James Mathokgwane is not your ordinary politician.
The former Secretary General of the Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) is a hands-on politician who takes the plight of the people seriously.
He resigned from a plum post as a Director to be able to spend time with the people of Goodhope- Mabule.
MMIKA SOLOMON sat down with this political veteran in Dinatshane village.
Q: Mr Mathokgwane, this is the second time you will be standing to represent the people of Goodhope-Mabule, why did you decide to stand again?
Politics is my passion. People of this constituency do not have an effective representative in parliament.
There are issues that have affected this constituency since 2004 and are prevalent to this day.
I believe I have a role to play in the development of my constituency.
Q: Do you believe people will vote you this time around and what do you believe has since changed since you last stood for elections?
In 2004 I lost to incumbent MP Kitso Mokaila by a slim margin.
At the time the combined vote of the opposition was only 400 votes lower than that of Rre Mokaila.
What’s different now is that the opposition has formed an alliance and I believe that those who are non-partisan will also vote for my party- the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
People are fed up I must say. We have given Rre Mokaila a good ten years to prove his abilities and he has failed miserably.
People in Borolong and Ngwaketsi are fed up with this mediocre government.
We are all in agreement that there is need for change of government.
Q: Why did you not stand for elections in 2009?
I decided to take a break from politics.
I was studying privately and I also wanted to spend more time with my family.
Q: What has since changed, enough for you to be contesting again?
I feel we don’t have a representative in parliament as I said earlier.
The constituency is facing challenges that can only be addressed by a capable leader.
Issues of land and water planning for the entire constituency need the attention of someone who has the interest of the people at heart.
For many years Barolong have been talking about how bad roads are in this area.
The road between Phitshane- Molopo and Mabule is in a very bad state and so is the road to Sekhutlhane which poses a grave danger especially when patients are being transported.
Q: Are there any other areas that you feel need immediate attention?
Besides the road network, if voted into power I would advocate for a border post between Sekhutlhane and Lepurung.
We have relatives across the border only a stone’s throw away, it does not make any sense to have to travel long distances to access relatives when a border post could simply be created.
Furthermore, the youth in my constituency need employment, they end up migrating to urban areas because there is absolutely nothing that they could do here.
Electricity has now been distributed to all villages through schools, but this is useless to the people here because they cannot afford the P5000 connection fee.
Q: It looks like you have a lot of work cut out for you should you be elected, don’t you think?
I know, I will be starting from scratch because my constituency has no bank and there is only one ATM.
Even the Chinese are not investing in this constituency.
There are about 2000 civil servants in the area and every month end they have abandon everything to go and cash out in Lobatse.
Q: Surely, your area MP has attempted to address the challenges that you have cited?
I read the Hansard religiously and I know for sure that MP Mokaila’s voice is not heard in parliament.
I once asked him why he is not saying anything about our constituency in parliament and his response was that he speaks in cabinet meetings.
I believe that he should involve people in his decision-making process.
Q: What would you do differently from Mokaila if elected?
Look, the Borolong area is well known for its master farmers. Well they were, before NDB took their tractors.
We will ask government to turn Borolong into an agricultural hub.
We have the land and the people have a passion for farming.
We need a passionate leader who understands the needs of the people like I do.
To get a bank to set up in Borolong you need an MP who is willing to knock on doors of banks’ Managing Directors and sell the idea of investing in the area.