Next weekend, Goodhope-Mabule constituency will be voting for their Member of Parliament after the resignation of James Mathokgwane. By all counts, stakes are high at the Barolong land and all the three contesting parties want to have an impact on the election results.
The bookmakers have penned a battle between Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP); and Paramount chief of Barolong, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). But Comfort Molale Molosiwa of the Botswana congress Party (BCP) is also hard at work – and he may just be the difference between winning and losing the constituency.
The constituency has been a stronghold of the BDP since the first election in 1965, but the UDC believes that the BDP’s first loss in 48 years in the area is a sign that people have given up on the ruling party. On the other hand the BCP takes the view that it knows how to prepare for a bye-election and it may just snatch under the feet of both the BDP and the UDC.
High confidence levels among UDC faithful, fuelled by the fact that they are represented by a paramount chief has forced the BDP to go for an all-out war. They have unleashed almost everyone in the party’s hierarchy – and the instruction is simple – bring the constituency. The BDP campaign in the area is expected to be punctuated by President Lt Gen Ian Khama last minutes’ shock and owes in several villages. There are 14 villages in the constituency.
The BDP also intends to exploit the “Barolong ba Baikuedi” debate. This is a group of Barolong who do not fall under Kgosi Lotlaamoreng’s rule. According to the Tribal Territories’ Act they are under the Bangwaketse. Lotlaamoreng has jurisdiction over the area and the views of the Barolong in that territory is that they are not being listened to because they have long asked to be incorporated into the other Borolong. Lotlaamoreng has not pursued the matter aggressively.
The BDP also gains confidence from the knowledge that some villages in the Borolong area are not predominatly Rolong. There are areas populated by Xhosas, Basotho, Bangwaketse, and Bahurutshe, among other tribes in the constituency. But it is clear that Lotlaamoreng’s paramount chief status is overwhelming the BDP and they are forced to do beyond electioneering if they are to beat him.
For many, it is not about the UDC, but more about Lotlaamoreng as he does not want to be the first paramount chief to lose an election, many question whether his tribe could desert him. Indications are that many Dikgosi are surreptitiously supporting Lotlaamoreng because his win will continue to prove how influential they are in communities.
The BDP has lined up four Members of Parliament for every village in the constituency as campaign teams backed by members of other party structures, the Women’s Wing and Youth Wing. In the groups of four, they are at least two cabinet members. The Ministers are also expected to take advantage and address kgotla meetings to spell out government policies and promises for the Barolong.
The Members of Parliament will be engaged in house to house campaigns every time they are at their workstations.
As part of the grand scheme, disgruntled Kenaleone Fankie Motsaathebe has been seen with candidate Eric Molale at almost every venue. Motsaathebe lost the BDP primary election in a controversial fashion last month. He had threatened the party with court action but later readjusted his bearings.
Being with Molale at public spaces gives semblance of cooperation and peace hence Motsaathebe’s numbers should boost Molale. The BDP believes that what matters most is to ensure that all BDP members who are on the Voters’ roll vote for the BDP.
Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to address a star rally and launch of candidate Molale this weekend and at the same rally a number of prominent opposition functionaries will be displayed as the latest BDP loot from the opposition ranks. Lately BDP secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane has elevated his rivalry with the BCP to dizzy levels, conniving with BCP members to rattle the self-proclaimed stable party.
Ntuane has not seen eye to eye with the BCP since his Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) days. Masisi’s rally will be a prelude for President Ian Khama who will sweep through the constituency like a tornado. Khama has always been BDP’s trump card and he is expected to address BDP’s handicap of not fielding a person of royal blood.
The P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saga that has been before court since 2017 seems to be losing its momentum with a high possibility of it being thrown out as defence lawyers unmask incompetency on the part of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The Gaborone High Court this week ruled that the decision by the State to prosecute Justice Zein Kebonang and his twin brother, Sadique Kebonang has been reviewed and set aside. The two brothers have now been cleared of the charges that where laid against them three years ago.
The United States (US) will on the 3rd of November 2020 chose between incumbent Donald Trump of the Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democrats amid the coronavirus pandemics, which has affected how voting is conducted in the world’s biggest economy.
Trump (74) seeks re-election after trouncing Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Biden (77) is going for his first shot as Democratic nominee after previous unsuccessful spells.
US Presidents mostly succeed in their re-election bid, but there have been nine individuals who failed to garner a second term mandate, the latest being George W H. Bush, a Republican who served as the 41st US President between 1989 and 1993.
Dr Mark Rozell, a Dean of the School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia describes the complex US electoral system that will deliver the winner at the 3rd November elections.
“The founders of our Republic de-centralised authority significantly in creating our constitutional system, which means that they gave an enormous amount of independent power and authority to State and local governments,” Dr Rozell told international media on Elections 2020 Virtual Reporting Tour.
Unlike parliamentary democracies, like Botswana the United States does not have all of the national government elected in one year. They do not have what is commonly called mandate elections where the entire federal government is elected all in one election cycle giving a “mandate” to a particular political party to lead, and instead US have what are called staggered elections, elections over time.
The two house Congress, members of the House of Representatives have two-year long terms of office. Every two years the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election, but senators serve for six years and one third of the Senate is elected every two years.
For this election cycle, US citizens will be electing the President and Vice
President, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the open or contested seats in the Senate, whereas two thirds are still fulfilling the remainder of their terms beyond this year.
An important facet of US electoral system to understand given the federalism nature of the republic, the US elect presidents State by State, therefore they do not have a national popular vote for the presidency.
“We have a national popular vote total that says that Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump or in Year 2000 that Al Gore got a half million more votes than George W. Bush, but we have what is called a State by State winner takes all system where each State is assigned a number of electors to our Electoral College and the candidate who wins the popular vote within each State takes 100 percent of the electors to the Electoral College,” explained Dr Rozell.
“And that is why mathematically, it is possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the presidency.”
Dr Rozell indicated that in 2016, Hillary Clinton won very large popular majorities in some big population States like California, but the system allows a candidate to only have to win a State by one vote to win a 100 percent of its electors, the margin does not matter.
“Donald Trump won many more States by smaller margins, hence he got an Electoral College majority.”
Another interesting features by the way of US constitutional system, according to Dr Rozell, but extremely rare, is what is called the faithless elector.
“That’s the elector to the Electoral College who says, ‘I’m not going to vote the popular vote in my State, I think my State made a bad decision and I’m going to break with the popular vote,’’ Dr Rozell said.
“That’s constitutionally a very complicated matter in our federalism system because although the federal constitution says electors may exercise discretion, most States have passed State laws making it illegal for any elector to the Electoral College to break faith with the popular vote of that State, it is a criminal act that can be penalized if one is to do that. And we just had an important Supreme Court case that upheld the right of the states to impose and to enforce this restriction”
There are 538 electors at the Electoral College, 270 is the magic number, the candidate who gets 270 or more becomes President of the United States.
If however there are more candidates, and this happens extremely rarely, and a third candidate got some electors to the Electoral College denying the two major party candidates, either one getting a majority, nobody gets 270 or more, then the election goes to the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives votes among the top three vote getters as to who should be the next President.
“You’d have to go back to the early 19th century to have such a scenario, and that’s not going to happen this year unless there is a statistical oddity, which would be a perfect statistical tie of 269 to 269 which could happen but you can just imagine how incredibly unlikely that is,” stated Dr Rozell.
BLUE STATES vs RED STATES
Since the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates.
Many states have populations that are so heavily concentrated in the Democratic party or the Republican party that there is really no competition in those states.
California is a heavily Democratic State, so is New York and Maryland. It is given that Joe Biden will win those states. Meanwhile Texas, Florida and Alabama are republicans. So, the candidates will spent no time campaigning in those states because it is already a given.
However there are swing states, where there is a competition between about five and 10 states total in each election cycle that make a difference, and that is where the candidates end up spending almost all of their time.
“So it ends up making a national contest for the presidency actually look like several state-wide contests with candidates spending a lot of time talking about State and local issues in those parts of the country,” said Dr Rozell.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.