The resignation from Gaborone City Council by former Mayor and Botswana National Front councilor, Nelson Ramaotwana, is likely to proffer an easy shoo-in for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.
Although the opposition parties are putting on a strong face, it is clear that both the Botswana National Front and the Botswana Congress Party are resigned to the reality that it is the BDP that stands to gain from Ramaotwana’s sudden resignation.
As a result of Ramaotwana’s resignation, the Village Ward will hold a by-election in the next few months.
Ramaotwana left politics earlier this month saying he wanted to concentrate on practicing law.
While Ramaotwana comfortably scooped the Village Ward under the BNF ticket in the 2004 General Elections, there is a strong feeling that no candidate from opposition enjoys the advantages that Ramaotwana had at the time.
In 2004, Ramaotwana was president of the University of Botswana Student Representative Council.
The University of Botswana falls within the Village Ward which made up over 2/3 of the voters roll.
In 2004, a majority of the student community rallied behind Ramaotwana.
He eventually became mayor of the capital city while still a student.
Under the by-elections regulations, the 2004 voters roll will be used.
“The reality of the matter is that over two thirds of the former students who voted in 2004 are no longer with the University. Many of them have since graduated and left,” said the BCP spokesman, Dumelang Saleshando.
In the last elections, the BCP came a distant third, which makes it even more difficult for the party to fancy its chances.
Saleshando says the dynamics for the BDP have not changed much. If anything, the party’s position in the ward has grown stronger given the demographics of the ward.
He says while his party is already ahead of the pack in the preparations for the by-election, beating the BDP may not be an easy task.
For his part, the BNF Publicity Secretary, Moeti Mohwasa, remains optimistic that the BNF will retain the Ward because their candidate, Kagiso Ntime “has worked for a long time among the grassroots of the ward.”
“Ntime is currently on the Village Development Committee in that area. He is well known and will certainly retain the seat,” said Mohwasa.
The reality may, however, be altogether different from Mohwasa’s perceptions.