Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Nagafela accuses Khama, Choppies of de-campaigning him

The Botswana National Front (BNF) candidate for Letlhakeng West, Filbert Nagafela, has accused President Ian Khama and Choppies Supermarket Stores of campaigning against him in the ongoing by-election efforts.

The constituency fell vacant following the death of BDP MP, Maxwell Motowane.

In the last general election, Nagafela lost to Motowane by a paltry 35 votes.

Speaking during a political rally in Dutlwe Village in the Letlhakeng West Constituency on Sunday, Nagafela said President Khama issued a directive that all ministers should leave their offices and campaign on behalf of the BDP candidate, Ngaka Ngaka.

Nagafela said although everyone expects him to win the by-election he is worried that Khama could stand in his way.

Choppies Supermarket did not escape Nagafela’s blame list as the former legislator accused it of loading food stuffs in trucks and donate them to the electorates in the constituency.

But when contacted to comment on Nagafela’s claims, the Chief Executive Officer of the Choppies Group, Ramachandran Ottapath, said people were buying from Choppies but denied that his company ever donated food stuff to people in Letlhakeng West Constituency.

While he did not go into specifics, Ottapath said he at one point received a call from the Botswana Movement for Democracy President Gomolemo Motswaledi enquiring about the matter.

Nagafela said that with the grace of God, he will win the by-election despite the fact that Choppies and Khama were using their financial muscle against him.

“I have come to the conclusion that I’m not campaigning against Mr Ngaka, but against President Khama and Choppies. They are doing the campaigning work for him; the President does it by instructing Ministers to hold rallies while Choppies is doling food rations to the electorates in this constituency,”┬á charged Nagafela.

On other issues, Nagafela welcomed the move by the Botswana Congress Party (BPC) to withdraw from the race saying such a gesture was commendable.

“BCP members and even those in this constituency should know that the race is between us and BDP. They should rally behind us. Though Choppies and President Khama are at the forefront of the BDP campaign, our trust in God will see me through,” he said.

Nagafela was accompanied by, among others, BMD’s Motswaledi, BMD National Chairman and Lobatse MP, Nehemiah Modubule, and MP for Kgalagadi South, John Toto.

Prior to the Dutlwe rally, Nagafela and his ‘entourage’ had also held a rally in Kaudwane in the morning of the same day.

On the same day, another BNF campaign team held a rally in Sori la Tholo settlement. The rally was graced by former BDP MP, Isaac Davids, and councillors. Speaking at the rally, Oodi Matebele Councillor, Kelekwang Manga, implored the electorates to vote for Nagafela, saying such a win would ensure that there is a leader of opposition.

“The BDP led government has failed Batswana in many aspects; there is shortage of water and power. Batswana have been turned into beggars in their own country. It is only in Botswana that there is shortage of water. Our neighbour, like South Africa, which has a large population, is able to supply its people with potable and clean water,” he charged.

Councillor for Boseja Central in the Kgatleng District Council, Mpho Morolong, took a swipe at the Assistant Minister of Local Government, Botlogile Tshireletso, saying she was a disgrace.

“The assistant Minister and President Khama are a disgrace. Is it not a disgrace that the Minister could come and campaign in an area where the only mode of transport is a donkey? In the Khama administration, one does not have to be competent to be appointed to cabinet. If every Jack and Jill can be appointed to cabinet, how can people doubt our capability to rule this country,” he wondered.

He said a recent house expenditure survey, which Tshireletso is aware of, has showed that only 20 percent of Batswana are enjoying the cream of the country’s national cake.

“The majority of the people who are not benefitting from this are Bakgalagadi and Basarwa. But you deserve to be enjoying the same benefits as other Batswana,” said Morolong.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, and Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso, led a delegation to Sori la Tholo where they also held a rally.

Speaking at the rally, Kaudwane-Sori la Tholo councillor, Gabolelwe Ramaeba, said since Nagafela lost the last general elections, he (Ramaeba) had been able to work effectively and ensured that there was service delivery in his ward. He labelled Nagafela as a lazy person who is also stubborn.
Ramaeba also did not have kind words for Motswaledi, accusing the former BDP Secretary General of plotting to oust President Ian Khama while he was still the party’s Secretary General.

“We did not mince words. We warned him that he was the party’s Secretary General. He told us that after the course of so many years studying overseas and University of Botswana he should be made President because President Khama did not have the relevant qualifications. Can you believe it when he lost a case at the High Court against the President; he pled with us to help him foot the legal bill? We had no choice but to show him the door and also told him that further on was the road,” said Ramaeba.

A staunch BDP supporter, 72-year-old Batshame Ditshekiso was optimistic that the BDP will retain the constituency.

“We had a come together party last weekend and most of the people pledged their support for the BDP. We feasted on drinks and meat. What else can we ask for? Yes we need a tarred road and other amenities but we hope that one day we will get them,” he said.

But if the number of supporters of both parties who attended rallies at the Sori la Tholo settlement could be used as a yardstick to gauge the mood of the electorates, the constituency could go either way. Both parties are not to leaving any stone unturned as they have engaged in fierce campaigns and this was shown by the fact that BDP members held house to house campaigns while the BNF was holding a rally in Dutlwe village. Reports indicated that BDP also held a rally in Sesung Village on the same day.


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