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The battle for Bobonong

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Lucas’ historic win # 20 years hard work or the Khama effect?

20 years after he first contested for the constituency, in which time he endured four consecutive defeats, the Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) Taolo Lucas has finally tasted victory in Bobonong.

His triumph sees Bobonong fall into opposition hands for the first time in the constituency’s history.

In the end, Lucas carved his name into the history books by just 850 votes, piping the Botswana for Democratic Party’s (BDP) Francisco Kgoboko to the post by 8953 votes to 8103.

He has since attributed his success to two decades of tireless campaigning and hard work, topped up by a little recent assistance from former President, Ian Khama.

Speaking to The Voice on the morning of the election, moments after casting his vote, an upbeat Lucas confidently predicted it would be ‘fifth time lucky’ in his quest for parliament.

“When I first arrived in the area some five elections ago, it was BDP all over. But we have since managed to tame it to an extent that that in the past elections it beat us with only 120 votes! But this time around I am confident of a win – and not just winning but with a big margin!” he declared on October 23.

His confidence proved to be well placed.

Quizzed about enrolling Khama on his campaign trail, Lucas maintained there was nothing wrong with working with the former BDP leader as he was assisting the UDC to ‘weaken’ the ruling party.

“Khama is helping us to kill BDP, who can refuse such free assistance?” he asked rhetorically.

Lucas went on to describe the BDP as broken, as evidenced by Khama’s departure from the party his dad helped form.

However, his prophecy that BDP would crumble in the general elections was well wide of the mark.

The ruling party retained power with unexpected ease, claiming 38 of Botswana’s 57 constituencies whilst the UDC took 15.

Ultimately though, this did not dampen Lucas’ delight.

Two days after being declared the winner and Bobonong’s new Member of Parliament, he credited his victory to 20 years of hard work.

“I worked very hard for the last 20 years and I think people began to appreciate that I can bring a difference and that made them vote for me ahead of other candidates. It was not easy due to lack of resources!” he said.

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Politics

Botlogile Tshireletso – Political Journey

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Just days before the last General Elections former Mahalapye East legislator, Botlogile Tshireletso, spoke to us about her political journey, her retirement from active politics, her women’s rights activism as well as her fashion sense. We share excerpts from the interview in this episode.

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Politics

The rise and fall of a giant

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What’s next for Makgato

Is it too early to write Dorcas Makgato’s political obituary?

Will President, Mokgweetsi Masisi save her political career? These are some of the questions on everybody’s lips at the moment in the advent of the political heavyweight’s mighty fall in the October 23rd elections.

Makgato lost her parliamentary constituency in Sefhare-Ramokgonami to Umbrella for Democratic Change’s, Dr Kesetile Gobotswang with a margin of 3 779 votes.

She was also overlooked for Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) and Speaker of National Assembly.

Prior to elections, Makgato fought a lone political battle with her former benefactor and former President Ian Khama and his brother Tshekedi, in what many believed was on behalf of her party and President Masisi.

The Khama brothers through their breakaway party, Botswana Patriotic Front, were making inroads into the once Botswana Democratic Party’s stronghold constituencies. When all were quite, Makgato stood up and took the Khamas head-on, risking her political career in the process.

The Khamas invaded her territory and de-campaigned her while propping up the UDC candidate.

And now that the dust has settled and political appointments have been made, she has been left out.

Makgato is not just an ordinary member of the BDP; she is the party’s Chairperson of the Women’s Wing, and a former cabinet member.

Some political pundits have posited that if over looked Makgato could canvas for support and emerge as the leader of a faction towards the elective congress billed for next year.

However, a Political Analyst, Leonard Sesa, is still hopeful that a special position might still be reserved for the Iron lady.

“Maybe the President has something special for her and for the elections campaign chair, Tebelelo Seretse because I don’t see them being overlooked just like that,” he said, adding that if time goes by without any mention of any appointment for the two women, then the Women’s League should stand up and fight for their chairperson.

“She could have done better as a speaker because she is brave,” Sesa said.

Meanwhile the BDP Women’s League, Secretary General, Neo Maruapula could not be drawn into discussing Makgato’s future saying they are yet to meet as the league.

“I don’t want to say my own opinion and put it as that of the women’s wing. We are yet to meet and have a plan,” Maruapula said.

Efforts to get a comment from Makgato hit a snag as her mobile was off.

Makgato’s journey to parliament started in 2009 as a SEMP brought in by former president Ian Khama, something which has led to some within the BDP to label her a “ Khamarite’, at least until the time of her public fall out with the former president leading up to elections.

She however went on to win the 2014 general elections beating Gobotswang with a margin of 1552 votes. During her time she served in different Ministries such as Trade and Industry, Health and Wellness and Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs.

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Hands off Boko- Khan

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KHAN FIRES SHOTS AT PARTY VETERANS

Botswana National Front’s Kweneng Regional Secretary, Arafat Khan has defended his party President, Duma Boko from the attacks that Boko has been subjected to by party veterans since elections.

In an interview with The Voice, Khan said that for almost two years he has been ignoring the so-called BNF veterans unwarranted attacks on the BNF president hoping they will they will come back to their senses.

He also said that the other reason he did not confront the veterans right away is that he did not want to give them the recognition they did not deserve.

“I am really disappointed with their barbaric and reckless behavior especially as some of them were once entrusted with leadership positions in the BNF. I never expected them to be communicating with the party through the media when they know that the party has proper laid down channels of communication,” said Khan.

Khan further pointed out that the veterans association was created to be an advisory committee and not an active party structure.

“It’s unfortunate that some opportunists, divisive characters and well known clowns are now abusing this organ to fight political and personal battles on behalf of some extremely over ambitious BNF leader(s). Most of these political ancestors masquerading as veterans have dubious credibility and some of them have dismally failed in the tasks they were assigned by the movement.”

Khan said that instead of ‘barking’ at Boko every now and then, it would be prudent for the disgruntled veterans to accept that they have long reached political menopause and that they are irrelevant and have nothing to offer.

“It’s worth noting that the BNF is not a one man show, it is run by the central committee and the UDC is run by its NEC not Boko alone. He is a democratically elected leader of the BNF and we will support him as long as he is the President. He doesn’t need any unsolicited advice from perpetual losers and political rejects,” the former BNF Youth league Secretary General lashed out.

Khan was responding to accusations that have been leveled against Boko by the veterans following UDC defeat at the October 23rd elections.

The veterans had come out guns blazing to blame Boko for the loss, accusing him of having run the party as a one man show at the exclusion of party structures and even going further to call for his resignation from the party presidency.

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