On the other side of the battle was Sidney Pilane led Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) whose activists campaigned hard for the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate, Modala Modala. Johane Mothoosele, the campaign manager for the losing independent candidate, Chibuya Dabutha confirmed that AP had pledged its full support to their campaigns. Mothoosele told Mmegi that, “It’s true that we had an impressive support from the AP. They assisted with their vehicles for us to effectively run the campaigns, provided fuel and even hired some tents. They visited us regularly to see how campaigns were progressing”.
He said prospects of them joining the AP are very high if Botswana Congress Party (BCP) continued, “mistreating” them as it happened with their candidate, Dabutha. He explained that they started massive campaigns in 2015 to thoroughly prepare for 2019 general elections, unfortunately councillor Leposo Mosarwe passed away resulting in the by-election. Dabutha came a distant third with only 63 votes, in a low-key election in which the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) retained the seat. The winner, Katholo Tapologo garnered 469 votes against Modala Modala of the UDC with 318.
“The concerns that Dabutha should not contest the by-elections was the position of the BCP leadership and they disregarded and ignored the situation on the ground in Tshimoyapula. We believe in democracy, but it appears that the UDC only exists in towns where people are duly consulted. The Botswana National Front (BNF) had no impressive numbers to have been allocated this ward,” he said.
Mothoosele said they worked hard to mobilise electorates into the BCP folds, hence they could not just hand the ward on a silver platter to the BNF. He added that the green they have been using for the campaign is lighter than that of the BCP and a black shield as a logo. “The disloyalty by the BCP is the one that led Chibuya to tender resignation from the party. If UDC could have held primary elections, then it could have served us well. Not to be told that the BNF is the one contesting,” he added.
higher votes in the last general elections is the one that contests while other opposition parties supports it.
The UDC campaign manager, Reggie Koee confirmed Bthe MD support for their campaigns. “Pilane faction has been camping here with us to demonstrate their support. We appreciate their support because they are able to convince ruling party members in a language that they understand,” he said. However, he dismissed the AP presence on the ground in the ward. Koee said the BMD did no have structures in the ward hence he said it would take the AP a very long time to become established.
“Building structures, not only in Tshimoyapula, but even countrywide is not easy. They should rather make a u-turn to the UDC for people to recognise them. At the same time, it is already late as we approach the general elections,” he added.
He said contrary to information peddled that Dabutha had a following, Koee said their candidate, Modala, who came second with 318 votes, was easier to sell to the electorates because he had already campaigned through his deeds in the ward. He said Modala contested the ward in 2009 and 2014, but lost to the late Mosarwe.
Koee said Dabutha initially wanted to join the parliamentary race and said her camp and in this past by-election, did not conduct thorough house-to-house campaign. “They violated the MOU that says we base on the past performance to determine the candidate and we still maintain that the UDC fielded the rightful candidate,” he said. Koee said the entry of an independent candidate in the race has never been a threat and that their task now has been to clear the confusion to the electorates.
He added that the battle was between BDP and the UDC and said the ruling party has been complacent because the ward had been their stronghold since Independence in 1966. He said the response to the UDC has been very positive, which shows that the ruling party can be overthrown.
Tshimoyapula/Majwanaadipitse ward had been the BDP stronghold since independence. Despite this the opposition has made inroads. In the last general elections the BDP got 611 votes against the UDC’s 343.
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