Counting his losses

Kabelo Dipholo
DEFEATED: BCP candidate, Mmoloki Wairi

Wairi licks his wounds after by-election defeat

Weeks ahead of the Moselewapula Ward by-elections in Gerald Estate, Francistown, the then Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate, Mmoloki Wairi, seemed to be set to cruise to victory.

His fortunes would, however, change when his party, Botswana Congress Party (BCP), decided to go it alone and not use the UDC symbol, just two weeks before the by-elections.

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Caught off guard, and with little time on their hands, the UDC roped in Gift Tebo to represent them.

When ballots were counted on 30th July, the late entrant to the race won the ward with 339 votes to Wairi’s 334, while the BDP came a distant third with 110 votes.

In an exclusive interview with The Voice this week, Wairi quickly admits that the stand-off between UDC and BCP cost him what should have been an easy victory.

“I’m a BCP, and its decisions are binding. The party comes first,” he said.

Wairi, who lost the elections by five votes, said the stand-off created a lot of confusion in the run-up to the by-elections.

“The UDC used this opportunity to further confuse voters in the ward. Some of the BCP members have confessed to voting the UDC because they were told I was standing under the Umbrella,” revealed Wairi.

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“It was, however, our responsibility as BCP to counter such propaganda, and it looks like we did not do enough,” he said.

Still gracious in defeat, Wairi dismissed allegations that the party leadership may have sacrificed him to test the party’s readiness for the 2024 general elections.

“That is ridiculous. This is a BCP stronghold. I, together with the party, had confidence that we’d retain it. There were never any doubts in our minds that we’d win,” he said.

Wairi further said while he rues the missed chance, he plans to go back to strategise for his comeback.

“I don’t know what the future holds, the party may decide to field a different candidate next time, it is still ok with me. I’m not bitter at all,” Wairi said in conclusion.

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