In an effort to catch their opponents Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) off guard, Botswana National Front (BNF) will launch Kgosi Lotlaamoreng Montshioa as their parliamentary candidate for Goodhope/Mabule by-election during the President's holidays.
The Goodhope/Mabule constituency, which became vacant after James Mathokgwane ditched it for the corporate world, led to his friend Kgosi Lotlaamoreng to also dump his leopard for the hot political seat.
This week BNF revealed that Lotlaamoreng is the only candidate who has shown interest in representing the party in the coming by-elections and this was confirmed by its Secretary General Tapologo Kgosikoma.
Recently when bidding his subjects farewell, Lotlaamoreng denied that he was joining politics and that he is going to represent Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the looming by-elections which is expected to be hotly contested. His royal uncle Botiki Motshegare, who is now the regent, let the cat out when he informed the parked Goodhope kgotla that Lotlaamoreng is going to represent them at a high level. It was at the meeting that Kgosi Lotlaamoreng and his uncles were heckled by the morafe accusing them of hiding the truth on where their chief was going.
This led some political pundits to claim that UDC failed to stage-manage the kgotla meeting to ensure that only those who support Kgosi Lotlaamoreng spoke. “We wanted to gauge his popularity and it was going to be suicidal to stage manage the meeting because we were going to have a wrong perception about his influence among his people,” said a UDC source who is close to the party leadership.
He said that the reason they are starting the campaign very early is because Kgosi Lotlaamoreng is not that popular like Tawana and Khama. The BNF conference was swiftly moved to Goodhope after Mathokgwane unceremoniously left the Goodhope/Mabule constituents in limbo.
The aim of moving the conference to Goodhope initially was to boost the campaign ahead of the by-election but sources within the party have revealed that it will also be used to introduce Lotlaamoreng to BNF cadres.
“He would later be launched in a massive rally which is expected to shake off any skepticism about his candidature,” said the source. BNF Secretary General Tapiso Kgosikoma was cagey on whether they will launch Lotlaamoreng at the conference preferring to say that his launch is not part of the conference objectives. “He is not a new BNF member and there is no need to introduce him to other BNF cadres,” said Kgosikoma, adding that Lotlaamoreng will attend the conference.
Lotlaamoreng, who is a lawyer by profession having studied at the University of North West in South Africa, is said to have long wanted to join politics but shelved the ambition after he was discouraged by his mother and royal uncles.
He will be the third among the current paramount chiefs to trade the leopard skin for politics following on the heels of President Ian Khama and his cousin Kgosi Tawana Moremi of Batawana. BNF President Duma Boko, who is also the leader of UDC, has vowed that they are going to retain the constituency which they won for the first time in the 2014 general elections.
Boko, who is also the Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington North, said that he is going to lead the campaign for the by-elections. In the 2014 general elections BNF won the constituency by 6 712 votes followed by BDP represented by Kitso Mokaila at 6101 votes and Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) Lesego Gatogang at 717 votes.
The Goodhope/Mabule by-election is expected to be one of the most expensive ones after the Letlhakeng West. The real battle will be between BDP and UDC. Contacted for comment, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng said he was in a meeting with his uncles and cannot comment on any political issue.