After a considerable number of months wandering in the political wilderness and with their future, along with that of their Botswana National Front party, in doubt, Gaborone South party candidates in the looming national elections have finally found the right footing, addressing an array of hastily organised political campaigns and igniting red hot contests in the constituency.
Many times Gaborone South parliamentary candidate, Akanyang Magama, and his team of councillors have found themselves embarrassed at the eleventh hour in the eyes of the public as police barred them from holding campaigns at the instruction of the party leadership.
The reason behind this is that Magama and party president Otsweletse Moupo do not see eye to eye in the wake of the outcome of the primary elections that led to the suspension of the candidates, pending the intervention of the High Court, while their counterparts in the Botswana Congress Party and in the Botswana Democratic Party made some considerable in-roads, accusing the BNF, which has dominated the constituency for almost twenty five years, of ruthlessly abandoning the constituents and unnecessarily spending a lot of time in courts at the expense of the people.
But addressing a political meeting Wednesday at Old Naledi, the aspirant BNF councillors dismissed the speculations as mumbo jumbo, arguing that their absence in the constituency was purely on grounds they could not meet a common ground with the party’s leadership over the results of the primary elections and thus sought the intervention of the court.
“It (misunderstandings) happens all over with big and progressive institutions, with the churches no exception. BCP, as a small party, fits comfortably well to prove it is experiencing a stable political platform. Such differences with which our party found itself embroiled in lately, which had the potential to tear the party asunder, feature only in dominant and competitive organizations, which the BCP is far from accomplishing,” said Naledi North council candidate, Shakes Mapitse.
Launching BCP candidates in the constituency recently, the party Information and Publicity secretary, Dumelang Saleshando, scoffed at the party, saying “it had vacated the area and found refuge at the courts at the expense of the electorates”.
But because they were late to publicly campaign, Mapitse pours cold water to comments that their party will come last in the contest, saying that the BNF is the right choice for the people because it knows the entire problems haunting the constituents.
Pointing his cannons to the ruling BDP, Mapitse contended the party had failed Batswana since independence and, most importantly, the inhabitants of Old Naledi who live 15 to a room while the government gives lame excuses for the shortage of land at the same time that BDP honchos occupy enormous chunks of land at Mmokolodi, Brink’s farms in Tlokweng and Ruretse farms.
“This enormous chunk of land belonging to just a BDP selected few is the root cause of all the ills attributed to the expansion of Gaborone. Batswana suffer the shortage of land and accommodation just because of these men,” Mapitse lamented.
While Batswana students, most notably University of Botswana, are suffering a serious lack of accommodation, Mapitse says he is beaten hands down by the extravagant governance of the ruling BDP, which is able to refurbish the State House and purchase a mobile caravan and a jet ÔÇô all for one person.
“Tax-payers’ coffers are for the benefit of one man,” he argued.
Gaborone South constituency features Kagiso Moatlhodi, as BDP parliamentary contender, whose contest relies heavily on president Khama’s magic even though Moatlhodi is linked to Barata-Phathi axis.
He will be slugging it out with Akanyang Magama.
Eager to be recognized as a serious party, the BCP, represented by Kgoberego Nkawana, would want to show Batswana, particularly the main opposition party, that they have come of age.