NOT SO SURE AGAIN
In what is a replica of what transpired at the Bophirima Ward by-election in Gaborone a couple of months ago, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) remains undecided on a candidate for the impending Moselewapula ward election, while the Botswana Democratic Party's (BDP) processes have already yielded a candidate.
Despite eventually deciding later who will stand for the UDC at Bophirima, the party still went on to win the ward against both the BDP and Botswana Congress Party (BCP), and there is that hope that even before an opposition candidate is decided, they may again go on to retain the ward. However, the BDP candidate for the Moselewapula ward by-election, Ngwisiwa Ntogwa is confident of bagging the ward in the by-election penciled for July 30th in Francistown. The ward has been without a councillor since the death of Reuben Kethoilwe of the BCP in March this year. Ntogwa is the founder of Tjilenje Tje Ngwao; a popular Ikalanga traditional dance troupe based in Francistown.
The 43-year-old Ramokgwebana native, who joined the ruling BDP in 2007 at the urging of former Member of Parliament (MP) for Tati East constituency, Samson Guma Moyo believes he will win because he is in the ‘’right party’’.
“Secondly, I come from a very well-known family. For example, my maternal grandfather, Ntogwa was a traditional priest and Mwali messenger with rain-making powers and so was his son, my maternal uncle, Vumbu who succeeded him.
“They were very generous people who were well-known for giving to the needy. Just like my forebears, I have always been a charitable person who shares with the poor whatever I have.
“Finally, I will also be riding on the back of the Tjilenje Tje Ngwao traditional group which is very popular in this part of the country,” Ntogwa said.
Ntogwa is unfazed by the appallingly low turn-up for the BDP primaries. Sixty-two people voted for Ntogwa, while 59 voted for Tadubana and 34 for Richard Tomas.
“Admittedly, the numbers were very low but this is because it is a by-election. Besides the campaign period, which is decided by the party, was rather too short thereby limiting our interaction with the people.
“However, between now and election day, we have got no choice but to invest a lot of time in the mobilisation of all the potential voters including those who are registered but did not vote in 2019 for whatever reason.
“We are on the ground conducting a fierce house-to-house campaign," boasted the optimistic traditional dancer-cum-politician.
“I am a community mobiliser and have organised a lot of activities here such as football tournaments, beauty contests and other groups. These are the people who have insisted on me contesting. I am confident that with them and the rest of the community behind me, I am poised to win,” stated the confident BDP hopeful.
Although he is yet to talk to Tadubana, who is the runner-up, the winner told this publication that he intends to ask Tadubana to be the manager of the BDP campaign in the ward.
There is talk among BDP members in Moselewapula that the party gave Ntogwa the ward at Tadubana’s expense because, according to them, he is a weak candidate.
According to the rumour mill, even if he wins Moselewapula now, he will easily lose to the preferred candidate who is a specially-elected councillor and could not contest the by-election.
Tadubana, who is not happy with the outcome of the primaries said that if approached he would be happy to lead the BDP campaign.
“I do not have any problems with Ntogwa. He did not rig the primaries. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the structure that conducted the primaries,” said Tadubana, who did not contest the results “for the sake of the party.”
Meanwhile, the UDC seems undecided on what the suspension of the BCP officials, Dumelang Saleshando and Goretetse Kekgonegile means with respect to candidates for Moselewapula. Some officials in both the BCP and its BNF and BPP partners insist the BCP should be isolated until it tenders to an apology.
MP for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane and the UDC Head of Communications, Moeti Mohwasa say that the BCP should produce the candidate while its partners support it in accordance with the MoU signed by the partners.
“Nobody said the party should apologise for anything. Instead, it is the two individuals who have been asked to apologise and their apology or lack of it should not nullify the MoU.
“The approach that says an injury to one is an injury to all is irrelevant here,” said Moswaane in an interview.
Even with slightly 20 days left, UDC officials seem unable to say whether any campaigning is going on their part or not.