Motlatsi Molapisi opens up to Dubani- Wa Dubani on why he turned down UDC presidency, why Minister Mokaila should have resigned over his facebook sex scandal and how he mixed preaching with politics over the years.
Good afternoon Sir and thank you for taking your time to talk to us.
It’s always a pleasure talking to you.
Last year you refused to take up the Umbrella for Democratic Change Presidency and the question on many people’s minds is why?
I declined to lead the umbrella simply because I no longer have the energy needed to lead a political organization.
The sensible thing to do was to allow a younger person with more energy to lead because they can deal with the demands and the challenges of leading the organization than me.
As an honest politician whose interest has always been to see Batswana lead better lives than they are under the BDP leadership, that was the best decision I could make.
For me it has never been about being president but about freeing the people from suffering under the BDP government.
To help attain this, one does not necessarily have to be president of a party.
I will continue my mission in any other position in the umbrella. There are many other jobs besides being president.
I might have declined the presidency but I am not lost to politics. I will be a politician until I die.
You have declined to lead the UDC and will also not be contesting for the Botswana People’s Party presidency which means you will have more time at your disposal. What do you intend doing with that time?
I will spend most of it at the cattle post and also do some arable farming.
I will however be willing to do whatever the UDC and the BPP ask me to do.
Politics is my life and I will always have time for it.
A lot of politicians move from their hood once they attain some position but you have stayed put in Somerset in spite of serving as a Councillor for many years including being town mayor at some point.
Why did you not move to a more affluent neighborhood?
There has never been reason for me to leave this place.
I wanted to live with the people because because it was the only way I could serve them better.
Moving away from the people who have voted for me would also have been immoral as it would imply that I consider myself to be better than them.
Even when I was Mayor there was no need for me to move. After all we do not have an official mayoral residence.
Had that been the case I would have moved there but kept coming to see my electorate every day.
One would wonder what you have done for your beloved Somerset during the years you were councillor?
I have done lot. Over the years the infrastructure has improved because I pressurized the authorities into improving things in the area.
For example we now have street lights and the sewerage system has improved. I also brought the first day care centre to the area when other councillors chose to build guest houses or dikgotlain their wards.
I did this because I value education and it was best that children from this disadvantaged area get pre-primary education.
I must add that before the day care centre was built I ran an unregistered preschool in my house.
The children paid only five pula a month which went towards paying their teacher.
I did not charge rent because the idea was to serve the people and not to make profit. I have also helped the netball and football teams in the area. I am a sports lover and a football fan.
Do you support any football club?
I am a Township Rollers supporter even though these days I do not have a membership card. At the moment I am not happy because the club is not doing well.
I pray every day that things improve. I also support Kaiser Chiefs, Manchester United and Barcelona. All these are great clubs.
And who is your favourite at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations?
South Africa. I support them simply because they are our neighbours.
Last year Minister Mokaila was involved in a sexual scandal that made headlines in the newspapers ad he did not resign. What do you make of that?
He should have resigned to show remorse for his actions.
What he allegedly did brings into questions the morals of our leaders.
Resigning his position would have shown that he has respect for the nation.
Quitting as Minister would have served as an apology to Batswana and shown that he regrets his actions.
Staying put shows he does not care about how he behaves in such position of responsibility.
I think President Khama is also at fault here for letting not only Mokaila but other accused and tainted politicians as well stay in their positions.
The president should have shown concern and responsibility by forcing Mokaila and others involved in undesirable behavior to resign.
His not acting seems to suggest that he condones such behavior and it sends wrong messages to the nation especially the youth.
With people in leadership doing unacceptable things and being let off the hook suggests that immorality is OK and this spells doom for our nation.
We cannot expect young people to have good morals when they grow up watching leaders doing wrong and getting away with it.
Politicians and pastors are not trusted much in this country. You are both. Do you think people should trust you?
Let me first say that politicians and priests are human beings and are likely to fall into temptation and do wrong things.
This does not however mean that I condone wrong doing by those in positions of responsibility.
Those who do wrong in such positions must be punished as the law requires and quit such positions.
We cannot have thieves and other undesirables leading us. As for me I am a clean politician and pastor.
I have abused neither my political or church office. My record speaks for itself
Last year one of Botswana’s most respected political figures Motsamai Mpho died. What did his death mean to you?
Mpho might have been in a different political camp but his was useful to our politics.
He contributed a lot to the development of Botswana politics and his counsel and wisdom will be missed.
We need elders to guide the younger politicians. One thing that keeps the BDP going is that they have elders who are able to guide the younger politicians.
We need such figures to help in building a stronger apposition that is capable of toppling the BDP
Do you ever think about death?
Yes I do think about my own death. I know that like everybody else I will be dead some day.
As an old man I realize that the end is getting near with each passing day.
How would you like to be remembered?
I have lived a decent life and done a lot of good things. Other people may have their own interpretation of my life and may choose to remember me in their own way.
Thank you sir for talking time to talk to us
Thank you too for finding it necessary to speak to me.