When he quit as Goodhope/Mabule MP under a cloud this week, explained only ‘as personal’ James Mathokgwane effectively threw the opposition seat at the hands of the ruling party who lost it by a slim margin of 717 votes. The ruling party’s work is most likely to be made easier by the fact that they carried the majority of councillors in the constituency. Understandably, the opposition is keeping a brave face while aware of the adverse odds they face. Potential candidates are already being lined-up. PHILLIMON MMESO reports
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is said to be well prepared for the by-elections in Goodhope/Mabule constituency as candidate has long been identified. While many political pundits have speculated that the former area MP Kitso Mokaila, who is currently specially elected together with the Minister of Presidential Affairs Eric Molale, might be favourites, the two are allegedly not going to stand.
It is said that Mokaila would prefer to concentrate on his ministerial post as Minister for the embattled ministry of Minerals, Energy and Resources. Reliable sources within the ruling party have revealed that the party is pinning their hopes on Ogone Oscar Mokoko Gaboutloeloe, who is currently Head of Government, Regulatory and International Affairs at Botswana Post. He is regarded as a down to earth politician who can easily associate with the masses. He comes from Hebron village in the Goodhope/Mabule constituency. The Patriot on Sunday is reliable informed that Mokaila was planning to pave way for Gaboutloeloe in 2019 but UDC cut the dream short by snatching the constituency from the ruling party through Mathokgwane. And now that he has resigned the BDP allegedly takes this a good time for the young politician to take charge.
A lawyer by training, Gaboutloeloe - the former head of legal affairs at BONELA - is said to be a favourite among BDP members in the constituency and is appealing to the youth. “Mokaila has hinted to his supporters that he is not ready to contest the by-elections and will be throwing his support behind Gaboutloeloe who is his acquaintance,” said a BDP source. Asked if it is true that he is going to stand for the by-election, Gaboutloeloe said that he can’t confirm that.
“If I am approached to stand I will consider it because if people want you to lead them one has to listen to the plea,” he said. On his Facebook page on the 27th of May, he posted that, “Uhu....ha ke ise ke ipaakanye yaana? (but am not yet ready,” though he didn’t elaborate this was after it was announced that Mathokgwane has resigned as MP for Goodhope/Mabule.
Efforts to get comment from both Mokaila and Molale on whether it is true they are not going to stand, hit a snag as their mobile phones couldn’t go through. The UDC is said to be courting on the Barolong Paramount Chief Lotlaamoreng Montshiwa II to take over the constituency and abandon the leopard for the orange colours.
“We are currently talking to him to be our candidate because we believe that as a paramount chief his influence can work for us,” said the source. Lotlaamoreng is one of the few chiefs who have been critical of the government and is currently the Vice Chairman of the House of Chiefs. He was close to Mathokgwane. It will be seen whether Lotlaamoreng will go against his belief that politicians are not stable and cause havoc in the society which is evidenced by their defections.
He made this statement when unveiling the statue of Kgosi Bathoen II in Kanye 2011, advising Kgosi Malope to keep a distance from politics if he wants to have a successful reign. He reportedly said even though chiefs are allowed to join politics they must avoid them at all cost. Efforts to get comment from him were futile as all his mobile phones were off. He was said to be travelling to Hukuntsi for the installation of Kgosi Cosmos Moapare. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko announced during a press briefing on Thursday that the party will identify a capable candidate to replace Mathokgwane.