• Elderly blamed social ills, delinquency on DJ Tips’ Remmogo festival
As former Minister for Tertiary Education, Thapelo Olopeng, comes to terms with an embarassing loss at the hands of his nemesis, Pono Moathodi last week, The Patriot on Sunday discovers that Tonota electorates had long made up their minds about the MP popularly known as DJ Tips. “Olopeng concentrated on his ministerial role and literally neglected his constituency, which is lagging behind in developments. He had the tendency of making empty promises to Bakhurutshe and this time around people were tired of his shenanigans,” reveals Neo Modibedi, a youthful voter in Tonota.
She pointed out that many, especially the elderly, were not amused about the annual music festival that Olopeng held in Tonota. According to Modibedi, the elderly people were bitterly complaining that the music festival dubbed Tonota Remmogo was fuelling social ills such as teenage pregnancy and alcohol and drug abuse. Unlike Olopeng, Moathodi was always in contact with the electorates and knew their concerns like the back of his hand. Since losing to Olopeng, Moathodi has been doing ground work silently and his determination and hard work finally yielded the desired fruits.
Some of the constituents have been bitterly complaining about bad roads that link some of the villages in the constituency but they said Olopeng did not advocate for such roads to be tarred. Another burning issue that led to Olopeng’s down fall was shortage of potable water in some villages such as Shashemoke despite the village’s proximity to Gerald Estates.
Another factor that drastically changed the dynamics in the constituency was the arrival of former president, Ian Khama who campaigned for Moathodi on the eve of elections. Khama as Kgosikgolo of Bangwato still enjoys a huge following in the central and the northern part of the country. Khama traversed small villages in the constituency canvassing for votes for Botate as Moathodi is known by UDC activists.
The charismatic Moathodi of the coalition Umbrella for Democratic for Democratic Change (UDC) returns to the 12th Parliament after garnering 8 364 votes ahead of Olopeng’s 7 125. It was a sweet revenge for Moathodi who was defeated by Olopeng during the 2014 general elections. In 2014 Olopeng emerged victorious with 7 013 while Moathodi got 5 179. Traditionally, Tonota has always been the strong hold for the ruling BDP and Moathodi made history to win the constituency for the UDC. Many had predicted that Olopeng was going to return to parliament with ease taking into consideration the previous results.
Just like in 2014, Olopeng had organized buses that ferried voters from Gaborone to Tonota but it seems like electorates had already taken a decision to oust him. Dj Tips as Olopeng is affectionately known due to his popular music festival that is being held annually during the festive season was accused of neglecting his constituents.