THE OBSERVER: Well done Botsalo Ntuane – You won!

SHARE   |   Monday, 14 March 2016   |   By Simon Gabathuse
THE OBSERVER: Well done Botsalo Ntuane – You won!

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) seems to be on its way up the ladder again. But this is appearing to be not just a question of luck or groceries as some put it. Or should I say it as it is being said that; the people of Sekoma Council ward voted the ruling party at the just ended by-elections simply because they were fed rice by the BDP. I must point out that this statement is not only disrespectful to the people of Sekoma and neighbouring settlements but it is derogatory to say the least. It is a statement saying the people of that area are not brainy enough to choose between right and wrong. But again supposing that was the case it will mean they have voted the opposition for the past 22 years simply because the opposition was feeding them with rice at time of elections. That will also mean the opposition has been winning that ward simply because they were voted by people without the mental and brain capacity to differentiate between a correct party and or candidate and a wrong one.

This statement does not belong in Botswana, it is a statement totally against what we stand for as a society. In any election, resources are used in whatever format, some distribute alcohol, some distribute sexual intercourse, some distribute food, some distribute love and some distribute strong and well-coordinated campaigns. But then singling out only the people of Sekoma and neighbouring settlements to say they were bought with a plate of rice is being derogatory. Poverty does not necessarily equal to stupidity. Most come from poverty yet have made it so well in life and hence proving this theory of people being bought with a plate of rice as wrong. The BDP won the Sekoma by-elections fair enough; it changed tact. The BDP simply went back to the basics and returned a tradition that has always worked for it; a tradition to let the Secretary General of the party to coordinate a campaign. Botsalo Ntuane was brought back to the fore front, he did his assignment, got the ground running, took the ground forces, directed them and brought back a council ward to the BDP after 22 years of being shunned by the people of Sekoma. This is a historic win and the coordination of Botsalo Ntuane to spearhead this win must be taken as huge lesson.

His Honour Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi did the BDP a favour by staying away from the fore front of the Sekoma by-elections campaign. His flat caps wherever they come from have chased away the voters. I have argued in this space before that having founded the Botswana Movement for Democracy and having been instrumental in the formation of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botsalo Ntuane is the fiercest asset the BDP has against the opposition and failure to do that will not only be stupid but reckless and irresponsible. The recent by-election has proved my theory very correct. Allowing Botsalo Ntuane to take centre stage as he was visibly seen doing house to house campaigns delivered the ward to the BDP with a convincing margin. History has it that by-elections have been won through a very slim margin by the opposition. The BDP under Botsalo Ntuane as Secretary General has just changed that, they have not only won the by-election but has won through a huge and recognisable margin. He has brought in a winning formula. Credit must be given where it is due. And the credit regarding the Sekoma by-elections belongs to Botsalo Ntuane. After losing six by-elections to the opposition since the 2014 General Elections, the BDP has finally taken a seat at the table to enjoy the meal.

Masisi is meanwhile fighting hard to ensure he takes over as President of the Republic of Botswana when President Ian Khama statutorily retires from office, but he is also trying to affirm himself as Vice President of the country. He is fighting so many battles from many fronts. The return of Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe – past immediate former President to the Government enclave – sounds more like a vote of no confidence on Mokgweetsi Masisi. That is where his focus should be; to defend his Vice President seat and to further defend his succession. He has no business to be at odds with his Secretary General. The train is in motion and Botsalo Ntuane is coordinating the passengers. As I argued right here sometimes back that the BDP Chairman, His Honour Mokgweetsi Masisi has been missing a point for a long time. He was thinking that the Secretary General of the BDP needs him for political survival when it has all long been otherwise. Masisi needs Ntuane just as the BDP needs Ntuane. Botsalo Ntuane, on the other hand, can simply walk away from the craziness and continue to have a life elsewhere. But letting him go will be suicidal for the BDP, it will go back to the losing days. Botsalo has proven that he is back and that he means business, he has made his first mark as Secretary General at by-elections. The opposition is forced to change tact. Otherwise it will have to prepare for countless losses.

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