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RASINA SPEAKS OUT

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BITTER: Rasinah
BITTER: Rasinah

VOWS TO SEND MOTSWALEDI INTO THE WILDERNESS

Daggers are drawn at the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Party’s former national Spokesperson, Rasina Winfred Rasina, has vowed to see to it that the Party President Gomolemo Motswaledi does not retain his position at party’s congress next year.

In fact he believes that his party made a mistake by re-electing the current BMD leadership to power at its inaugural congress at St Josephs College in Kgale in 2010.

This is because Rasina is nursing emotional wounds which he says were inflicted by Motswaledi.

As the saying goes, a wounded buffalo is the most dangerous one and Rasina known in opposition ranks as the commander of ground forces, a plotter and lobbyist is out to make sure that Motswaledi loses at the congress because he has lost confidence in him.

Rasina was among the people who faithfully stood by Motswaledi during trying times at the ruling Botswana Democratic Party when he challenged President Khama at the high court after being suspended from the party as Secretary General and barred from contesting for the parliamentary seat in Gaborone Central.

Now Rasina believes that Motswaledi is not the man he thought he was. Feeling betrayed Rasina thought it best to quit his position and remain an ordinary member of the party.

In this week’s interview, he was not even addressing Motswaledi as Sir G, as he usually does. He only referred to him as Mr. Motswaledi.

How have you been?

I am good. I have been spending time with my family and I am just like any other young person trying to get a job.

I have suddenly found so much time on my hands.

So are you planning on taking your family out for a holiday?

I like travelling before or after the holidays. So I’ll be home with my wife and kids.

Okay. Now lets talk about your resignation.

Yes, it was a very painful decision for me. It was very difficult but unavoidable. I came back from the Palapye leadership forum a wounded man.

I hoped that things would get better, but they got worse with every passing day.

I tried holding on as much as possible in the interest of the nation and the collective, but ultimately I reached a point where I could not move on anymore.

Sounds bad. It must have been a gaping wound?

When in Palapye, I presented my worry, which I had been having about the position of Publicity Secretary and no one took me serious.

I was telling them that the position in question is not provided for by the party constitution and the Secretariat.

Therefore I was operating in a vacuum. I was not in any party structure.
I told them I was not comfortable operating in a vacuum and I was told that it was okay for me to continue operating outside party structures.

The President of BMD specifically told me that the position should not be recognized in the party structures  “gore ke tle ke romege” (so that the party can effectively use me).

This is the man who shattered me more. I was hoping for protection from this very leader but instead he broke my heart. I was very shattered.

I was even more shattered when he told me that I wanted to sneak into the National Executive Committee (NEC) through the window. I was shocked.

I was not aware that people who were co-opted in the committee were put in through the window!

Q. Where was that coming from?

I don’t even know.  I just recall that there was a time when we were at the BMD office in Gaborone when the same leader told me that I was not a member of the NEC.

I mean, he did not have to remind me that! I knew I wasn’t.

These small things he kept saying over and over pushed me to a point where I felt it was just too much.

When in Palapye I told them that “look in the constitution there is a position of Secretary of Information and Publicity that has never been filled, so since I was already doing the job, why not change my position to that one, so that I can be covered by the constitution.

” They said they wanted to give it to somebody else. Well there were a lot of factors, which were ultimately push factors.

The seminar was in July and you hanged on until December. Is there an explanation to that?

The thing is when we returned from Palapye I never really took an active part in the party, but I was trying very hard not to show it.

I did what I had to do but I was virtually not interested. I did try to talk to Motswaledi after Palapye.

I told him that I came back a wounded man and that I had not healed.

I don’t think he took me seriously. I spoke to several other party members about my concerns and told them that I was not happy at all.

I kept hanging on but I was burning up inside and wondering what was going on.

You quit at a very critical moment when parties are intensifying campaigns for 2014 general elections. Don’t you think this would harm the Umbrella for Democratic Change?

I wanted to quit before the UDC launch but as I spoke with my colleagues we decided that the action would destabilize the launch as it would look as if I was jeopardizing it.

Actually I would have quit much earlier and colleagues said I should wait.

I could not quit immediately after the launch. But ultimately I had to let go. I had to let go of the position before “e ntentsha party,” (it spoilt my love for the party).

I had a fear that a party post would definitely cause me to dislike the party and I decided to leave before that could happen.

I chose to be an ordinary member of the party so that I can partake in whatever party activity I can take part in.

So you would not be as active in party activities as we know you?

Yes, like an ordinary member I am not in any party structure so I don’t have any obligation to do some of the things I used to do.

I am told you are planning to rejoin BDP.

When I resigned people said I was going back to the BDP.

What frustrated me most even up to this day is that BMD members particularly top BMD leaders are the ones spreading the rumours that I have joined Domkrag (BDP).

This thing is not coming from the BDP, not the BCP, but the BMD itself. This is insecurity of the highest order.

Why do they have to think that when someone leaves a political post, it means he has left the party as well? These people present the BMD to be a very insecure organization.

When you posted some song lyrics about your coming home on Facebook, it did not help the situation either. I think it fueled the speculations. Why did you do that?

The Tombales are my cousins by extension so we had a family gathering over the weekend in Bobonong.

I needed time out just to go to a different environment, to breathe, to be with family, relax, chat at social level and on my way back, I posted the lyrics of a song which was playing on radio that I am coming home.

People started interpreting it to mean that I was going back to the BDP. That made me realized again that we have really raised a very insecure institution.

Winfred
Winfred Rasina

BMD members leave in fear that some people would leave the party.

So what I am calling for is for BMD to find out why its members live in this kind of fear, why are people leaving and why is the party so insecure!

For example people are now blaming me for hanging out with BDP and BCP members.

BMD lost many members and most of them if not all went back to BDP. Do you blame the BMD leadership for that?

Yes I entirely do. I believe that when people leave the organization, it is very important for the organization to introspect and check where they had gone wrong.

The leadership of the BMD has never sat down and said, “Why are we losing members?” There is this thing called “good riddance”, which is a very bad habit.

You cannot continue saying good riddance about every member that leaves the organization. Surely there is something wrong within the organization.

The people who leave the organization are not wrong, the problem is within the organization. The organization is not solving the problem.

Shouting good riddance and “aeye” is not going to solve the problem. It is only clouding judgment and reality.

The BMD has to identify the problem and the problem lies with the leadership.

All right then. Are we likely to see you contest for political office in 2014?

When BMD goes to congress next year I will not contest for any post and what I am certain about is that I would campaign for certain people who I think would take our party to greater length.

When we put people in at the Kgale Congress, we did that because they were in the interim committee, not because they had any special values.

In the next elections we would elect people basing on capabilities. I believe we made mistakes in Kgale and we have to rectify them in the next congress. We need a more vigorous and robust leadership than never before. We need to look closely and scrutinize our leadership. We need revolutionary leaders in a true sense of the word. We don’t need rhetoric leadership now. We needed it two years ago, not now.