Sunday, September 20, 2020

Fireworks as parties descend on Mathangwane for by-elections

For ordinary residents who are used to serenity, its like all of a sudden their whole world as they know it has been shattered as politicians of every shade descend on their village.

The small village of Mathangwane, just over 30 kilometres north of Francistown has overnight been transformed into a beehive of political activity.
Villagers say they cannot recall the last time they experienced an interest in their village anywhere near to today?s.

A council by election is scheduled for March 3rd.
It would seem like no one party wants to be left behind.

The situation is not helped by the recent collapse of opposition unity project and their Memorandum of Understanding.

Ordinary villagers can only watch in awe, amazement and bewilderment as different the faithful from various political parties decked in their best colours descend on the village cruising in executive sedans, off-roaders and the best and latest Range Rovers, loudspeakers blaring party slogans with wanton abandon.

The stakes have never been higher as each party wants to capture Mathangwane North Council Ward, and no one is leaving anything to chance.

Four political parties – Botswana Democratic Party, Botswana Congress Party, Botswana National Front and Botswana Peoples Party will on March 3 battle it out for the council seat in an election that has already delivered a suave combination of drama of drama and fireworks.

From the determination of each contestant to win the ward, opposition parties are already resigned to a further drift following the unceremonious collapse of their talks.

The council seat was left vacant after the death of councilor Gilbert Nkhukhu, a BDP man who garnered 312 votes to BCP?s 132.

BPP could only muster 102.

In a strange twist of events BCP candidate in the by elections, Nature Lefatshe is former BAM man who contested the same council seat under the BPP ticket in the 2004 elections.

Lefatshe crossed the floor to BCP during the cooperation talks.

BAM insiders have told Sunday Standard that they are not happy with BCP?s repeated poaching of their members.

BCP on the other hand complains that BPP has never had interest in the Memorandum of Understanding.

BPP replies that MoU is no longer valid hence they are fielding their own candidate.

After failing to lure Nature Lefatshe into their fold BPP fielded Fanyana Moilwa, a Mathangwane elder who has been a member since 1965.

Speaking to The Sunday Standard during the week BPP President Bernard Balikani said that they were confident of a win as they had campaigned vigorously.

They will intensify their campaign as the election date draws nearer, he said.
?We hold house to house campaigns every afternoon from Monday to Thursday,”
he said.

BNF on the other hand has fielded a retired army captain Johnson Baitshepi, a reputed business man of note who is said to be well liked in the village.
Baitshepi was launched by BNF Vice President Kathleen Letshabo last week.

But BDP is not fazed by any of the opposition parties? maneuvers in Mathangwane-North.

Peter Ngoma who is behind BDP candidate Ipuseng Chikanda? s campaign says the party?s heavy weights in the form of Deputy Secretary General Jacob Nkate together with other BDP dignitaries will be in Mathangwane over the
weekend.

Its difficult to predict the outcome of the by election.

What is certain though is that until the voting day the small village of Mathangwane will be denied its usual tranquility.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.