• Rakhudu, Dijeng enter fray in Bulela Ditswe
• Without Ian's protection, his homeboys fancy their chances
• Businessman Matlhware challenges Autlwetse
Bangwato royal, MP for Serowe North West Tshekedi Khama will be challenged in the upcoming Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections by no less than two of his homeboys who are seasoned democrats in their own right.
The stiff challenge for Tshekedi, who is Minister of Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, will come from former assistant Minister of Education and MP for Gaborone North Keletso Rakhudu, and the Managing Director of Daisy Loo, Moemedi Dijeng.
The two politicians are well known throughout the constituency. Their fathers were once councillors in Serowe constituencies at some point. The duo may have identified an opportunity to challenge Tshekedi following numerous complaints from the constituents that he hardly ever visits to consult them and listen to their grievances.
Although the writ of elections has not been released, the two are said to have already started working behind the scenes to prepare ground for their campaigns to ensure that they wrestle the constituency from the last remaining Khama royal in politics.
TK, a member of the Bangwato royal family, is currently the only one left in politics after his elder brother former President Ian Khama vacated office on the 31st March. TK is expected to rely heavily on his incumbency in the battle to retain the constituency. He is also banking on the support from his brother Ian – who has just retired as President – to drive his campaign. Tshekedi recently bought a mini bus for Premier League side Miscellaneous Football club, which is doing exceptionally well in the BTC Premier League. In the 2013 primary elections Khama garnered 3 081 votes against Prince Kgwaneng's 665.
A former cabinet minister and MP who lost to Haskins Nkaigwa (then UDC) in the 2014 General Elections immediately retraced his political steps back to his home village. Upon arrival he did not waste time and became involved in different activities around the village. He was roped in as the Chairman of Serowe Agricultural Show and immediately started lobbying the business community to invest in the show.
Currently Serowe Agricultural Show has surpassed many as the most attended, attracting many sponsors in the process. This has given Rakhudu time to establish rapport among the farmers in the area and residents, especially in Mmashoro, Paje and Mabeleapudi where he has a farm.
During the farewell and welcoming celebration for former President Khama, Rakhudu was part of the organising committee and picked a strategic position to ensure that he was visible to the masses that thronged the kgotla. Contacted for comment, Rakhudu confirmed that he has interest in contesting the constituency but said he is still awaiting the writ from the party as it is the norm.
He is the son of a former councillor in Serowe North who served when Collen Blackbeard was the area MP. He was one of the most influential politicians in the area. He is not new in BDP politics as he challenged for the party chairmanship in the 2015 elective congress in Mmadinare where he came third behind Masisi and Molefhi with 69 votes. Efforts to get comment from him were futile at the time of going to press. Should he contest the up-coming primaries, Dijeng will be trying his luck for the first time in the constituency.
Serowe North East
Another battle is expected across the road from Tshekedi's constituency, in Serowe North East where the incumbent Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kgotla Autlwetse will face Masisi’s strategist and businessman Puma Matlhware in the primaries.
Those within the constituency have revealed that Autlwetse is not a push over as he proved by beating former cabinet Minister and first cousin to the former President Khama Ramadeluka Seretse in the primaries in 2013. Autlwetse is the former chairman of Central District Council. He defeated Seretse in 2013 by 4 084 votes against 1 478 of Seretse.
Matlhware, a native of Serowe and renowned businessman, was part of the strategic team for President Masisi during his campaign for the BDP chairmanship and is part of his inner circle. It will be the first time that he tries his luck in the BDP primaries and it won’t be easy for him as he is facing a veteran politician. In an interview, Mathware confirmed that he has shown interest in standing for parliamentary primary elections in the constituency.