After the Botswana Democratic Party [BDP] parliamentary candidate Ignatius Moswaane lost the case to have IEC accept his nomination, the stage is now set for the Francistown West by- elections without the ruling party, a first time occurence in the history of Botswana politics.
Of the four candidates vying for the constituency, Botswana Congress Party [BCP] candidate Dr Habaudi Hubona is more politically experienced and has stood for parliamentary elections three time since 2009. Although she tried her luck in Tonota North before she relocated to Francistown West, Dr Hubona is in a pole position to snatch the constituency. However, it is not going to be easy for the former Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital superintendent, as some members of her party have vowed not to vote her after they accused her of betraying Interest Tawele who was vetted out in Francistown South. Tawele was vetted out because the party said that he has not been active in party activities.
In a strong worded three paged letter, Tawele states that he was part of the health committee led by Dr Hubona that presented a report to the leadership forum in 2011. “Why didn’t she say anything when the central committee vetted out Tawele since she is part of the vetting team? We cannot trust such a character,’’ said one BCP supporter. Apart from that, Hubona stands a good chance to win the constituency and become the first opposition party female member of parliament. In the 2009 General Election, BCP was voted by 2,779 people a margin of 1,409 to BDP who are not contesting this time.
Botswana Peoples Party [BPP]
Botswana Peoples Party, which will be representing the Umbrella for Democratic Change [UDC] will be represented by Shathiso Tambula, a novice to both politics and the Francistown West constituency. He does not pose any formidable threat to BCP ambitions of snatching the constituency from the BDP. In 2009, the Party was represented by the man who denied Moswaane the chance to stand for election, Whyte Bagai Marobela, who garnered 1,059 votes and combining them with that of BNF who were voted by 334 people, the number still failed to come close to 2,779 garnred by the BCP. The party hopes that disgruntled BDP members, as well as those who defected to Botswana Movement for Democracy [BMD] will boost them.
Kago Phofuetsile-Independent candidate
They say dynamites come in small packages and independent candidate Kago Phofuetsile might prove the statement true when votes are counted on Saturday night. Phofuetsile went solo after he lost to Moswaane in the BDP’s primaries. Although inexperienced in politics, the former NACA programme officer might gain support from BDP members who think that by voting for him, the constituency would not be lost to the opposition. If he manages his campaign well, Phofuetsile might pull surprise win. According to some people on the ground, Phofuetsile’s main weakness is surrounding himself with his family members as his foot soldiers, who are also political novices.
Joseph Mabutho-Independent candidate
In the 2009 General Election, Mabutho stood as an independent candidate for Moselewapula ward in Francistown West and got 121 votes beating the BNF candidate who got a mere 66 votes. He returns aiming for the highest position in the constituency, Member of Parliament. Many people have dismissed him as a chancer and do not see him even garnering more than 200 votes in the by- elections, but Mabutho is the one to give up easily. He has political resilience and hopes to shock many come Sunday morning. In 2009, 11,920 people registered to vote in Francistown West and 8,461 voted which represent 70. 98%. Like previous by- elections around the country the number of people who will vote is expected to drop significantly especially after the wrangle between BDP, independent Electoral Commission [IEC] and Whyte Marobela.