Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Comfort Maruping wants to be next Member of Parliament for Goodhope Mabule constituency following the resignation of James Mathokgwane.
Maruping fancies his chances of winning the constituency that he even resigned his lucrative position at Civil Authority of Botswana (CAAB) to contest for the constituency bye-elections scheduled for August 15th.
Q: Welcome Sir, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Comfort Maruping. I was born in Pitsane-Molopo.
I am the first-born. I am from Rolong tribe,’ but I grew up in Gaborone because my father lived in the City.
He was working as a police officer. I attended my studies at St Joseph’s College then proceeded to University of Botswana where I studied Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences.
Q: When did you start participating in politics?
Personally I believe I am not new in politics.
I started participating actively in politics when I was a student at University of Botswana, where I was a member of Student Representative Council (SRC) as the Minister of Student Affairs.
During that time I was also the Secretary General of Botswana National Front Youth League.
We defected from BNF and formed Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
Then I became the president of BCP Youth League.
I graduated to the mother body and joined BCP Central Committee.
Q: What kind of a politician are you?
I believe I am a politician with leadership qualities.
I am focused, I am honorable and I am result oriented.
Q: You lost in 2004 and 2009 general elections and did not contest in 2014 elections. Why did you decide to contest this time around?
It’s not the first time I contest for elections in the constituency. I stood for elections three times.
Immediately after the formation of BCP, I contested for Parliamentary seat.
At first I was voted by 300 people, secondly I got 800 votes. Thirdly I got 1400 votes.
I did not contest in the last year’s elections. I wanted to contest, but due to lack of money I could not.
But this time around when the opportunity arose I decided that I should tender my resignation and contest.
I believe that it’s a calling. I just feel that Barolong need a person like me.
Q: How is the campaign going?
The campaign is going well. The response is so good that I don’t think we will lose.
The biggest challenge though is shortage of resources.
Another one is that majority of Barolong have threatened that they won’t vote in the coming bye-elections.
Those who are Members of BDP are worried about irregularities at the recent party bye-elections.
They preferred Motsaathebe. Majority of Barolong are against the resignation of Letlamoreng.
So we are likely to experience low turnout of voters during elections.
Q: Are you ready to wrestle with names like Kgosi Letlamoreng and Molale?
I believe that my name is bigger than theirs. I believe that I am more popular than Letlamoreng.
The only thing that Letlamoreng has is his title of Bogosi and he is considered a chief in half of the constituency and there are so many things that could work against him.
I can’t reveal those things here. Then Molale? Nobody knows him in that constituency.
The media built him. He is popular in BTV and newspapers.
But one thing I want to tell you is that there is no BTV and radio Botswana in majority of villages in Goodhope-Mabule.
There are no newspapers. That’s the beauty of that constituency.
No matter the hype you create in newspapers, Goodhope-Mabule people won’t see him. It’s an advantage for me.
Q: What are your competitive advantages when compared with other contestants?
I am a man of the people. I grew up associating with rural people. I am just an ordinary person.
I have lived a rural and ordinary life. I spent most of my time working at senior management but I relate well with the people.
Professionally and career wise I have accumulated a lot of experience.
After tertiary graduation I worked at Bank of Botswana in the research department and later resigned to study marketing in UK where I got a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification.
I then got a job at Standard Chartered Bank in Botswana where I was employed as a product development manager for 3 years, then I moved to Botswana Post where I worked as a marketing manager for 6 years and later moved to Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) where I was head of business development manager responsible for all commercial operations of all the airports in this country.
I have always been on the leadership. I sat on boards of high profile bodies such as Competition Authority and Petroleum Products Botswana.
Q: What developments are you going to bring to Goodhope-Mabule if you win the bye-elections coming on the 15th of August?
All Borolong roads are in National Development Plans and have been there for a very long time since I was a small boy when I was at Secondary School.
This will come to a stop when I become Member of Parliament for the area. I will also ensure that there is water in the area.
There is plenty of water in the area but not a drop to drink. The problem is lack of leadership.
Barolong need a leader who can ensure that the water reaches the people.
Farmers drill water to irrigate farms. I am going to engage Water Utilities Corporation to drill water and supply villages, which have no water.
The government has neglected Barolong. The area is suitable for agriculture.
But instead of helping Barolong to go into commercial farming, government decided to bring investors from outside Borolong to farm in Mosesidi farms.
The government has shown that the potential in agriculture is there.
But she didn’t assist Barolong to harness the potential.
Government decided to bring people from outside Borolong to farm in the area.
We are not saying government should not assist Mosesidi farmers.
But we are saying government should assist the entire community.
Q: How are you going to bring those developments to the constituency when your predecessors have failed to bring those developments?
What I have realized is that previous MP’s failed to bring the developments because of wrong approach.
They raised issues in parliament. I won’t do that. I will approach responsible departments with proposals on how they can develop the constituency.
I am not voted to be the state president. I am voted to be the representative of people.
So I will represent my people in all the forums. Former MP’s haven’t done that.
They only represent their people in parliament, where they are normally crushed and silenced by the ruling party.
Q: Are you for or against the idea of BCP joining Umbrella for Democratic Change?
Personally, I would like to see all opposition parties working together.
The problem is that UDC wants to work with us in an Umbrella model.
As BCP we can only work in a PACT model. Unfortunately the media has been biased and supported the UDC.
They have presented issues in a manner, which reflects on us badly as if we don’t want to work with UDC.
But that will never change our position. We are ready to work with UDC in a PACT model.
Q: Some political analysts attribute poor performance of BCP in 2014 general elections to its solitary approach to the elections. Do you agree with them or you differ?
I differ. People who believe that are shortsighted.
BCP performed badly because when false reports that our leadership is engaged in corrupt business with BDP leadership came out, we did not respond.
We treated the reports as petty issues. Secondly, people were sympathizing with UDC following the death of Gomolemo Motswaledi and Batswana were made to believe that BCP has something to do with the death of the politician.
Trade unions also de-campaigned Saleshando and we did not defend our turf.
Q: What are your views regarding the current government and state of democracy in our country?
The state of democracy in this country has deteriorated. People are afraid to participate in politics.
Foreign investors are also scared of supporting opposition parties.
Opposition supporters are often identified and blacklisted in businesses and frustrated by not being hired in government organizations.
Q: Your last words
I encourage Barolong to go and vote for me in the coming elections.