While miners at the Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) were busy extracting the diamonds, street vendors at Orapa cashed in on the bye-elections.

Vendors braved chill nights and extremely hot days to cash in on bye-elections which took place last Saturday.

The vendors crowded the streets in Orapa and other strategic areas selling snacks, drinks and airtime.

Mable Marumo, who was selling an assortment of products, said she arrived in Orapa two weeks before the bye-election day so she could make money.

“This is what I do every day. I have been working in this line of business for three years.

Election campaigns and election days for me are peak periods to make money,” she told The Voice Money as she prepared a coffee for a customer last Saturday morning.

“I usually look for the busiest position at the Letlhakane bus rank (where she usually operates from) so I can make more money.

For the past two weeks, I came here because campaigns had become hot,” the 40-year-old said.

Memory Mainane of Mosu village said she braved the scorching sun because she wanted a good spot to sell from.

Mainane was selling sweets, condoms and cool drinks.

“During the night, they were buying them in volumes,” said Mainane pointing at packets of Lovers Plus condoms.

She said the food business was also at its peak for the past two weeks because those who were campaigning needed to eat.

“And we could not afford not to work during the night.

Today (last Saturday) very few are buying because voters are coming to vote and going home.

But we have made our money,” she said with confidence.

Meanwhile, the bye-election was held after Botswana National Front (BNF)’s Chilume Balopi resigned as a councilor in June this year to pursue business interests.

48-year-old Koketso Seloi of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the bye election with 486 votes.

Young Karabo Mabedza of the BNF failed to retain the seat and came second with 265 votes while 50-year-old Mokwadi Seatla of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) got a paltry 69 votes.

Of the 822 ballots papers cast at the by-election, only two were spoilt.

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