Former BNF Treasurer, Deputy Secretary General, Secretary General and Publicity Secretary Mohammed Khan is back on the political field after a 3-year absence from office.
He is in the running for Molepolole North under the UDC ticket, taking on his long time rival, BDP’s GUS Matlhabaphiri.
In this interview, Daniel Chida finds out what Khan has to offer.
Q. Mr. Khan welcome back to politics, you will be contesting again after you went public about resigning from active politics, why the change of heart?
There is this misconception that I had quit politics or I had resigned from active politics. At no time did I ever make such statements. However I did say that I will not contest Party leadership positions so that I give more time to my family, religion, business and local politics.
Q. What made a veteran like you resign after working so hard for BNF over the years?
It’s true that I am a veteran and I can’t resign or quit politics. Politics and I are inseparable, it’s in my blood. I am passionate about politics that can bring change to improve lives of Batswana and I will never quit the struggle to bring about the required change.
Q. Didn’t you make a comeback because of UDC since there is likelihood of you winning?
I never made a comeback, I was always there. My intentions were clear all along that I would continue the fight to remove the redundant BDP representatives in Molepolole and usher in a new vibrant, proactive leadership under the people centered policies of the BNF. Bakwena chose me to represent them to do exactly that. The establishment of the UDC just made my task a lot easier.
Q. How is your campaign going?
The campaigns are going well, but a little difficult due to lack of sufficient resources. The incumbent – Matlhabaphiri is campaigning for me by being unable to properly represent and carry out his responsibilities towards Bakwena. With God’s grace and the power and might of the UDC we shall defeat the untruthful and incapable GUS Matlhabaphiri.
Q. You will be facing the same person in Matlhabaphiri who defeated you in the past, how are you going to beat him this time around?
I prefer to not expose my strategy on how we intend to beat Gus Matlhabaphiri, but let’s just say that the situation on the ground currently shows that his popularity ratings have dropped drastically due to his negligence of the constituents, his incessant lies to the rank and file of the BDP and his rigging of the primary elections to favour those he wants. All these and our UDC campaign strategy will make it easy for us to oust him.
Q. Poverty, alcohol abuse and criminal activities are part of your constituency’s challenges, how do you plan to deal with these?
Poverty, alcohol abuse and criminal activities are symptoms of social ills, whose root cause is the inability of the BDP regime to economically empower the people with genuine sustainable programmes and of course the other culprit is lack of employment. To tackle the above social ills will require a multifaceted approach which is complex but possible under the politics of the UDC.
Q. What other forms of development do you think should be prioritized in your area?
Molepolole is one of the oldest and most populated village in Botswana but it is also one of the least developed due to lack of visionary, vibrant and proactive leadership.
With my leadership and the power packed, people centred policies of the UDC, I would lobby and present a strong case to parliament for a special vote of the budget to be dedicated to fast tracking specific developments needed in Molepolole to bring the village to its proper and required standard.
Some of the developments include Proper Water Supply to all plots that have been allocated but are said to be out of the Water Map, a sewerage system, a dual carriage way of the Molepolole Gaborone Road in the village, a proper police station, a youth centre, upgrading of schools, proper health care facilities and many more.
Q. You used to play a big role in fighting unemployment in your area but have recently gone quiet, what happened?
Lack of personal funds that I used to assist in fighting unemployment has slowed me down quite a lot. But I still do the little I can to help where I can.
Q. With voters still doubting the opposition what is your strategy?
I think people have wised up quite a lot to realize that a united opposition such as the UDC is an alternative to the BDP.
Q. Arafat Khan, who is your nephew will be in one of the wards in your constituency, how is your relationship with him?
My relationship with comrade Arafat Khan- my nephew and council candidate for Borakalalo Ward under UDC is excellent and so is my relationship with all the council candidates for UDC in Molepolole
Q. Arafat has a personal relationship with Julius Malema, do you ever talk about the potential danger there given that BNF has good relations with the African National Congress?
His personal relationship with comrade Julius Malema cannot harm any relationship between the ANC and BNF. To be openly honest, the ANC’s relationship with the BDP is much stronger than its relationship with the BNF. So there is nothing to damage.
Q. You are now an ordinary member at BNF having been the longest serving Central Committee member, what role do you play?
Currently I serve in the UDC Kweneng Regional Committee as an additional member. My focus is mainly on winning the Kweneng Constituencies for the UDC in the upcoming General Elections.
Q. As someone with good institutional memory, why is your party always experiencing internal wars?
It has to be realized that we are infiltrated, the BDP uses the divide and rule tactic on members and so unfortunately some cadres are sponsored to create chaos in the Party so that BDP gains from this. Secondly there are some comrades who are ill informed and are misled by those desperate for power.
The rank and file is used and abused to carry out an agenda that is counterproductive by self seeking individuals.
Q. What direction should be taken to avoid such problems?
We have to set up an intelligence network so that we understand who our enemies are within.
The inclusion of Regional Chairpersons into the Central Committee would also help so that there is information flow from leadership to the people and vice versa.
Q. What is the BNF’s stand in UDC, are we going to see the party contesting the 2014 general elections under Umbrella?
Most definitely yes, the BNF will without fail contest the 2014 General Elections under the UDC banner. It is a Congress decision and the multitudes of BNF members are fully behind the people’s project.
Q. Since there were court cases which involved the Umbrella, do you think by election time you would have had enough time to sell yourself and the umbrella project to the people?
Oh yes, the court cases brought up against the BNF are sponsored and designed by our enemies using some expelled members who also have pending court cases that have been swept under the carpet to answer to. So in short, we are here united to fight the BDP under the UDC.
Q. BCP is intending to engage you guys again, what are your views on that?
They are most welcome to present their case to the UDC and if it’s a proposition that we feel is fair and workable, then why not.
Q. Do you see it working?
To be honest it seems a little too late, ideally they should not have pulled out of the talks, because we were surely going to remove the BDP from power had they been on board.
Q. Your last words
I feel Batswana should realize that it is every citizen’s duty to make sure that they participate in the elections by registering to vote from the 21st February to March 2nd and bring about the required change of leadership at the General elections by voting and supporting the Peoples Project. I do rally behind the UDC to usher in a better life for all Batswana.