Mabaila protests his innocence
Despite being slapped with a five-year suspension from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Tshepang Mabaila talks like a man in denial at the demise that recently befell him.
The BDP’s prodigal son had eyes on Mogoditshane constituency but was sent into temporary exile by President Mokgweetsi Masisi for bringing the party’s name into disrepute.
This week, The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA caught up with the young politician, who is accused of attempting to recruit Members of Parliament, Alfred Madigele and Sethomo Lelatisitswe to support Duma Boko’s motion of no confidence in Masisi.
Q: What led to your suspension?
False stories about myself that were being fed to President Masisi forced him to take the decision he took.
I don’t blame him because, with the powers vested on him, he is entitled to take that decision, if you are serious about cleaning the party.
When we say politics can be very dirty, we are talking about a situation where people can connive to damage the reputation of a young person of my age.
They know that it is something that was planned just to frustrate me and delay my political growth and progress.
I know of a high-ranking official within the BDP’s Central Committee (CC) who is behind all this because he does not want people, especially those with ambitions like me, to be close to the President.
The scenario is not about what is going on between former President Ian Khama and Masisi but about the CC member who thinks he is better than other members.
Q: Please clarify?
There is a syndicate that was working around this because there is no way two separate letters, which were written on the 10th of July but only delivered on the 2nd of August, and then the Mogoditshane branch writes its own complaint letter on the 2nd of August.
How can I approach two MPs who are not even my friends? Lelatisitswe even mentioned that he does not know me – it shows that it was a scheme!
Q: Was the trial fair though?
The trial was not fair because no witnesses were brought forward for me to cross-examine.
I can tell that the decision delivered was not that of the Disciplinary Committee but a directive by someone else.
They should have dismissed this issue because it’s all lies.
We should look at the bigger picture, which is growing the BDP and making sure that Masisi retains power.
I am a big brand myself and can help the party to grow. Mogoditshane leaders can attest that whenever I call a meeting or host an event, I get a larger crowd than the MP and the Chief’s calling.
Making Masisi’s picture your profile picture does not mean you work hard for the party! I do work for the BDP and if I didn’t like HE, I could be withdrawing from the race.
Q: But you have been suspended until after elections?
Yes I have been suspended not expelled and I won’t be contesting as an Independent.
I am appealing my sentence with the hope of getting a better sentence, like a warning.
I know Masisi is not petty and will listen to me!
Q: Won’t this controversy surrounding you affect any campaign you might run?
It does not affect my campaign because people know the truth. I even addressed those who went to Tsholetsa to throw away their membership cards.
I have halted my campaigns but the team is still there and we go house-to-house encouraging people to register.
Q: Why is Khama fighting with Masisi?
I don’t want to be involved in that and their conflict shouldn’t affect my life.
Khama is my friend while Masisi is my leader and people must stop being petty.
If you look at the number of protests and re runs you can see that something is wrong within the CC.
It is just that I love my party otherwise I could be taking this issue to court.
I spent P189, 000 during primary elections and had a P1 million budget for the general elections and it shows how I was prepared to help HE to win.
The problem is that there is too much tribalism in Mogoditshane and people use it to tarnish our names.
Q: Do you still harbour ambitions of one day becoming the President of Botswana?
Yes I still have those ambitions, the two (Madigele and Lelatisitswe) just want to delay my progress in politics and after Masisi’s turn then we will see who is elected to be VP.
Q: HE is firing Khama’s circle of friends, which you are part of – what does that mean?
I have no problem with Masisi selecting his own team because those are the people he trusts. It is good for the country.
Q: Apart from appealing your sentence what are you planning?
We have an audio of the traitor in the CC tarnishing Masisi’s name saying he is loyal to Khama and does not care if HE removes him from his party position.
So while he goes around saying bad things about us, he must know we have his audio and we will give it to HE soon so that he knows what kind of person he is working with!