Cabinet ministers are under strict instructions from President Ian Khama to descend on Letlhakeng West constituency to help prop up the ruling party’s fortunes in the coming by-election.
The BDP, and President Khama in particular, are said to be worried that Letlhakeng West constituency could slip out of the BDP control in the coming by-election.
The ruling party fears that an opposition victory in Letlhakeng West is most likely to put opposition on a more buoyant pedestal countrywide, igniting a resurgence that may prove problematic and difficult to contain, especially with the General Election just over a year away.
As a result, the ruling party is not leaving anything to chance and has gone full throttle to put all resources in the by-election as a way of overwhelming opposition.
Other than directly campaigning for their party, ministers have been instructed to hold daily Kgotla meetings across the constituency to market the government policies so that the government presence can be felt.
It is hoped that government presence would in turn rub on the ruling party and enhance their chances in the by-elections.
Letlhakeng West constituency fell vacant after the death of Maxwell Motowane who was himself an assistant minister.
Early indications are that represented by veteran politician and former Member of Parliament, Filbert Nagafela, the Botswana National Front, together with their Umbrella partners, are on the ascent.
Not only that – there is also a reluctant admission among many of their activists that the ruling party enters the by-election with many odds stacked against it.
Compared to opposition, the BDP candidate, Ngaka Ngaka, does not have a strong name presence in the constituency. He is in all sense a political novice who lacks the personal appeal which Motowane had used to the BDP advantage in the last election.
The BDP is also haunted by the precariously small margin (less than 40) with which they won the constituency during the General Elections. It can easily be turned around.
Not only that; it is generally accepted that BDP made away with the Letlhakeng West constituency mainly because Nagafela was at the time not in the best of his health.
“While Motowane was himself busy campaigning, Nagafela was at the time in hospital. But he [Nagafela] is now back and there is no stopping him. We cannot win this one. It’s a waste of time and money,” said one Member of Parliament for the ruling party who did not want to named for fear of being accused of supporting the opposition.
“There is not a day that passes without at least one minister addressing a meeting in the area. In fact, ministers have already appeared before the President after they were reported by the campaign team for dragging their feet,” he continued.
Perhaps in their desperate attempt to make themselves more appealing, the BDP has chosen Reggie Reatile, who recently defected from BNF, to head their campaign effort.