In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Standard, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) vice president and UB lecturer, Kesitegile Gobotswang, said that the BCP is confident of a victory in the Ngamiland district in the 2009 elections.
It is understood that the district’s current Member of Parliament, Jacob Nkate, who is a member of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), is decidedly not a factor as the people of Ngamiland are allegedly not happy with his representation.
According to Gobotswang, Ngamiland happens to be one of the country’s most under-developed areas in terms of poverty, unemployment, school performances, infrastructures and health facilities.
The UB lecturer went on to say that the merger of the BCP and BAM in Ngamiland is a process that took up to a year because of the delicate consultations involved to make it possible for them to guarantee that a repeat of what happened with the BNF will not take place. With both parties supporting one candidate, he said, Nkate can easily be defeated.
In the 2004 general elections in the Ngamiland district, records show that the BDP polled 5,291 votes, BAM had 3,922 and the BCP took 2, 361 votes.
The BAM/BCP alliance has since chosen the vice president of BAM, Taolo Habano, to stand as a candidate backed by both opposition parties.
Delivering his own views on Nkate’s leadership of the district, Gobotswang described it as “disastrous and an embarrassment to the politics of a modern and morally sensitized country such as Botswana”.
“Nkate failed the people of Ngamiland miserably; all he did was enjoy benefits of being a Member of Parliament and staying in the nation’s capital without giving appropriate attention to the very same people that bought him into power. We can’t afford to have people in parliament getting too comfortable.”
Nkate, who is also the country’s Minister of Education and Development Skills, is reportedly becoming infamous for his neglecting of the district he represents.
Ngamiland District happens to be one of the most vulnerable to droughts and floods.
Party critics also claim that Nkate is in a tough position, citing as a reason that he (Nkate) faces strong challenges that he couldn’t possibly escape within his own party.
Owen Kwerepe, touted as an equally capable contender, is said to be challenging Nkate within the BDP.
According to the BCP, the opposition became stronger amongst the Ngami people after the Kamanakoo issue.
Led by Nyathi Ramahobo, Kamanakoo was a cultural group fighting for the rights of the Bayei ethnic group, which is also the predominant group of Ngamiland.
When the government paid no attention to their pleas, the opposition parties took interest in their case and have since won their confidence.
The opposition also stood for the rights of minority groups which, according to them, Nkate ignored.
“Nkate’s time as a member of parliament is limited,” stated Gobotswang.