Opposition parties’ parliamentary candidate for Okavango in the 2019 general election Kenny Kapinga has revealed that the ruling BDP approached him while he was with the police service but that he refused to join their party.
He assured Okavango voters that he will continue to reject the promises that are being made by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) executives. Kapinga said the BDP executives told him to get a party membership card so that they will give him some top positions such as commissioner of police.He said he rejected the offer because he is a patriot and can’t be bought by the ruling party using big positions. “There are so many things that I have done and am proud of like rejecting the promises of the ruling party who are still doing so but I will continue to reject them, I can’t trade my soul for money or positions because I don’t want to be their object,” he said.
Kapinga said people thought that he was working for BDP that’s why they were approaching him adding that he knew that he was working for the government of Botswana. He said the BDP executives understood that they can’t use him to protect them when engaging in corruption or to abuse citizens. He said that after giving up on him they sent him to South Africa and later to Zimbabwe but vowed that he will never accept any offer from them. Kapinga however told the Okavango voters that he sees himself as the only man to represent them.
“I belong to this constituency, I have a cattle-post, borehole and cattle which really indicates that I am the son of this soil”, he said. For his part BCP youth league President, Tumiso Rakgare described Kapinga as a bona fide member of the constituency and a real patriot that rejected BDP’s promises and will never be bought by positions or money. “Our parliamentary candidate can’t be bought by billions of Pula like other guys who are being bought by BDP”, he said.He pronounced Kapinga as the biggest fish of the year in politics saying a constituency like Okavango which is poverty stricken while it is the hub of the Delta which is making billions of Pula through tourism, needs brave men like Kapinga who will win the battle in coming elections.
Meanwhile various speakers at the rally described the constituency’s Member of Parliament Bagalatia Arone as a ‘robber’ and a ‘crook’ who defected to the BDP with their votes.BCP president Dumelang Saleshando told Okavango electorate that Arone lied and misled them when he said he is joining the BDP to bring them developments. He said the MP stole BCP votes but added that they are not threatened in anyway.“We want to deal with Arone’s embezzlement by voting for Kenny Kapinga in the coming elections because he worked with law enforcements he will help us to deal with Arone’s theft”, he said. Saleshando said they still have hope of reclaiming the constituency.
He said they have been moving around the constituency and have managed to receive many members from BDP. “We have received 376 new members in Okavango constituency, most of them are from the ruling party and contested in the 2014 elections. This makes us believe that Arone’s defection is not a threat but rather a blessing”, he said.For his part, Vain Mamela said the MP is really a thief who ran with the people’s votes to BDP. He said that had it not been for BCP Arone would be running after students with chalk and duster because after he resigned from teaching, BCP pledged to give him a salary for a year.
“Arone found himself in big arrears because when he got to Gaborone he started imitating other MPs’ livelihoods forgetting that he is from Sekondomboro, which caused his defection because he was given money to buy a lodge”, he said.He however said they are not threatened because they know that the BDP will dump Arone in the coming election adding that they have realised that Arone is in plan of giving the constituency to Ian Khama and Tshekedi Khama so that they can do their businesses.
Mamela however said they are not threatened because in their travels throughout the constituency they have met and seen extremely worried constituents. Meanwhile Arone could not be reached for a comment at the time of going to press as his mobile phone rang unanswered.
In what promises to be a battle royal, the Botswana Democratic Party(BDP) and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will face off in the imminent by-election for the Kalakamate ward on October 29th.
The ward became vacant after the death of Israel Samu of the BDP, just over two months ago. Samu had beaten UDC’s Madumela Matebu and Never Mogapi of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) who got 434 and 219 votes respectively while he garnered 556 votes in the 2014 general election. However, in this by-election, the two opposition parties have, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), ganged up against the ruling BDP with the BCP not contesting but actively supporting the UDC.
Kalakamate ward is constituted by three villages: namely Kalakamate, Sikakangwe and Mbalambi. Zibani Mbalambi is the BDP candidate while Madumela Matebu will represent the opposition. He was born in Mbalambi village in 1955. While Mbalambi will be hoping that his rich curriculum vitae especially as an employee of Rhodesia Railways (RR) and later Botswana Railways (BR), will endear him to the voter, Matebu, also born in 1955 in the village of Sikakangwe, will rely on his record as the area councillor from 2004 to 2014 when he delivered a number of infrastructural developments to his ward.
In an interview, Matebu says he wants his tenure to be associated with the construction of among other things, the bridge on the Shashe River connecting Kalakamate and Nswazwi villages, the building of another bridge between Kalakamate and Sikakangwe, an additional house at the Kalakamate Health Post to accommodate a second nurse. “When I became councillor, the road from Sikakangwe to Gambule needed culverts and gravel. I also brought about the construction of the Sikakangwe kgotla office for the kgosi,” said Matebu adding that he also facilitated the demolition of two dilapidated teachers’ houses in Mbalambi village because they had become inhabitable and replaced them with two new and decent houses.
According to Mbalambi’s written profile compiled at the request of this publication, after his primary education in his home village, some 100 km from Francistown, he went to Gaborone Senior Secondary School where he completed his Form 5 in 1977. After secondary school, Mbalambi went to Malawi to train as a locomotive driver. Upon his return from Malawi, he was attached to RR as a shunt engineman and was based in Serule. In 1983, Mbalambi got promoted as a Senior Engineman on the Bulawayo-Mafikeng section. In 1985, he was transferred to Lobatse in preparation for the takeover in 1987 when the line came under BR.
“In 1988, I was promoted to become the Train Crew Supervisor based in Francistown, the post I held until 1992 after which I became a station master. In 1995, I became a traffic inspector and in 1997 went back to the position of station master in Francistown until 2005,” said Mbalambi who, between 2002 and 2005 was the Acting Business Manager in Francistown. From November 2005, following a restructuring exercise, he became a traffic inspector and also acted as Regional Manager North, “From October 2007 to October 2011, I was based in South Africa as BR representative based in Johannesburg. On my return from South Africa, I was appointed Business Analyst on an acting capacity until I retired from the service of Botswana Railways in 2013,” revealed Mbalambi who joined the BDP in 1999.
During the course of his service with BR, he did courses on supervisory management, customer care, customer relations management, operations management and leadership skills. There is an interesting similarity of the issues the candidates want to tackle should they win. Both Mbalambi and Matebu want student hostels to be built at Mainjani secondary school in Sikakangwe to relieve students who have to travel from either Mbalambi or Kalakamate which villages, alongside Sikakangwe, form the catchment area of the secondary school. Each village is about 8 km from Sikakangwe where the school is. In addition to the hostels, Matebu wants the phasing out of the pit latrines at the school in favour of a water borne system, according to his written profile.
“I will also advocate for the introduction of modernised cooking equipment at Mainjane CJSS and do away with firewood,” reads his campaign pamphlet. “I will advocate for the introduction of a mini bus to ferry students to and from the school as a short term measure before the construction of boarding facilities as opposed to the use of donkey carts proposed by the BDP candidate,” states the UDC candidate who is also a businessman. Both candidates are not happy with the road network and will lobby government to avail resources for the construction of more roads.
Both Mbalambi and Matebu are spending sleepless nights over the problem of unemployment. “I will advocate for the improvement of the current empowerment schemes so that they are more beneficial to the people,” pledged the UDC candidate without elaborating. For his part, the BDP candidate, “will mobilise and educate the people on the myriad government empowerment schemes.” Each of the candidate further pledges to urge for developments of recreational facilities and sports development in the ward. Both Mbalambi and Matebu have got no complaints with each other’s conduct of the campaign with each considering the campaign to be decent. Refreshingly, allegations of vote-buying are not that loud.
Some of the disgruntled Botswana Democratic Party members who contested the 2014 general election as independent candidates are not too eager about the blanket amnesty extended to them to return home.
The BDP extended an olive branch to its Mekoko during its recent special congress in Gaborone. When contacted for comment on the logistics of returning to the party, the BDP secretary general Botsalo Ntuane would not say how many BDP members stood as independent candidates. “There were many independent candidates in the 2014 general election and we do not know how many of them were from the BDP,” he said. The party leadership is expecting the concerned people to notify the party through the local structures.
However, when contacted about whether he would return to the BDP or not, Farai Bonyongo, one of the Tati West primary election losers to Biggie Butale indicated, in an interview, that the party had not communicated with him. “If contacted, I will certainly consult with all concerned and make a decision,” said Bonyongo. For his part, Joe Linga, who also controversially lost the Nata-Gweta primary election to Polson Majaha, said: “I expect them to approach us as individuals. Only after that can one make a decision,” said Linga who however indicated that he would not contest the 2019 general election.
Moeng Pheto, the former cabinet minister who lost the primary election for Lentsweletau-Mmopane to Vincent Seretse, has made a decision. “I am not interested in the BDP. In any case, I have a new political home now. In fact, even before this resolution, a lot of influential BDP members had approached me to return to the party. I would rather go and stay at my cattle post than re-join that party,” stated Pheto who joined the Botswana Movement for Democrcy (BMD) after the general election. Pheto is a member of the BMD National Executive Committee. The fallout between the party and the disgruntled members had resulted from last year’s party primary election process, which the losers described as undemocratic.