The underdog that became the top dog

Daniel Chida
UB SRC PRESIDENT: Maatla Magibisela

Maatla Magibisela, is the new Student Representative Council at the University of Botswana. The new kid on the political block acquired at seat the hell of student power through a new entrant on the political party space, the Diplomatic Student Power (DSP), defeating Moono Wa Baithuti and Alliance for Progressive and Botswana Congress Party’s United Student Movement as well as Botswana Democratic Party’s GS26.

Magibisela got 571 votes with Boniface Seane of the BDP who trailing behind with 523 votes. The 22-year-old Kopong born young politician is currently a double major degree in Political Science and Economics. The Voice Reporter, DANIEL CHIDA speaks to the leader of a team that was coordinated and financed by businessman, Tshepang Mabaila.

  • How does it feel to have won the Presidency?

I am very grateful and humbled by the great responsibility the student community has trusted us with. But I am also excited at the journey of service ahead of us.

  • Let’s talk about your movement, how was it established?

The DSP was established by a group of students who were tired of the status quo in UB. We were tired primarily of the interference of national partisanship within the University, which had consequently tempered with the students’ expression of independence of thought and the overall incubation of leaders.

We had also observed the downward trajectory with regard to integrity and effectiveness of the SRC. This formed the foundation of The DSP.

  • What is your main focus?

Our core objective is to create an alternative student centric movement that prioritises the development of leaders and service to the students. We also hope to appeal to a broader student populace who are not interested in partisanship.

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  • Why did you not align with some of the parties within the UB?

Because we have realised that this alignment does not serve to protect the interests of the students. The relationship is not founded on mutual benefit. It is only effective, to the extent of swaying the political landscape.

In short we only see national political leaders during campaigns, endorsing people they rarely know and thats it. So we decided to form a new movement that will rely only on the contestation of ideas and eliminate the interference of national politics.

  • Coming up against Moono Wa Baithuti, long time winners, how was it?

As you would imagine, the campaign was very intense, especially given the fact that we were up against them. We spent sleepless nights strategising, and going on the ground to canvass for support. But it was also exciting, very exciting.

  • What will be your focus area?

Our tenure in office will be guided by five priorities, Employability and Academic Enhancement , Entrepreneurship development and commercialisation of talent, Student Welfare and Effective engagement with stakeholders.

I would love to appreciate the DSP’ campaign team, central committee and the students at large for their support. But also thank Mabaila for buying into our vision and supporting us with resources.

  • Any plans for holding a bigger office politically?

Well, I can’t say with certainty what the future holds but I certain of this fact, that I will continue to serve my community where I can. The DSP is a student movement and we have no interests of expanding outside. However, we have received request from students in other universities to extend our reach to them. Engagements are ongoing.

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