I’m in it to win it,”says woman who entered the race last
Shirley Segokgo burst into the limelight in 1999 when she became Specially Elected Member of Parliament under the Botswana Democratic Party card. (BDP).
She then stood for elections in 2004, and lost to Olebile Gaborone of the Botswana National Front. (BNF).
She went off the radar soon after her loss only to resurface more than a decade later as an independent candidate (Mokoko) in the Tlokweng Bye- elections, to be held tomorrow (Saturday).
It is her diving into the bye-elections campaign pool at the deep end that has raised eyebrows and set tongues wagging with some pundits speculating that she has been paid by one BDP faction to throw spanners in the works for the BDP candidate, Elijah Katse and his faction.
Voice Staffer, Daniel Chida sat down with Segokgo at her house in Tlokweng for an interview.
Q. We know you as a member of the BDP, what happened?
I have not been active for a long time after the party sidelined me following my loss in 2004.
As time went on I got fed up of trying to belong to a party that didn’t seem to embrace me so I resigned this year in April, soon after I had declared my interest to enter the race as an independent candidate.
Q. Your move came as a shock to many and some are speculating that you were brought in by President Ian Khama to disrupt Katse’s campaign since the two are said to be sworn enemies, what is your take?
I can’t even remember the last time I saw Khama.
I don’t relate with him. Before I left BDP, I tried many times to seek audience with him (Khama) but I failed.
I wanted to show him my displeasure at being side lined by party structures but I just couldn’t get access to him.
I am aware of those allegations but they don’t change the fact that I am exercising my democratic right to contest. I haven’t been bought by anyone.
Q. Why didn’t you exercise your right to contest within the BDP primary elections instead of resigning from the party first?
In BDP, personality is given priority over capabilities, and one’s strengths, which is both disturbing and frustrating.
During my tenure as a Specially Elected MP, and after that, I was denied a cabinet position despite my hard work and capabilities.
I deserved better than what the BDP offered me.
If you recall during the 2007 BDP primaries I was supposed to enter into the race unchallenged but out popped out Elijah Katse and we lost the constituency to the opposition.
When you differ with party elders it is perceived to be rebellion but being an independent candidate gives me freedom and room to maneuver.
I am able to do what I want without fear of punishment.
Q. So are you entering the race to disrupt Katse’s campaign because of what he did to you in 2007?
No! Forget Katse please! I simply want to represent women and youth.
The former MP was a woman and I want to continue where she left.
People should know that I am not thinking beyond 2019, I just want to complete another woman’s job and what happens after 2019 is not too much of my concern right now.
If I had wanted to disrupt Katse’s campaign I could have joined the opposition because they have a big following in urban areas.
I also want to state that I am a close relative to the Katses and not related to Masego Segokgo at all although we carry the same last name.
Q. I haven’t heard anything regarding your rallies, how do you campaign?
I have my ways and my own strategies, which have nothing to do with rallies.
I don’t believe in rallies. I do campaign through text messages and social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
Rallies are like having big billboards around; it is just a waste of resources.
I lost elections before after wasting money on a big beautiful board in Tlokweng.
How do you fancy your chances?
Before I tendered my resignation, I had assessed the situation and arrived at the conclusion that people had lost faith in both Katse and the opposition and decided to step in.
Mark my words; I am confident that the last person standing after all the votes have been counted will be a woman.
Q: What is it that you feel to finish from where the former MP left off?
I am pledging 50% of my salary to youth, I am going to form a youth foundation.
I have a vision for Youth and Women instead of taking power and abusing money in foreign reserves like some people have been doing. Once elected, my office will employ youth in all departments.
I will also have quarterly meetings. I work by consultation (Ke bereka ka merero.)
I would be their messenger