The Gaborone West South constituency was taken by surprise this past Saturday when President Ian Khama, accompanied by the area Member of Parliament, Botsalo Ntuane made unexpected visits around the area. The two toured the constituency, making stops at various homes in Block 9, Phase 4, Mosekangwetsi, Bophirima and Morula Wards where residents were excited to see the President and their MP.
The visit, some believe, was a campaign for Ntuane ahead of the BDP primaries where he will face the lesser known Christian Nthuba. They say Khama and Ntuane enjoy a special relationship, indicating that even at the time when the latter was the opposition leader, President Khama attended his wedding in what was viewed as a bid to lure him back to the ruling party. It did not come as a surprise to some observers when Ntuane returned to the party.
One democrat has said that Khama is the face of the BDP and leaves an impact in any area he passes through. “It really means a lot especially at the time that the BDP is heading for primaries. Him walking with Ntuane while there is another challenger on the other side can simply mean that Khama is on Ntuane’s side. We can put it in simple terms that the two are buddies, that is why Ntuane is back in the party,” he said.
Reached for comment, Ntuane said what transpired over the weekend cannot be termed as an endorsement. “The President was on a walkabout which is an activity he has done in many constituencies before. This time around it was our constituency’s turn. I cannot answer why his excellency was in my constituency just a few days before the primaries but I assume that it is due to his diary,” he said.
Political analyst at the University of Botswana, Lesole Machacha said it is an endorsement in a way. “Ntuane is vulnerable in a way as he once defected. The people at the constituency need to trust those that they voted and Khama did that deliberately as a way of giving him support. I still believe it might be one of the conditions he was promised when he rejoined the BDP,” he said.