Former BNF Treasurer,Publicity Secretary,Deputy Secretary General and Secretary General, Mohammed khan has been there held that post and got a party promotional T/shirt for it.
But after dedicating decades of his life to serving the party and the people in various capacities Khan, 48, stepped down from office in 2010 to refocus his attention on business, family and brace himself for the 2014 general elections campaign trail when he will be taking Member of Parliament for Molepolole head on in a tussle for parliament.
Below is his interview on Life in the BNF central committee and after with The Voice Editor Emang Bokhutlo
You stepped down from office in 2010. How’s been the transition so far.
Khan: Its been good. Political office takes a toll on you, mentally, physically and financially.
My general well being and health have improved. I have had more time to spend with my family and more time to take care of my spiritual side of things which I had neglected a bit.
I now can go to the mosque more often.
Getting back in the swing of things in business has been a bit of a challenge though because while I was busy with politics ways of doing business changed and I have had to adapt not only to the cyber world of business but to having to deal with a lot of stringent first world laws in a third world country which makes it difficult for an ordinary Motswana to do business here.
So being a politician is not a lucrative career in Botswana after all?
Khan: Oh, It’s definitely very expensive to hold a political office in Botswana and many other countries in the region.
That is why you have to genuinely be in it because you want to serve the people unless of course you are targeting to benefit from the country’s institutionalised corruption.
I must however add that it is unfortunate that many politicians even those who have money have passed through their hands at some point have somehow failed to manage their own finances and a number have retired poor.
You coordinated the campaigns in the recent bye elections including in Maboane where the UDC won. Can you comment on that?
Khan: We are very proud of our successes. Wrestling seats from the BDP means a lot to us.
There’s also a clear writing on the wall that says that if the BCP was to come on the opposition cooperation board in whatever concept that would have been agreed upon by the parties involved BDP would be history come 2014.
The figures are there to attest to that and the trend is there for everyone to see.
I am passionate about opposition cooperation because we cannot afford to let BDP have another term in government because that would be a recipe for disaster.
Crime is rising , education is in crisis, 2016 is around the corner and the vision is far from being accomplished among other problems that saddle this country because of lack of sound leadership
I understand that the upcoming Letlhakeng West bye elections will be a do or die. How after true is that?
Khan: It’s not just Letlhakeng West where it’s a do or die.
We are geared towards redefining our campaign strategy such that it will deliver a win each and every single time we get into the race.
We need to win to urgently rid this country of the Khamarisation of the state.
I don’t have anything personal against Khama but he has a tendency to silence people, take them out of cabinet if they oppose him openly or work against them in such a way that he ends up surrounding himself only with bootlickers.
A typical example of Khama bootlicking is what I experienced at the Molepolole Kgotla recently where the MP in fear of Khama failed to acknowledge genuine complaints from the people about the hospital and instead of putting on his MP hat to speak on behalf of the people he put on his cabinet had and glossed over the problem because he was clearly scared of being fired by Khama.
You say its nothing personal about him but your criticism of the President is quite scathing?
No, I have nothing against the man as a person.
In fact he has a good sense of humour. Also my father was a staunch BDP member and his father whom I respect very much taught me how to speak English, but he is nothing like his father.
His father was a true statesman who could debate issues and seek solutions to national issues by consulting opposition parties leaders while Khama on the other hand simply wants to create an autocracy.
He thrives on intimidating people and distributing sweets and blankets, which is totally unlike his father.
You have been with the BNF since the days of Koma, tell us a bit about that experience.
Khan: Aish, its been a roller coaster ride for me.. I don’t like tensions and fights and yet that is what characterised the BNF as you know for a long time.
I was always putting out fires until I earned myself the nickname Setimamolelo.
“ Fire fighter’ The period when the BNF gave birth to the BCP was a traumatising time for me.
It was a battle of egos and jostling for power but I stayed and I will continue to stay with the party because I believe in the BNF’s social democratic ideology as opposed to the BDP’s warped ideologies which are tailored to make the rich richer and the poor poorer and threatening to get rid of the middle class in the process until the whole country is owned by a few super rich and a bunch of servants who look up to their master for donations of food and blankets.
Koma, Moupo, Boko, who in your opinion was the best leader of the BNF?
Khan: Its too early for me to comment on Boko but he is on the right track.
There has been a gradual development towards sound leadership and change towards a positive leadership role.
He has become more sociable and approachable as a leader and I support his candidacy fully.
I definitely wouldn’t want to take a risk with someone else right now.
Koma on the other hand was a political philosopher. He used to experiment his theories on us and it did affect us in many ways .
He was such a political tactician.
I remember one time he signed a memorandum of understanding that the party didn’t agree to and when he was quizzed on that instead of arguing, he simply said well, its nothing because if it was signed then it can be unsigned.
How do you argue with that?(Laughter)
Him and I used to fight a lot behind closed doors but in public he was my leader, my guru and I defended him.
We miss him greatly! I had massive respect for him and other departed comrades like the late Paul Rantao, my political mentor.
Thank you very much for the interview and all the best:
Khan: Welcome. Watch out for me in parliament after the next general elections.
I look forward to vibrant and meaningful debates like we used to have during the Mogae era when people aired their views and opinions without fear.