After losing 2014 as an Independent Candidate, Oarabile Ras Tshenyego is back, but this time as a candidate for Alliance for Progressives (AP) at Selibi- Phikwe East constituency.
The Physiotherapist will be coming up against, Lemogang Mojuta of Botswana Democratic Party and Kgobego Nkawana of Umbrella for Democratic Change.
The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA paid the AP’s Treasure General a visit at his office in Gaborone where he opened up about his dream for the former mining town.
How did you end up in politics?
At first I didn’t have interest in politics until I was persuaded by some people who wanted me to be their representative in 2014 and despite my resistance they persuaded me to contest as an independent candidate.
I did that and although I lost I was okay with the results because I only had six months to contest.
I had little time to come up with a manifesto and campaign teams.
After elections I was approached by all the major parties to join them but decided to go with Botswana Movement for Democracy.
I liked their ideologies, you see although they see themselves as liberals, they were more of progressives.
Again their ideas were catchy with more of youthful minds with a visionary leader.
I didn’t join BCP because they are still stuck in the BNF concept and do not want to grow.
What happened after joining BMD?
I was elected an additional member into the Central committee but the party went through a very difficult time of divisions.
I assessed both factions and I realised that Ndaba Gaolathe was more honest and open than Mangole/Pilane because those ones are more interested in cheating and conniving, they don’t care about the majority but what they want.
After the split I left with the Ndaba faction and formed AP.
What can you say about AP?
The party is growing but not at the rate that I would have loved.
At first people came in large numbers but there has been a decline, maybe it is because the party is focusing on primary elections than recruitment drive.
I hope after finishing all our primary elections then our structures will hit the ground and start mobilizing.
People see us as the only stable party because they have been disappointed by the turn of things at the UDC.
We have to maintain our stability because stability attracts funding, people cannot fund a project where people are fighting.
So let’s talk about your campaign in Phikwe, how is it?
It is going very fast because people like my presentations and the issues that I articulate.
My issues are relevant to them. Another thing is that after elections, I kept my campaign team and it has been boosted by the people who joined me from BMD.
I worked very hard during my BMD time and I am positive this time.
I have been working closely with Village Development Committees (VDCs) and other structures and we share the same vision especially on the health side because we share the same vision.
My area, Botshabelo is the most affected by the closure of the mine because there is no skilled labour and people survived by getting jobs from those working in the mines.
Almost the whole constituency except one ward does rely on Ipelegeng.
How can it be normalized?
We shouldn’t wait for big investors but small and medium investors through SPEDU should be brought to stimulate the economy.
I think a five- year period for me as a Member of Parliament is enough to change a lot of things and create jobs.
We also have to make locals, especially youth to understand business. I have started to teach them on how they too can tender for jobs.
There are around 25 000 in Botshabelo ward and bringing development to the area, including a stadium is not a bad idea.
Phikwe is a sports hub and the raw talent that is there needs to be nurtured. We also don’t have a proper hospital that can even serve surrounding villages.
I travelled the world and stayed in Iceland, I can turn around Phikwe’s economy. I feel the pain of Phikwe more than anyone because it is the place I call home.
I am hurt to see the kind of poverty in my area while government is not making enough to end it.
Fair enough, how do you see AP performing in the coming elections if you go solo?
I am certain that we will retain all the six MPs that we are having in parliament but cannot give you the exact number at this stage because we haven’t done an evaluation on our primary elections.
Is there possibility of AP joining other opposition parties?
There is no stability in the UDC and time is running out and it is getting late. My personal opinion though but I don’t see it happening because no negotiations have started.