Political parties have not wasted time on the festive as they scaled up preparations for the looming by-elections with the most prominent being the Tlokweng Parliamentary seat. Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), which was holding the seat until the recent death of MP Same Bathobakae, has reached a compromise and settled for Botswana National Front (BNF) constituency chairperson Masego Segokgo as their candidate. This has effectively put to an end to prospect of having Bathobakae replaced by another woman, meaning that the opposition will not have a female MP. Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has decided to hold primary elections as four people have applied to stand for the elections. One of the candidates is Elijah Katse, who was suspended by President Ian Khama after he won the party’s primary elections by beating Olebile Gaborone. Gaborone replaced him and suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the late Bathobakae by with 6,442 against 3,867 votes. Since Katse has reconciled with the party leadership, most democrats are said to be rooting for him. Other aspiring candidates are Akanyang Seitshiro, Phineas Molefhe and Thulaganyo Segokgo. The party is expected to meet on January 23, 2016 to try and reach a compromise. Sources within the BDP have revealed that the party might opt for Katse who is more experienced than the three. In the 2009 General elections Katse lost to Gaborone who was then a BNF candidate by 17 votes. Some senior party members in the constituency feel that he has the capability of snatching the constituency from UDC.
A teacher by profession, the little-known Segokgo is the BNF constituency chairperson and was endorsed by the party leadership as their candidate. Many had expected UDC to field Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Youth League President Phenyo Segokgo - the council chairperson for the South East District – due to his popularity in the area but BNF prevailed as the constituency is theirs. The UDC parliamentary candidate Segokgo refused to be interviewed, saying he has to wait for the party leadership to give him the green light. “I cannot grant you interview because I don’t want to say something that might contradict the party’s manifesto,” said the former teacher at Mater Spei College. BNF Publicity Secretary Justin Hunyepa said Segokgo has worked as National Recruitment Coordinator at National Blood Transfusion Centre. Hunyepa said Segokgo was chosen by the people of Tlokweng and the party leadership endorsed their decision. “Segokgo is an accomplished businessman and therefore understands the Botswana business environment, at a time when business conditions are deteriorating as a result of the Botswana Democratic Party’s flawed economic policies. Segokgo also did several professional courses locally and internationally, including Quality Management Systems; Advanced First Aid; International Forum for Health Promotion; Blood Donor Recruitment; Monitoring and Evaluation on HIV/AIDS programmes; Customer Service; etc. He is not only an effective communicator, but is also responsible, truthful, tolerant, approachable, and reliable and above all is ready to serve the Constituency and the nation at large. Segokgo will definitely add value in both Parliament and Constituency with his broad experience across the socio-economic fields of education, health, sports, business and politics,” said Hunyepa.