History was made on Saturday when the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lost a large number of council wards in the two Molepolole constituencies to the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), signaling that the party’s days of landslide victories has come to an end.
For the first time in Molepolole the BDP found itself with fewer councillors than the opposition after the UDC won a total of eight council wards against the seven of the former, clearly demonstrating a change in the political landscape and dynamics in the area. The UDC won five of the seven wards in Molepolole North being Borakalalo, Boswelakoko, Ntloolengwae, Magokotswane and Borimabo West while BDP retained Mankgwenyane and Borimabo East. The UDC previously only held two wards in the constituency.
Long time BDP veteran politician, Daniel Kwelagobe, was representing his party in Molepolole South against Dr Tlamelo Mmatli of UDC. Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri of BDP was contesting Molepolole North against Mohammed Khan of the UDC.
The Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) intensive campaign paid off when the party managed to defeat the BDP in the eight of the fifteen council wards in the latter's traditional home in Molepolole. In Molepolole South, the BDP won Ntloedibe, Sebele, Lephaleng and Lekgwapheng and lost Gamodubu, Bonewamang and Loologa wards.Long before the parliamentary results for Molepolole North were announced, a large crowd of the UDC followers camped in front of Motswasele CJSS, where the counting was done. They said they were celebrating Khan's victory in advance as they did not believe Matlhabaphiri could defeat the former. "We told them, we are taking this one," said Arafat Khan soon after defeating Shabir Khan of the BDP and two other independent candidates in Borakalalo. He said he launched a major campaign to oust the BDP.
A jubilant Gontlafetse Mokgosi - the new councillor for Lephaleng ward in Molepolole South - said he is very happy with the result because he has been working very hard in the ward. Mokgosi is also a member of BDP NYEC. Although his party lost some council seats, he said he is happy with what he got. Both Matlhabaphiri and Kwelagobe were not available to comment on the results at the time of going to print.