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I have run my race

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I have run my race
NOT STANDING: Tshireletso

There’s no guarantee BDP will win next elections – Botlogile

Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlhogile Tshireletso was aged 24 when she won her first elections in 1979 as a councilor in Mahalapye.

She stayed in that position for 25 years.

The former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Women’s League Chairperson later, in 2004 contested for Mahalapye East and won.

In 2019, she retires.

The outspoken and open -minded legislator who called for the legalisation of prostitution and abortion hosted Voice Staffer, Daniel Chida for an interview at her office this week.

Q. It is now official that you will not be contesting in the 2019 elections, why are you calling it a day?

A. When I was elected as the first Member of Parliament for Mahalapye East, I set my target, which was to serve for only 15 years.

I don’t want to overstay and end up running out of ideas. I don’t want a situation where people will wish me dead because I refuse to pave way for others.

I think I have done my part for my party and my country. I will leave my office with a smile because of my achievements.

I joined the party as a young woman when peace prevailed in the BDP.

Q. Fair enough, what is it that you have achieved?

A. Making my constituency an informed one has been the key thing. Sometimes it is not about development but knowledge.

If you go to my area you will find people who know about Gender Based Violence, Human Trafficking and poverty eradication schemes.

I achieved a lot in development too but education is power.

On development side, I brought clinics, schools, electricity, water and internal roads.

I initiated a Habitat for Humanity for Botswana programme.

I also introduced a Day Care Centre, which we later handed over to private individuals to run.

My constituency was initially rural but I am very proud to say it is where it is in terms of development because of me.

Q. Earlier on you talked of peace prevailing within the party back then, what happened?

A. People now fight for positions and then abandon the party; they no longer put the BDP first ahead of their interests. There’s just too much greed.

We have to support each other.

Q. Lets talk about the July congress, whom are you rooting for?

A. I am behind the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi because we want to boost hi confidence as the next president.

It is our norm as democrats to support the next president. Even during the Mmadinare Congress I supported him and I still stand by him now.

There is nothing wrong with his challenger, for me supporting Masisi is only a matter of principle.

Q. Do women support each other for positions?

A. Women supported me but once men showed their interest, those women abandoned me for men and that made me not to support them too.

Politics is a game of numbers but men use us.

Q. How true is it that women are used even sexually in politics?

A. (Laughs out loud hard) Yes it is true, we cannot deny that because we have some women in wards that we know have been or are still used as side chicks by some men.

There is nothing that can be done about that because it is the nature of politics.

Q. After being elected an MP, you were immediately made a government whip. Why?

A. Intelligence! I am more informed than those who think they are educated.

I have been bringing good ideas and that is why my President trusts me to do a good job of whatever assignment he gives me.

People know Miss RADP pageants because of me and that is one of the things that made President Khama to consider me amongst others.

I read a lot. I love Khama and I would not want to disappoint him. He gave me an opportunity.

Q. If considered for Specially Elected MP position would you accept the offer?

A. There’s no guarantee that the BDP will be back in power in 2019.

When you are specially elected you have fewer responsibilities than when you have a constituency so yes if I get nominated I would gladly accept.

Q. Why is BDP’s popularity declining?

A. The worst thing is that we Batswana don’t know our history.

BDP has done a lot but Batswana like to be spoon-fed.

We sent people to schools to be educated but when they come back they don’t want to create jobs but instead everybody wants to look for employment and complain that BDP is failing them.

We are carrying a lot of burden on our backs because of Batswana who want to be spoon-fed.

Q. Lastly tell us how the Electronic Voting Machine came into our system.

A. Hahahaha, no comment. I don’t want to talk about it because we have not talked about it at the party level except for debating it at Parliament after Eric Molale brought it. I

supported it but let’s not discuss it.