Tensions and factions are expected to breakout inside the Umbrella for Democracy(UDC) towards the Goodhope-Mabule constituency bye-elections contest due to differences between the members and the party leadership over who is the desired candidate.
According to information reaching The Botswana Gazette, the party leadership want the Barolong Paramount Chief Kgosi Lotlamoreng II to contest the by elections, but most of the members at the Rolong area are recommending former Pitsane council seat aspirant, Carlson Teemane.
Sources at the constituency say they do not trust Kgosi Lotlamoreng because they believe he is friends with the resigned MP James Mathokgwane and they think he might dump them too. A source also told this publication they do not trust that the Paramount Chief will win as he is not that popular in the area, contrary to the UDC leadership’s belief.
“The Barolong on the South African side of the border do not like the Barolong this side. They say he (Kgosi Lotlamoreng) is not their chief and they are also chiefs. This are the Barolong from places like Phitshane Molopo, Mabule and Mokgomane. We like our chief but politics is a very dirty game,” said a source.
As history can prove, most Batswana have always been religious to their tribal leaders and clinging to conservativeness or culture when it comes to politics. It has always been a given that in Botswana when you contest for a political position against a tribal leader or a member of the royal family, you will be humiliated. Kgosi Ian Khama of the Bangwato and Kgosi Tawana Moremi of Batawana have proved this theory. But Barolong are going against the trend, according to sources. This will further frustate the UDC who were politically ‘injured’ by Mathokgwane’s resignation. Observers say many UDC members especially the leadership, are of the view that they should use Kgosi Lotlamoreng’s social stature, incumbency and royal support to boast their card in the Goodhope-Mabule constituency.
It is believed by party insiders that the party leader Duma Boko will endorse Kgosi Lotlamoreng. He is expected to announce the candidate who will contest for the Goodhope-Mabule bye-elections.There are also worries that the party leadership will de-campaign Teemane because they want the chief.
“We suspect that the party is not going to hold primaries and will only announce their desired candidate. They said there will be primaries but we do not trust them,” said a source.
In an interview, Carlson Teemane confirmed his interest to contest for primaries with anyone who is willing to come up against him.
“We were not told officially that the Chief will be contesting. We only heard through the media. But on my part, I am ready to face anyone for the primaries. But we have to wait to meet with the party leadership and see what they have decided,” said Teemane.
Efforts to reach the party Spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa were futile as his phone ran unanswered before press time.
UDC are reeling from shock after their MP Mathokgwane resigned due to “personal reasons” leaving the party the burden of claiming the constituency back. While it is reported that BDP has about seven members willing to contest and BCP also showing keen interest in the constituency, UDC is yet to reveal the names of its aspirants. It is believed that many parties might do primary elections before the bye-elections.