Last week The Botswana Gazette looked at key battle grounds in the capital city Gaborone. This week the team looks at five constituencies from the rest of the country where the fight for a parliamentary seat is expected to be tight.
*The percentages represent polls by visitors to The Botswana Gazette Facebook page.
The standoff between Kgosi Kgafela II and government is a hot potato that is threatening the BDP’s chances in the constituency. The opposition has been riding on this acrimony and urging Bakgatla to punish the BDP government for ill treating their chief. President Khama has been frequenting the constituency in an effort to rally support for Dow and he even promised to resolve the chieftainship issue. But his efforts came a little too late as Bakgatla have snubbed a committee that he sent to resolve the standoff. The BDP also has minor internal rifts in the constituency as some view Dow as an elitist new comer who was catapulted to the candidacy at the expense of Tosh Kgotlele. The incumbent, Gilbert Mangole won the constituency under the BDP ticket in 2009, but he will enjoy resurgent support from the BNF as he is contesting under the UDC.
Prediction: Mangole will win by a large margin, followed by Dow. Alfred Pilane will come in third.
The top two candidates in this constituency have played political musical chairs as they no longer represent the parties they represented in 2009. Isaac Mabiletsa won the constituency under BNF in 2009 but is now contesting under the BCP ticket. Isaac Davids trailed Mabiletsa in 2009 under BDP but is now a UDC candidate. Mpho Moruakgomo, a former council chairman, will try his luck under the BDP ticket. Moruakgomo will be relegated to the sidelines as the real contest is between Mabiletsa and Davids. The Kgafela II/Khama stand-off has reduced the BDP’s prospects and it is doubtful if the Khama magic has worked to improve Moruakgomo’s chances. The two are long time political rivals as Davids won the constituency in 2004 under BDP only to the unseated by Mabiletsa in 2009 under the BNF ticket. Davids will capitalize on acrimony against the BDP and the massive BNF support in the constituency. On the other hand, Mabiletsa will get additional support from Phillip Monowe, a long time BCP soldier in the constituency.
Prediction: It is a close call, but Davids will win with a slim margin. Moruakgomo will come a distant third.
Selibe Phikwe West
Veteran Moeti Mohwasa, who came third under BNF in 2009, will fend off competition from newcomers Dithapelo Keorapetse (BCP) and Opelo Makhandlela (BDP). The constituency was previously exchanged by the BDP and BCP. Keorapetse takes over from past immediate MP Gilson Saleshando who has entrenched BCP support in the constituency. However, it is not clear if Keorapetse has managed to harness the BCP support in his favour. Makhandlela is a relatively unknown and the fight is between Mohwasa and Keorapetse. Mohwasa will fancy his chances against the newcomers but the Gilson Saleshando factor will play a key role. The 2009 election results show that the constituency is a BCP stronghold as Saleshando won 3997 votes, BDP’s Kavis Kario 3323 while Mohwasa got 1076 votes. However, BNF was facing internal turmoil at the time.
Prediction: It’s a BCP stronghold, so Keorapetse will win the constituency, followed by Mohwasa.
The constituency is under the control of Wynter Mmolotsi who won it by 4024 votes in 2009 under the BDP ticket. His biggest rival is BCP’s Vain Mamela who trailed him with 3546 votes. The other contender, Sylvia Muzila is a relative newcomer. Muzila is also new to the constituency as she was previously active in Francistown East. Mmolotsi, who will this year contest under UDC, enjoys massive support from the youthful constituency and his good performance in parliament has endeared him to electorates. Three of the candidates who contested the constituency in the 2009 elections are now UDC members and their support will boost Mmolotsi. President Khama has hosted numerous star rallies in F/Town South in an attempt to boost the fledging Muzila, but the race remains between Mmolotsi and Mamela.
Prediction: Mmolotsi will win with a large margin, followed by Mamela. Muzila will come a distant third.
This is traditionally a BDP stronghold, but the tables have now turned as former BDP stalwart Pono Moatlhodi is now contesting under the UDC ticket. BDP is represented by Thapelo Olopeng, a political novice whose win at the BDP primaries fragmented the BDP and resulted in Moatlhodi’s ouster. BDP’s bulela ditswe woes have seriously crippled their chances and Moatlhodi has defected to the UDC with many of their electorates. Olopeng is widely considered aloof and elitist in the traditional constituency and he will have a tough time catching up with Moatlhodi, a political veteran who is firmly grounded in Tonota. Moatlhodi enjoys massive support from residents of Tonota. Many believe his loss in the BDP was orchestrated by the BDP top brass and they will cast a sympathetic vote for him even though he will be contesting under UDC. Moatlhodi will also enjoy the backing of the traditional BNF supporters in the constituency. However, Olopeng stands a chance to upset Moatlhodi as he enjoys support from the traditional BDP vote. The other contestants, Themba Joina (BCP) and Michael Mzwinila (IC) are insignificant. BCP failed to field a candidate in 2009 and Joina is relatively unknown in Tonota.
Prediction: It will be a close contest, but Moatlhodi will emerge victorious