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The moment of truth

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The moment of truth
SIDE BY SIDE: BDP, BCP and UDC members at the rally

Gloves are off as UDC and BDP goes to the polls

Almost two months ago, The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) snatched Sekoma ward from a firm opposition grasp of 22 years.

It was BDP’s first victory in the last six by-elections, a development that has worried the united opposition ahead of the Saturday showdown in the Phillip Matante East.

The battle in Sekoma was between BDP candidate Keboetseng Lebotso, who garnered 1 118 votes while his opponent, Robert Rantsho of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), trailed behind with 955 votes.

This Saturday the Red Brigade brings war to another opposition stronghold.

Phillip Matante East has been under opposition control since 2010 after the incumbent Shadreck Nyeku crossed the floor to join the newly formed Botswana Movement for Democracy.

He however managed to retain the seat in the 2014 General elections until his passing.

UDC has opted for a familiar name in the late Nyeku’s brother Uyapo Nyeku while BDP has fielded Peter Nare.

Analysing the numbers from the 2014 General elections, UDC appear to be clear favourites to retain the seat, but then again they were favourites in Sekoma but were humbled when least expected.

In the 2014 General elections 1, 381 voters were registered.

The late Shadreck Nyeku Representing UDC garnered 554 votes followed by BDP’s Bridget Masalila with 418 votes.

Nyeku
CONFIDENT: UDC’s Nyeku

BCP’s Madatha was voted by 221 people while the current BDP candidate Peter Nare who contested as an Independent candidate only got 71 votes.

Simple mathematics of the combined forces of the UDC and BCP shows opposition as undisputed victors.

A major concern for both parties is voter apathy which reared its ugly head last month during the primary elections.

Only 304 UDC voters turned up for elections while BDP primary elections attracted a paltry 141 voters.

On Wednesday the BDP top brass including the party Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane descended on the ward to drum up support for their party in a rally address by BDP young cadres.

Itekeng ward Councillor Lesego Kwambala implored young democrats to vote for Peter Nare as he’ll be able to help them understand the many BDP programmes and initiatives meant to improve their lives.

“UDC members are saying Nare is not educated enough to be a councillor. Even Nyeku is not qualified to share the same table with us, but we are not here to talk about academic achievements but to sell our party,” said Kwambala.

Another fiery youth, Fiona Lekgetho who was welcomed from the BCP by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi last Saturday slammed her former party, coming short of calling party leader Dumelang Saleshando a lost soul.

Nare
RED ALERT: Nare

“If you are still on the BCP donkey-cart know that the party has been thrown away to that scrap yard called UDC,” bellowed Lekgetho.

“I have only been in this party for three weeks, but it feels like 45 years. I have wasted my time at the BPC,” Lekgetho said.

UDC candidate Nyeku who was at the BDP rally posed a sombre face while his party was being dissected from all angles.

Nyeku was calm and seemed to take it all on the chin.

Reached for a comment the UDC candidate said he was confident of victory on Saturday.

“I am 100% certain, I am going to win the Phillip Matante ward,” said Nyeku.

UDC campaign manager, Wynter Mmolotsi said he hopes their voters will remain hopeful, and loyal to them.

He accused BDP of splashing money to confuse UDC voters.

“That’s the challenge we have, but we hope majority of our voters will stand with us,” he said.