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Maun East new entrant to parliamentary race

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There is a surprise entrant to the Maun East parliamentary race.

This new entrant is none other than an independent candidate Simon Lethake, 42, of Mapako ward in Maun.

The young businessman’s participation was only known on the day of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) registration of candidates.

Voice Reporter Daniel Chida spoke to this candidate who seems lost in politics.

Q: Good day sir, can you please introduce yourself to our readers.

I am young Motswana born and bred in Maun.

I hold a Bachelor of Accounts which I obtained in 2009 from the University of Botswana.

I worked at the Ministry of Finance and Development as a Finance Officer for three years before resigning to form my own consultancy.

Q: When did you join politics?

In 2012 I became a member of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) though I was not active because of the position I held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

I didn’t offer much to their movement which I can point out.

I was just there as a card carrying member.

Q: Why did you resign then?

I resigned in 2013 because my business took most of my time and I decided to quit since I was always on the road.

I didn’t want a situation where I was going to be counted amongst the members while in fact I contributed nothing.

There is no bad blood between us.

Q: Nothing was known about you until during the nomination of candidates or registration with IEC. Can you explain to us?

The thing is that I was not sure if my application to stand as an independent candidate has been approved.

I have been engaged in a number of community projects and I saw the need for me to represent my people.

Q: When exactly did you decide to contest as an independent candidate?

I declared interest in November 2013 but since I had used my sister’s work address, my confirmation letter was not delivered to me on time.

I only learnt of my confirmation when IEC officials hand delivered the one inviting me for a workshop in July this year and because of limited resources I didn’t do much except telling my friends and clients.

I am glad their response to my thought was positive.

Q: There are allegations that you have been paid to contest so that you divide UDC voters. Your take on that?

It is unfortunate for people to think that way but that is not the case. I decided on my own to contest.

Q: Some allege that you have been promised tenders since you have a business.

Yes I do have a business but like I said no one bribed me to contest.

I take that as an insult. Those allegations are unfounded and baseless.

Q: With a few weeks before elections how do you fancy your chances?

I will definitely win. I do have massive support in Boseja ward and my clients will also come in handy.

Q: You are from Maun West but decided to contest in the Maun East constituency, why?

I am better known in Maun East because I stayed there for six years.

I am also familiar with the issues concerning the constituency.

Q: Not a single rally so far, what is your mode of campaign?

I give campaign pamphlets on the streets and also T-shirts to the people.

Q: But there is only one T-shirt and it is the one you are wearing (he interrupts with a loud laughter)

Loyal friends do help in mobilising my campaign because I do not have resources.

Q: Are you serious about the decision you took?

Definitely, I am serious. Split of votes is going to work to my advantage too.

Q: It was hard to find you since people don’t even know you. How are you going to change that in a few weeks left?

I know people don’t know me except in Boseja and Kubung ward but since the IEC will be announcing all contestants it will work to my advantage.

I have a campaign team of five people and we are working hard. With or without resources we are going through with our mandate.

Q: You did not take part in any of the radio parliamentary debates, how are people going to know your strength?

It’s a pity because I had family problems to attend to during those debates especially the Radio Botswana one.

I also didn’t want to take part since I was not sure if my application would be approved.

Q: With less than 10 campaign posters around the whole constituency, how are the people going to know your position?

My team is busy on the ground.

Q: Who is financing you?

I don’t have a financier.

Q: When is your launch?

Due to lack of funds, I won’t be launched.

Q: What does your campaign symbol (the blue sprinting horse) mean?

It mean run for the bright future. You have to come out of doom and I am the light.

Q: What developments will you bring to Maun East?

A thorough market research is needed for the youth who want to venture into business because the majority who have been dealing with me through my company are clueless on that and they end up doing short cuts.

I have been with the Women Affairs Department for some time and I realised that they have problems of accessing loan from banks because of collateral issues.

They also have problems acquiring land for their business and I will advocate that they be allowed to divide their residential plots for commercial purposes.

I will also advocate for nurses to be allowed to register their own clinics because the law that is there now is not clear on that issue.

Q: You haven’t touched core issues like unemployment, poverty and human-wildlife conflict.

Those issues are on pipeline and I will cover them once in parliament.

Q: You also mention Boseja-Kubung ward only leaving out some wards, don’t you think a council position could have been better?

People say that but I believe what I am doing is right. I am certain of a win.

I have personal issues on why I am not contesting as a councillor.