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Racing against the odds

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Racing against the odds
WOMAN IN POLITICS: Mapula Phuduhudu

*I belong to Masisi’s faction- Phuduhudu

*She is up against three men in the race for Deputy Secretary General position

She has been a specially elected councillor for five years now, having been nominated in 2009 and served until 2014.

Though some may dismiss her as a lightweight in politics, Mapula Phuduhudu has been nominated twice as an additional member in the Botswana Democratic Party’s Central Committee.

She was part of the controversial team that got elected at a Maun Congress in 2013 before being selected by President Ian Khama at the Mmadinare Congress in 2015.

This time she is aiming for the Deputy Secretary General position which is currently held by Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi.

Not only will she be facing Kgathi, but also other candidates such as the former BDPYL President, Andy Boatile, and Louis Sibanda.

The Voice Staffer, Daniel Chida sat down with her.

Q. Welcome Madam, you are relatively known in the political scene, kindly introduce yourself to our readers.

I may not be that popular, but I have been in politics since 2008 after quitting my job as a teacher.

After teaching I did a lot of counselling around together with the late Log Radithokwa.

Counselling is something that I did at the University of Botswana.

Q. Ok, give us your political background.

After teaching, I was nominated by President Khama as a Special elected councillor for Selebi Phikwe Town Council where I established myself despite not having any ward.

I was then elected as a Secretary for BOMASE Region (Bobirwa, Mmadinare and Selebi Phikwe).

My work rate within the party was recognised and I was made an additional member of the Disciplinary Committee.

Q. How did you manage to settle so well and ascend to top positions despite being new in politics?

Although I am from Serowe, I grew up in Sefophe where I was groomed by former Vice President, Ponatshego Kedikilwe.

He is my mentor and I have learnt a lot through him. Even up to now I still go to him for consultations.

I remember when I had ambitions to contest for certain positions but got scared of factions within the party, PHK (As Kedikilwe is called) encouraged me not to fear anything.

He told me that factions were part of politics and encouraged me to find a team that I can join. Botlhogile Tshireletso is also my mentor.

Q. So which faction do you belong to?

I am going with my Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi. I have to endorse a vote of confidence in him as a party member.

Our VP needs a strong team that will work for him, not divisive people who will break the party.

Q. Who are you referring to?

I don’t want to talk bad about my rivals but instead concentrate on myself.

Q. How do you fancy your chances?

I welcome all my competitors, the more the better. This is an easy one; I am going to win it.

Some contenders are very divisive and always at loggerheads with party members.

That is something different from me. I am also coming up against young cadres who we should be roping in as additional members so that they learn from party elders.

Q. You are in the same team with Kgathi, how do you relate during faction meetings?

I have not attended any meeting with him. The thing is that I hardly attend meetings and I prefer it that way, I have always been a background worker.

Q. But how do you expect to be voted when you don’t attend your faction meetings?

I don’t attend faction meetings but I am lucky because I have support from both camps.

I am someone who is very good with ground work.

Like I mentioned earlier, some of the candidates’ conduct will make them to lose their votes and those people will be coming to my side.

Q.Why should democrats vote for you?

I have to be voted because I have enough time on my hands to carry the job of a DSG.

I also have experience since I have been in the central committee for two terms.

Voting for me means voting for hard work, discipline, loyalty and botho.

I am going to be the link between grass roots structures and the party chairman.

I want to revive one of our programmes called the ‘Party School’ and some of our structures.

A party has to be vibrant and sellable to electorates.

As leaders we have to stay away from controversy and be a good example.

Q: You are not in Nonofo Molefhi’s camp and there are rumours that you will also challenge him for Member of Parliament position in the next general elections?

I cannot comment on that now because it will be unconstitutional.

I am from Phikwe and I have ambitions to represent them in Parliament in the future but I cannot disclose my stand now.