgent application for his release, the DIS let him go.

It is not clear if he is off the hook or whether his arrest was politically motivated by the meddlesome spy agency.
Yesterday his cousin Shabir Kablay of the Botswana Democratic party (BDP) humbled him during the battle for the Borakalalo ward council seat. Khan got 1,053 votes against Kablay’s 1,168. Since age is on his side and being the workaholic that he is, Khan might bounce back in future, that is if politics still interests him.

Khan’s close friend Thutlwe also suffered the same fate. The flamboyant former Gaborone mayor with a penchant for “CBD” suits got a rude awakening when the BDP candidate Dominic Kwena sent him packing with 818 votes against Thutlwe’s 630 votes. Just like Khan and Segokgo, age is still on Thutlwe’s side to make a comeback strategy. Thutlwe is a political animal since his University of Botswana student days in the late 2000s.

He stood against former Gaborone Central MP Dumelang Saleshando in the constituency in 2009 and lost. He licked his wounds and went back in 2014 and won the Village ward thereby becoming the youngest Gaborone city mayor in history. On the other hand Segokgo rose to fame after the formation of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) in 2010. He became the president of  the party’s youth wing.

When BMD split he later joined the Botswana National Front (BNF), an affiliate of the UDC. Yesterday Lesego Molefhe baptised him in fire and claimed the bragging rights at Sefoke ward in Tlokweng. Molefhe garnered 735 votes while Segokgo managed 666 votes.

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