Three-way race looms in Goodhope

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The race for the Goodhope/Mabule by-election was thrown wide open yesterday after the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) confirmed it would be fielding a candidate for the constituency.

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has seven hopefuls for the seat, while the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has already issued a writ for primary elections. Yesterday, BCP spokesperson Taolo Lucas told Mmegi that the party had decided to contest in the constituency, after the party’s executive met over the weekend. “We took a decision to stand after the local party structure advised us on the matter,” he said.

“The Southern Region met before to discuss various party issues including the elective congress and they advised the party on what they thought was best for that area.

Mmegi is informed that the frontrunner thus far is Comfort Maruping, who carried the party’s ticket, but lost in previous elections. Maruping stood for the BCP in 2004 and 2009, gaining 1,346 votes in the latter elections, which represented the BCP’s best performance in the constituency.

However, it is understood Maruping may have competition as other party members have put their hands up to contest.

Taolo said the BCP could not afford to sit elections out as it wanted to field credible candidates with meaningful messages.

“Our party will not contest in a case where there are exceptional circumstances. Reports from that area show that there is nothing stopping us from contesting,” he said.  Meanwhile, the candidacy of Lotlamoreng II, the Barolong Chief, for the UDC seems all but settled. The opposition electoral bloc issued a writ for hopefuls over the weekend and campaign material is due to be handed to campaign teams in different wards.

Lotlamoreng II is due to hand in his resignation from the Ntlo ya Dikgosi on June 26. A kgotla meeting has been called in the constituency today, where Lotlamoreng II is expected to brief his subjects on his intentions to quit bogosi for politics.

“He is expected to tell his subjects that he wants leave from bogosi, ahead of his resignation from Ntlo ya Dikgosi.

“He will also reveal the person who will stand in his place while he is away,” said a UDC member in the region. The BDP is also preparing to hold primary elections for the area in order to select a candidate from the wide field.

The Goodhope-Mabule seat became vacant late last month when UDC’s James Mathokgwane suddenly resigned to take up a management position at the government parastatal SPEDU in Selebi-Phikwe. Mathokgwane surprised many when he garnered 6,712 votes beating the BDP’s Kitso Mokaila with 6,101 and Lesego Gatogang (717) of the BCP in last year’s general elections.

The victory marked the first time the constituency has been in the hands of the opposition.

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