With the general elections drawing ever closer, politicians are positioning themselves for their final push for power.
The latest to stake a claim is the President of University of Botswana Academic and Senior Support Staff Union (UBASSSU), Dr Kaelo Molefhe.
The academic is vying for the Bonnington North Parliamentary seat, where he will be up against the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President, Duma Boko as well as Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) representative, Annah Mokgethi.
The Voice Reporter, DANIEL CHIDA caught up with the Alliance for Progressives (AP) candidate at UB campus, where he also works as a lecturer of Political and Administrative Studies.
Q. Your name doesn’t ring a bell in politics; can you take us through your journey?
In 2011, I was approached by my late friend, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who asked that I assist them with the UDC policy and I agreed.
It was my good work that led to my appointment as the head of the President elect’s office.
I was assisting with preparing the leader, Boko for debates and ensuring that everything was in order for him.
I was just assisting UDC without affiliation to any party; it is only that I was close to Ndaba Gaolathe.
Q. So when did you develop interest in contesting?
I have always been in the background but towards the Bobonong Congress, Ndaba who was then the President of Botswana Movement for Democracy, asked me to come out and take part in the forefront.
Since I had been working with them well I agreed but unfortunately, as everyone knows, things didn’t go the right way as there were fights.
Q. And thus the AP was born. So, what is it that you are bringing to the people of Bonnigton North?
There are serious challenges in the area such as youth unemployment and drug use, especially in Phase Two.
Also, some areas, like Block Six, do not have government schools.
There is a serious lack of policing and health facilities in the area but we are part of the city.
There is also poverty and it shows that there is special need of focus.
I decided to be part of the solution to those things!
Q. How will you achieve that?
It is achievable if you work collectively with people in the area, they will help you come up with solutions.
With Boko, it is about him, not the collective.
He thinks he is the smartest person and has solutions to everything without engaging the community.
Our problems need the ‘We’ type of a person who can bring all the minds together not the ‘I’ type.
There is an outcry on an absentee representative; the area is now orphaned while it elected an MP.
He doesn’t work with the people or listen to their grievances.
The MP never attends funerals or weddings in the area, it shows that he doesn’t care or value them.
He is not an honest person but I don’t want to dwell too much on that, things will unfold on their own!
Q. Mokgethi is your other opponent, what are your thoughts on her?
Mokgethi is not new to the political scene. She has been there and has experience but the community has not been accepting her.
She has tried and the people shunned her! If I was in her shoes, I would not be contesting but focusing on other issues.
Q. Why do you think people will vote for you?
With my experience, skills and knowledge, I will be able to pick the minds, which will help me to bring developments to the area.
I don’t hold rallies but do house-to-house because it is much more interactive and effective.
I am not imposing anything on the electorates but get to listen to their challenges and also the suggestions to those solutions.
Q. Looking at past by-elections, your party has not faired well. What makes you think people will change their minds come 2019?
Although we will cash in from the BDP and UDC problems, our focus is to appeal to those not aligned to any party.
We may be new but we are not new in the political space because we built the BMD and went on to play a big role in the UDC before we left to form AP.
Batswana desperately need someone who they can engage in issues such as corruption, poverty and unemployment and find solutions.
If you look at our values at AP, in terms of what they demand from a leader, like integrity and fairness, they champion against fighting that.
We are not only going to narrate problems but provide solutions.
For example, we can engage youth on short-term jobs where they can get training and later open their own business instead of giving all the jobs to foreigners.
Who are our electricians and plumbers, it is foreigners yet we have a number of youth idling and that drives them into drugs.
Skill development is needed as soon as possible before we can talk of long-term developments.
But above all that, integrity will work for us. We cannot vote leaders who are unethical and corrupt back into the system!
Q. Is there still hope of AP joining UDC before the elections?
We are running short of time and we have to be practical, UDC is still in chaos and joining them we are likely to encounter bigger challenges.
Q. Finally, as a political analyst, what’s your take on the Masisi/Khama feud?
It is so unfortunate that the former President is taking centre stage; he must go and let Masisi rule.
Khama must give him space to execute his duties without confusion.
If the situation is not controlled, it will be bad; it is an imminent danger!