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As a result of a tight contest mostly between the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) it is uncertain which party will attain most seats in the Kweneng, Kgalagadi and Gantsi regions, LETLHOGILE MPUANG reports.

Molepolole South

The UDC’s Tlamelo Mmatli emerged as the winner with 5967 votes from a total of 11747 ballots cast. The BDP managed 5580 while Mojalemotho Molefe, who contested as an independent candidate, attracted a mere 200 votes. The UDC’s results translated into a 50.7 percent victory while the BDP sat at 48 percent. The AP will contest in the constituency through BDP primary election loser Shima Monageng, meaning that the AP is likely to have some voters from the BDP. However, those on the ground believe that the constituency has also lost trust in Mmatli. The constituency was a BDP stronghold for more than 30 years.

PREDICTION: Uncertain.

Molepolole North

The UDC through Mohammed Khan raked in 8854 votes, presenting a 59% victory with BDP settling for 40% with 5990 votes. The rest belonged to Nonofo Mosung who stood as an independent candidate. The total number of people that went to the polls was 14965. The UDC remain firm favourites to win this constituency. Khan’s presence on the ground is very noticeable while on the other hand the BDP will field a first timer in Oarabile Regoeng who has replaced the late GUS Matlhaphiri.

PREDICTION: Khan remains the strongest candidate

Mogoditshane

A total of 11812 voters went to polls in the last elections here where 35% ( 4180) of the votes went to the UDC. The BCP came second with 3846, translating into 33%. The BDP’s 3786 presented a 32% vote. The incumbent MP Sedirwa Kgoroba has left the UDC for the AP and remains a favourite in the area. The UDC has fielded a new comer in Mozambia Dibe. The BDP is likely to run into problems here. MacDonald Rakgare, who ran for the BCP in the last elections, will represent the BDP. However, the constituency’s former MP Patrick Masimolole and his followers still feel robbed from the party’s primary elections and have taken the matter to court. Tshephang Mabaila, who was to stand under the BDP ticket in the same constituency but was suspended,will run as an independent candidate. Another former BDP member in Bruce Nkgakile will stand under the BMD banner.

PREDICTION: This is a highly contested constituency, because both Kgoroba and Mabaila are strong candidates.

Letlhakeng-Lephephe

In 2014 the BDP won this constituency with a 52% vote from the 10150 people who went to the polls. The UDC gathered 4713 votes, translating into 46%. The BCP’s arriving at the UDC is likely to make the race for the constituency wide open ahead of this year’s elections. The BCP in 2014 managed to get 764 votes (8%), which should make dethronng the BDP easy for the UDC.

PREDICTION: The BDP’s incumbent MP Liakat Kablay enjoys great prominence in the area and should win.

Lentsweletau-Mmopane

The BDP won the constituency with 43% of the vote. The BCP (3150) and the UDC (2999) numbers combined stood at 37% of the total vote (16439). Although this constituency has been a BDP stronghold for some time, an additional factor is that Moeng Pheto who collected 3120 votes as an independent candidate in 2014. He has since returned to the BDP.

PREDICTION: Nnaniki Makwinja is the party’s candidate for the 2019 general elections.

Ngami

Thato Kwerepe of the BDP (7063) won the previous elections with one of the slimest margins of 48 votes from the then incumbent Taolo Habano of the BCP who managed to get (7015) ballots out of 14880. The UDC were left far behind with just 5% of the vote. Kwerepe did prove that he still remains a darling in the hearts of the people of Ngami despite water and road challenges facing the constituency. Kwerepe ensured that former MP Jacob Nkate left politics a humiliated man, beating him by 3208 against 2572 in the BDP primary elections. On the other end, the UDC’s first time contender Carter Hikuama is also winning the hearts of many Ngami natives. Also to his advantage is the fact the BCP has a great following in this constituency.

PREDICTION: It could go either way although figures slightly point in the direction of the UDC.

Gantsi South

The constituency remains one of the BDP’s strongholds. The BDP comfortably won the 2014 elections with 53% of the vote while both the contesting opposition parties UDC (3846) and the BCP (481) only managed 47% of the 9139 who voted.

PREDICTION: The recent emergence of the BPF means vote spliting could hurt the BDP and present a slight chance advantage to the UDC. Some BPF members have also indicated a desire to contest in the constituency.

Gantsi North

The UDC did the unthinkable in 2014, wresting this hitherto BDP stronghold from the ruling party. From the 7684 votes cast, the UDC achieved 52% (3999) while the BDP settled for the rest.

PREDICTION: The incumbent MP Noah Salakae and his UDC continue to enjoy great prominence in the constituency.

Chobe

The BDP remains a firm favourite in this constituency, as proved by the numbers in the last elections. The BDP’s Machana Shamukini raked in 4114 votes compared to Gibson Nshimwe’s 3166 for the BCP.

PREDICTION: Although the constituency faces several challenges, including wildlife-human conflict, the people of the Chobe have not ceased to throw their weight behind Shamukini. However, the UDC’s Oscar Maplanka should not be underestimated.

Kgalagadi South

The combined opposition numbers from the 2014 elections yet again prove how the BDP remains dominant in this area. It commanded 55% of the vote from the total of 12427 votes. It has also become apparent that no matter who the BDP fields here, it is likely to win.

Mahalapye East and Mahalapye West

The emergence of the BPF is likely to cause trouble for the BDP here. This is almost already a reality because more than 20 sitting councillors recently dumped the BDP for the newfangled BPF. The numbers from the previous elections were in favour of the BDP that polled 11148 votes against the UDC’s 8508 in both constituencies. However, the opposition is fancying its chances because of the ‘Khama factor.’

PREDICTION: The UDC should win.

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