Despite losing in the last three elections, Shima Monageng is not about to give up.
Next year he will be up against his political nemesis Kabo Morwaeng at the Botswana Democratic Party’s primary elections for the Molepolole South seat and he is certain that come 2019, he will be a member of the august house.
And while there have been rumours that he is contemplating joining opposition because of his perennial loss, Monageng says there is no grain of truth in that as BDP will forever remain his political home. He speaks to Daniel Chida
Q. You haven’t been lucky in elections, what’s happening?
In all the three times that I lost, I was standing against Daniel Kwelagobe (DK), a BDP strongman who by then was a Secretary General and later Chairperson of the party. Contesting against DK was not a joke.
He had been in power for over 30 years and I stood no chance. I knew what I was getting myself into.
Apart from the fact that I was still wet behind the ears and learning from DK, I was also positioning myself to take over from him when he retires.
Q. But your party lost before you got the baton.
Yes, I think Bakwena were sending a strong message to us as BDP, I think it was more of a punishment than voting for opposition.
Q. Ok we will get back to that. We have seen losers defecting from one party to another but you have stayed put.
I have a backbone and respect for the people who have been behind me. How do I leave people just like that, I am not someone who easily gives up.
I also believe in BDP policies and do not see the need to defect. In the last primary elections, I felt cheated but I didn’t defect because I love my party.
Q. What happened to the compromise deal that was being preached by your party?
Compromise deal failed, even President Ian Khama tried to intervene and asked us to reach an agreement but still my opponent refused.
My reasons were that I have been contesting in Molepolole South for 14 years while he was contesting in Molepolole North, I stood a better chance than him but he refused.
Morwaeng is the same person who asked me to campaign here in 2003 and it still baffles me why he is coming after my constituency.
Q. How is your relationship with him?
We have no relationship to talk about because he has in the past tarnished my name to a point where the party had to call him to order.
I have tried my best to accommodate him but failed.
Q. Let’s go back to the issue of BDP losing popularity in the Kweneng Region.
It’s some form of punishment because people felt they were not taken seriously when they complained that our candidates going to 2014 elections had done enough and were supposed to pave way for others.
We didn’t listen and they punished us, however we are working on that.
My team which has the likes of Kwelagobe and other community leaders will bring the constituency back to the BDP.
They are helping me campaign because they see me as a capable man to restore BDP’s dignity in the area.
Q. Do you have a track record within the Bakwena Society?
When I joined Kweneng Rural Development Association, I found it in red and properties on the verge of being auctioned because of credit.
I pleaded with the board to sell some of the property to pay off bills instead of assets being auctioned.
Mafenyatlala which sits on 11 hectares was in arrears and sold to a businessman for P800 000.00.
Even though he had paid a deposit of P200 000.00 we managed to talk to him and the deal was reversed.
The piece of land was given back to Bakwena and we worked hard to have that mall built.
I have work tireless for Bakwena and I have faith that this time around they will vote for me to represent them at a bigger stage.