“Some democrats have committed poll errors during national elections by voting for the opposition and were forgiven. Why can’t I be forgiven?

THINKING BIG: Phillip Makgalemele
Phillip Makgalemele

Outspoken legislator Philip Dikgang Makgalemele is vying for the position of Secretary General in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) central committee.

This is the first time Makgalemele has shown interest in the position since he became an active member of the ruling party 25 years ago.

In an interview with MMIKA SOLOMON he explains why the elective congress billed for Maun in July should vote for him.

Hello Phillip! Let us get straight to business when did you become active or join politics especially BDP?

I joined BDP 25 years ago. At the time I was working in a civil society organisation.

What influenced you to join BDP? Was it because your parents were members?

In fact for me it was out of love for the party. I looked at the programmes of the party, they were appealed to me.

The party is evolving. It is not stagnant as it continuously develops new policies that are in line with modern times.

Basically I could say I influenced myself to join the BDP although my late father was the founding councillor for Shoshong.

He died when I was six years old, so I cannot claim that he influenced me to join BDP.

…so it was a personal choice so you say?

For the record Rre Daniel Kwelagobe married my sister when I was young.

He played the role of a father figure in my life and as a democrat he might have influenced my decision to join BDP.Philip-Makgalemele

When you joined BDP, what is it that you wanted to achieve?

My priorities are to reduce poverty amongst Batswana.

I am passionate about the reduction of poverty.

When I lost parliamentary elections in 1999 I retracted back to study Masters Degree in Poverty Reduction and Development Management in the United Kingdom.

My studies enlightened me to appreciate the aspect of poverty reduction. In parliament I am the most vocal legislator when it comes to issues of poverty.

BDP is going for an elective congress in Maun. Is it true that you will be contesting the position of Secretary General?

Yes indeed I wish to confirm that I shall make myself available for the Secretary General position when a call for nominations is made at the BDP’s 2013 National Congress.

In deciding to stand I considered my availability, mobilisation skills gained from football administration and civil society work, extra ordinary energy, commitment and expertise on a wide range of development issues.

I believe these attributes shall help me to be a good Secretary General.

I am also confident that a lot has been achieved by the current Secretary General and the previous ones, thus a strong foundation for one to deliver.

I will therefore not reinvent the wheel on strategies currently working well for the party, but rather enhance them for effective delivery.

But some creativity and innovativeness shall apply.

What will happen in the event that you don’t win the position? Are you going to rebel again?

I won’t rebel. I will continue to serve the party as I have been doing.

I am currently a member of parliament for Shoshong. If the party wants me to serve in any capacity I will be ready.

I have lost elections before, and I continued to serve the party with loyalty.

Talking about loyalty, you joined the BDP offspring the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) for a short briefly las year. Where was your loyalty then?

I and some colleagues at the time felt BDP leadership was doing things the wrong way. We felt at the time it was best to leave the party.

So you are back at the party what has changed? Or you left BDP influenced by peer pressure?

It was a decision that I took on my own. I was never influenced by any individual.

I then decided to make a good decision to re-join the party (BDP) as I had hurt many people who believed in me.

Together with many others who re-joined the BDP we decided it is best to be with BDP and improve whatever needs to be improved from the inside.

But many people believe you cannot be trusted because you left and rejoined the party? Are you a traitor?

I am not a traitor. I am loyal servant of the BDP. I can be trusted.

I have asked for forgiveness from democrats and God. God has since forgiven me, so I believe people should also forgive me and move on.

I am an A grade performer in parliament.

I have asked 500 questions so far and presented ten motions of which eight passed.

Some democrats have committed poll errors during national elections by voting for the opposition and were also forgiven.

Why can’t I be forgiven?

During the BDP split your President Seretse Khama Ian Khama went on record saying all the Members of parliament who left BDP demanded or wanted cabinet position.

How true is that?

That is not true. Some of us never demanded or wanted cabinet position from His Excellency.

The truth is that cabinet appointments are his prerogative and nobody can force him to appoint them.

He selects his cabinet looking at various skills those individuals possess. I am not interested in a cabinet position.

I am alright as a member of the Pan African Parliament and just an ordinary MP for Shoshong.

Which party is likely to win the 2014 general elections?

BDP will win with a convincing margin. There is no opposition as it is.

We have developed this country in all aspects you can think of. Everybody can see that.

But your party ignored advice that there will be shortage of electricity. Your take on this crisis…

I cannot dispute that the current government was advised many years ago that there will be power shortage.

The government heeded that advice and the result is Morupule Power B Plant.

Unfortunately the plant has its own technical hiccups.

Should I win the Position of Secretary General I will close the link between cabinet and party’s executive committee.

Hence I will advocate for other sources of energy like solar power.

Regarding water shortage I will see to it that water is harvested.

Are you on any lobby list?

You see that is another plus for me, I don’t belong to any lobby list.

I am just a democrat who is asking democrats to vote for him.

Good luck! And all best and we hope there won’t be another split.

Thank you very much, the party will be more intact than you can imagine.

BDP will be more united for the 2014 general elections.


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