• BDP splashed P750 000 on Tlokweng campaign
• 10 cows slaughtered
• All 57 constituencies deployed cars
In their quest to win the Tlokweng by-election over weekend, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) dug deeper into its coffers, forking out P750, 000 for campaigns.
This, according to one of BDP’s campaign coordinators in Tlokweng, was meant to augment what their candidate, Elijah Katse, had already spent from his personal finances.
Katse is said to have contributed 10 cows which were slaughtered for his campaign team who had to be provided with meals on a daily basis since the beginning of the campaign. A cow costs about P5000 a head.
While inside sources could not put together the amount of money that came personally from Katse, it is believed he spent close to the amount that was donated by the party while the 57 constituencies were each deploying vehicles to help mobilize people in Tlokweng. It is said that initial campaign expenses were all paid for by Katse who had to procure merchandise (T-shirts and caps), posters, billboards, food, transport, fuel and airtime to the foot soldiers that were on the ground campaigning for him. It is also reported that he paid musicians who performed at his rallies during the early days of the campaign.
The party is said to have come to his rescue after he raised concern about the financial impact that the delay on the issuance of the election writ was having on his resources. President Ian Khama took 4 months before issuing a writ of elections following the death of Tlokweng member of parliament Same Bathobakae in November last year. According to the inside source who preferred anonymity, they long sensed their candidate’s loss during their house to house campaigns: ‘‘We had informed Katse about the looming humiliation but he was of the view this by-election was still important for him to test the waters ahead of the general elections in 2019.’’
According to the BDP activist, they were only assured of 1 900 votes during their campaign- thanks to the animosity between supporters of Katse and former Mp Olebile Gaborone is still very much alive and contributed significantly to his candidate’s loss. He said some staunch BDP supporters who were aligned to Gaborone had made it clear that they were going to vote for the UDC. ‘‘It is a reality that supporters of Katse and Gaborone never reconciled since 2014 when Katse had problems with the party leadership. Gaborone’s supporters still blame Katse for putting his weight behind the UDC after his fallout with the BDP in 2014 which led to Gaborone’s loss’’, he said.
Reached for comment on Monday afternoon, Katse refused to divulge the exact amount he had spent on the campaign, save to say ‘‘Campaigns by their nature are very expensive and yes, I spent a fortune’’. He said it was difficult to keep record of how much he spent because of the many things he had to pop out money for and the many people he had to deal with in his campaign.
Speaking from Johannesburg, BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane said he did not have the figures as it is a treasury issue. ‘‘Even if I had the figures I don’t think it would be smart to disclose. But in terms of our spending on by-elections P750 000 is way too much. It’s highly unlikely we could have spent that much’’, Ntuane said. Efforts to reach BDP Treasurer Satar Dada were futile.