The race for the Goodhope/Mabule constituency shifted to another level as the three parties go for final campaign strategies ahead of the Saturday (August 15) by-election when the people of Borolong will choose a Member of Parliament. Botswana Democratic Party, (BDP) which is under pressure to regain the constituency which they lost to Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the 2014 general elections by a margin of close to 700, was expected to launch their candidate on Saturday.
The launch was to be done by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi at Phitshane/Molopo.
President Ian Khama is this week expected to lead the party in house to house campaigns to woo Goodhope/Mabule residents to vote BDP candidate Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Eric Molale against their Paramount Chief of Barolong Lotlaamoreng Montshioa.
BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane announced last week Tuesday in a press briefing that after the house to house campaigns, President Khama will address a star rally on Thursday.
Asked what will happen on Friday Ntuane declined to reveal their final day activity but this publication is reliably informed that BDP will hold a series of music festivals in different villages in the constituency to attract the youth to vote for Molale. Khama has retained Molale in cabinet after he tendered his resignation in a move that was viewed as a sign of confidence in him. Since the BDP primary elections last week, cabinet ministers have been frequenting the constituency addressing kgotla meetings in different villages and conducting campaigns later.
UDC leadership is also expected to descend in Goodhope/Mabule to bolster their campaign for Lotlaamoreng and ensure that they retain the constituency. Lotlaamoreng is regarded as the frontrunner in the race to retain the constituency due to his position as the paramount chief of the area but faces stiff competition from Molale. Political history has shown that paramount chiefs who have stood for elections have never lost. Founding President Sir Seretse Khama of Bangwato, Bathoen of Bangwaketse, Ian Khama of Bangwato and Tawana Moremi of Batawana have all enjoyed support from their subjects. Other royals fighting on the side of Lotlaamoreng include staunch BNF member Kwenantle Gaseitsiwe.
When launching Lotlaamoreng last week former Bakwena regent Kgosikwena Sebele urged Barolong to follow in the footsteps of other tribes and vote for their chief. This week UDC Vice President Ndaba Gaolathe was involved in house to house campaigns in the constituency and party President Duma Boko is also expected to join the campaign. Goodhope/Mabule constituency became vacant after the UDC Member of Parliament James Mathokgwane unceremoniously resigned to join the corporate world as Regional Director for Selibe Phikwe based SPEDU. In the last elections Mathokgwane won the constituency by 6712 while BDP candidate Kitso Mokaila garnered 6101 votes.
Goodhope/Mabule is traditionally a BDP stronghold but they lost it to UDC in the last elections. Since their disappointing performance in the 2014 General Elections where they managed just 46.7% of popular vote, BDP has never recovered as they lost all the by-elections post 2014 General Elections. This has sent panic waves in the ruling party as it was for the first time that they lost all by-elections since the first elections in 1965. They lost Goodhope ward which was won by UDC, Bokone council ward in Mochudi by BCP, Moshupa West in Moshupa/Manyana constituency which was retained by BCP and Ngware ward in Letlhakeng/Takatokwane constituency which was taken by UDC.