A fierce contest is expected between political parties as they wrestle for the Good Hope ward at the bye-elections this monthend.
The ward has been the only one which has been without a councillor in the Good Hope/Mabule constituency following a stalemate between Botswana Democratic Party and Umbrella for Democratic Change during the last general elections. The tie left many astonished as to how this may have happened as the BDP won all the other eight wards in the constituency.
However, despite BDP bagging almost all wards, the party lost its parliamentary seat in the constituency, a situation which has left political watchers even more puzzled. The BDP parliamentary candidate, Kitso Mokaila who was the incumbent Member of Parliament lost to UDC’s newcomer James Mathokgwane.
As this left most people asking questions some have come up with conspiracy theories that Mokaila could have been de-campaigned by some within the party structures. Some in the ward have had pointing fingers towards the council candidate Kopo Mononi accusing him of de-campaigning Mokaila. Nonetheless the aspirant councillor brushed off these rumours as untrue saying what happened was the choice of the people. Mononi told the publication in an interview that the people of Good Hope know what he told him when he was campaigning. “I told them to vote for me and my parliamentarian,” he said.
Talking about what could have led to the tie between him and the UDC candidate, Ogopotse Modibedi, Mononi explained that the problem has been that Good Hope is a semi-urban place and there are a lot of civil servants who have indicated that they do not want anyone close to the president of the country. “This may have been the greatest cause because there are more civil servants in the Good Hope ward than any other ward in the constituency,” said Mononi.
Mononi however is adamant that he and his party will emerge victorious during the by-elections slated for 31st January 2015. “The campaign is going on very well and we are doing house to house and have slated rallies which will be announced in due date. I believe we are going to win this time because we were voted by the loyal BDP members who stay in the ward while we realised that those who voted UDC where from outside. It is going to be a challenge for them to get these people back for the elections,” he explained.
On the other hand, the UDC candidate is also optimistic that he will win the seat. He told this publication that they never rested since the general elections as they continued with their campaign. Despite financial challenges, the youthful Modibedi is confident that they will do better than they did before. He said: “at least now we are having support from other party structures from different constituencies”.
However he expressed fear that the BDP could use its resources to lure voters to their side. “We can win but sometimes people can be easily convinced to do otherwise,” highlighted Modibedi. He however said he has great confidence in their voters as they know what they want and cannot be derailed by anything from their struggle.
It looks like UDC want to win this ward badly that there are rumours making rounds that they approached their counterparts from Botswana Congress Party to support their cause. BCP fared very badly during the October elections that it may seem pointless for them to field a candidate.
Even though Modibedi was a bit cagey on this issue he hinted that it is their hope that BCP could lend them a hand. He did not confirm nor deny if they ever met the BCP candidate about this. Mononi confirmed hearing of these rumours but he pointed that as BDP they are not frightened by the move. He said he has faith on the people of Good Hope to re-evaluate him and the UDC candidate to see who is best fitted for the sit. “I believe that I have much to offer that the UDC candidate and I also believe the electorates could see realise this when coming to vote again. They had enough time to evaluate us again to judge who could deliver better results,” said Mononi. Efforts to contact the BCP candidate were in vain as his phone could not be reached.
Should UDC win the by-elections there will be only one opposition councillor in the area and if it goes to BDP the party would have completed a clean sweep ovf the constituency, bagging all council seats. Political commentators say should UDC win the councillor may suffer a setback as it will be pitted against eight BDP councillors. This will be the first to happen in the constituency just like it is the first time the area has an MP from opposition.
Analysts say for the people to have voted a majority of BDP councillors and voted an opposition MP may be the sign of loss of confidence on Mokaila. Barolong have always been complaining that the former MP had little time to come to them and even has done little to develop their area. They complained about the state of the roads in their area as well as shortage of water the continuously hit them but nothing is ever been done.
“The total number of people who had registered for election in 2014 shows how big the constituency is but there are no seen developments. With a constituency as big as this but having no bank in the area is a sure sign of problem,” said Modibedi. For shopping, the people of Good Hope/Mabule have to travel as far as Lobatse.