Old gun fires new shots

Daniel Chida
VOTED IN: Kedikilwe after his first day in parliament

Kedikilwe: Simply the best in Serowe West

Old gun fires new shots

Last weekend, political focus zoomed in on Serowe West, as the constituency went up-for-grabs at the polls.

The by-election was called after the area’s previous MP, Tshekedi Khama, missed two consecutive parliamentary sessions, leaving the Speaker of the National Assembly with little option but to call the seat vacant.

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Ultimately, as expected, it was Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) who emerged victorious to retain the constituency by a landslide margin, their candidate, Onalepelo Kedikilwe, receiving twice as many votes as his opponents put together!

Although not a name that will ring many bells in the rest of the country, the 60-year-old has a long, proud history in Serowe West, as The Voice’s DANIEL CHIDA found out when he caught up with the old-timer on Tuesday after a grueling first day in parliament…

Congratulations on your win, how did it come about?

Thank you, it was an easy thing for us; even if we can go back again we will still win!

The constituency has so much history; although it is called Serowe West, to some of the Serowe residents we call it, Kgosing ward. Even the former President, Ian Khama was once an MP for the same area. It made me proud though because I will go down in history as one of the Kgosing former MPs!

I was under the impression you had retired from active politics – what prompted the comeback?

It is true I long retired after serving two consecutive terms as a councillor for Palamaokue ward in the same constituency from 2009- 2019. I didn’t have any interest in contesting even before serving as a councillor. I was a well-known businessman in the area back then and decided to be only active in politics in 2003 when I joined the BDP but not to contest.

Then what happened?

People pursued me to represent them at ward level. Despite showing no interest, they insisted until I obliged. I then went on to win two consecutive elections before resigning to go back to my business. I have never lost elections.

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I can probably hazard a guess, but please tell us why you quit BDP for BPF?

All people in Serowe or Bamangwato territory were against how the current government was and is still treating our Kgosikgolo, Ian Khama. You cannot treat out Kgosikgolo like that and expect us to act as if everything is normal! We decided to leave the BDP and even now there is still no party that can penetrate our area. People keep on saying Magosi should stay away from politics, why now? Khama was a President and a Kgosikgolo, you cannot separate the two.

So how did you come to stand for parliament?

I worked closely with our former MP, Tshekedi Khama as Administration Officer until the MP position was declared vacant. Since I know all the dynamics in the area and having worked closely with Tshekedi, I saw myself as the best person to represent our people. I know all the structures from the Village Development Committees (VDC) to Bogosi and that is why I say it was an easy thing. No one even questioned who I was because I have been working hard in the area before.

You are likely to have around 15 months in office; is that enough time to make a difference? What is your roadmap?

I worked with Tshekedi and I know his roadmap and the pending projects to focus on. My task is to simply continue where he left.

How’s your relationship with T. Khama now?

We are always in touch and work hand in hand.

Any special assignments you’ve been given from the constituency?

So far nothing but I will be addressing kgotla meetings – that is where another direction to take will come from.

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How was your first day in parliament?

I got a warm reception and look forward to working with all.

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