Gaborone West North legislator, Robert Masitara, has poured scorn on Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko’s interest in contesting the constituency’s parliamentary seat.
Masitara’s criticism of Boko’s plan came after similar comments by former Member of Parliament, Robert Molefhabangwe, who also plans to contest the seat. Masitara and Molefhabangwe, both candidates for Gaborone North West at the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) primary elections, dismissed Boko’s chances of pulling through.
“If there is someone interested in that constituency who is not from BDP….that person is heading for disappointment. If I win the primaries, I do not dream of anyone winning that constituency except me,” said Masitara.
He said anyone vying for the constituency would be in for humiliation as “the people of Gaborone West North are clever and would not be cheated by anyone”.
Last Wednesday, Molefhabangwe derided Boko and poked fun at his political knowledge and experience. He said the primaries would be a more testing contest for him because thereafter Boko would be a “walkover”.
┬á“Boko is a political apprentice. He has never voted in his life and I have voted 7 times while elections have been held 10 times in Botswana,” said Molefhabangwe, in reaction to queries on the possibility of a showdown with the UDC president.
Molefhabangwe added that he had stood for elections three times in previous general polls and knew more about the Botswana National Front (BNF) than even Boko and those who surround him.
┬á“To me he is not a threat, my only threat is those who will stand against me at the BDP primaries, not opponents from other parties,” said Molefhabangwe.
In a previous interview with this reporter, Molefhabangwe had indicated how he planned to punish the BNF for mistreating him. He said joining the BDP was part of revenge against a party he now loathes.
Molefhabangwe was expelled from the BNF just before the 2009 general elections.
Masitara and Molefhabangwe are among six candidates who will battle in the BDP primaries for the chance to square off against Boko. Party insiders expect a date for the primaries to be announced by October.
Political analyst, Zibani Maundeni, said Boko’s contesting of a parliamentary seat will gauge his popularity. He said a Boko win would boost the UDC.
On Masitara, Maundeni said the legislator will not go down without a fight, from the primaries to the parliament seat.
Maundeni said Molefhabangwe’s chances of winning both the primaries and the parliament seat could be determined by how many voters had defected with him from BNF.
He said since Molefhabangwe is still new to the BDP, his following might count for more than his political experience. Effective campaigning and enough resources would be vital for the candidates to win both the primaries and the constituency seat, he added.
“We expect a good fight…but a vigorous campaign from the candidates will make the battles more interesting. From the BDP primaries to the Gaborone West North constituency contest,” said Maundeni.