Painful lessons from Mochudi by-election

SHARE   |   Sunday, 07 June 2015   |   By Gofitile Keotshwaetse
HAPPIER TIMES; UDC supporters ar a rally HAPPIER TIMES; UDC supporters ar a rally

The formation of the Botswana Movement for Democracy came as just what the doctor ordered. It appears that was never to be a long lived and fulfilled expectation. The joining of hands by the BMD with the Botswana National Front at and the Botswana People’s Party seems to have surely slowed the BMD growth and led it to losing initial purpose and relevance. The Umbrella for Democratic Change has been said to be on sick bed for some time but the moono hype blinded followers and loyalists to not look deep into concerns. That now cracks are clearly emerging, it is finally safe for all to face the truth and address these matters without a fear of being labeled traitorous and anti-revolutionary.

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Congratulatory messages have been pouring in from all corners of local politics towards the Botswana Congress Party for winning the recent Mochudi council by-elections. Many have even used the opportunity to encourage the BCP to go all alone in the upcoming Goodhope Mabule parliament by-elections necessitated by the controversy clouded resignation of the former Member of Parliament James Mathokgwane to join a Government parastatal. I prefer not to dwell into the former UDC Member of Parliament’s resignation. Whether genuine or not genuine, this resignation has undermined the UDC’s resilience. From experience, voters are questioning themselves; who is next?

The BNF activists have continually and collectively with the BCP activists refereed to BMD members as madongwana. Though this was initially taken for granted as political rally politics meant to derail BNF and BCP members from joining or recognising the BMD, it is now becoming a strong contention of the two as outcomes of the Mochudi Council by-elections are thrown into the BMD public face.

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Talk is rife and difficult to ignore that the vast majority of BNF members who were legible to vote in the Mochudi council by-elections opted to vote BCP. This is emanating first from the notion that the BNF had initially wanted to contest the by-election, deliberately forgetting that it is a BMD ward. This by-election was necessitated by the resignation of former councilor Titus Kebuileng, a BMD member. It appears that after Gilbert Mangole, Member of Parliament for the area and the BMD Secretary General managed to convince the BNF area members that the ward belonged to the BMD, he also did field a candidate. This candidate was only welcomed and recognised by the few BMD members and totally shunned, rejected and unwanted by BNF members and activists.

There were several questions being posed about the candidate. It will appear most activists; led by BNF members in that area were questioning her capabilities and prospects of being sellable to the electorate. Gilbert Mangole successfully defended this in what some went to allege as ‘a boyfriend in support and defence of a girlfriend’. Unfortunately these matters are hardly farfetched in politics. But perhaps one might want to take counsel in the words of the late Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe who remarked that we must not listen to too much gossip least we end up with collapsed marriages.

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The BNF was clearly not happy as gathered from BMD members who were in the ground that BNF activists were literally absent during the campaigns. This was a clear sign of protest by the BNF that it wanted to field a candidate not only from the UDC but such a candidate being a BNF member. If anyone denies that this is a crack in the UDC then we shall surely wait for Jesus Christ to adjudicate. If proved to be true, this talk that the BNF members voted a BCP candidate against a BMD/UDC candidate, then suspicion that the BMD members are still considered as madongwana needed only to help the BNF win elections is here to stay.

Although some have said that the BCP simply proved that it can contest all elections alone without necessarily joining the UDC, the odds present something else. The BCP and BNF rather proved that given an option they can and shall actually work together against the BMD. What has become very clear is that whenever and wherever the BNF differs with the BMD on a choice of candidate at any general election, the BNF shall connive with the BCP in the detriment of the BMD. The BMD members have a choice of denying this but the important thing about truth is that it cannot be hidden.

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It is interesting that after being voted, the BCP candidate was quoted by the local media as having mentioned that the UDC and BCP collaborate in councils and as such BCP victory is UDC victory. Surely the gentleman had a lot in his mind. He was remembering that in his celebration of victory against the UDC, he must not offend the many BNF members who voted him to defeat the BMD. The BCP has always viewed and pronounced the BMD nothing but a spoiler.
This point brings out another lesson that the BCP and the BNF actually collaborate in councils against the BMD. BMD simply helps with numbers. If you intend denying this, look around and observe that of all the UDC led councils nationally, there is only one BMD led in Tlokweng. The rest are BNF led. BMD, though with more councilors in most of these councils have been pushed to the side lines. One must also not forget that the BMD has 9 members of parliament and the BNF which has been having eight now has seven, yet the BNF retains the leader of the opposition seat which naturally belongs to the BMD.

The BMD must go out of this cocoon and appreciate that its role in the UDC is merely to push a BNF agenda and sadly in some instances pursue unknowingly a BCP agenda. If these lessons from the outcomes of the Mochudi by-elections do not ring a bell to the BMD then nothing will.

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Gofitile Keotshwaetse



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