‘I did it for the party’ – Motsaathebe
Last week, Kenaleone Fankie Motsaathebe shocked many when he announced he would not be contesting for the Goodhope/Mabule constituency at the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Primary elections later this month.
The amiable 41-year-old was expected to stand against the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Eric Molale.
His surprising decision to step down and pave way for Molale was met with mixed reactions from the public.
Many believe he was forced beat a retreat, with others insinuating he was paid off.
The former BDPYL Chairperson has courted controversy before, threatening to take the party to court following his loss to Molale in the build up to the 2015 bye-elections.
This week Voice Staffer, Sharon Mathala caught up with the new Goodhope/Mabule Campaign Manager for an interview to set the record straight.
Q: Your decision to step down from the BDP Primary elections came as a shock to many – what were you thinking?
I don’t expect everyone to understand now what my decision means and what it could do but in time people will understand.
Although people still differ on it, the response is fair. Democrats understand that we have their interests at heart.
It took me a couple of months to come to this decision – that is why I say it will take time for people to understand it too.
Q: What’s your response to allegations that you were forced to step down?
President Ian Khama was not happy after we lost the constituency to the opposition and the leadership decided that we work on a compromise deal.
Back in May, the President, together with his team, visited the constituency and gave a directive that we all be locked up in one room until we come out with a compromise deal.
So you can see that I was not forced but did it on my own.
I am looking at the bigger picture for the BDP, which is victory for the party, irrespective of who is the candidate.
Q: But some still believe you were the stronger candidate.
There is no stronger candidate, there is a stronger party! If the BDP is strong and has stable structures then we will win back the constituency – you must remember the BDP held that constituency since 1996 to 2013.
My interest is to see the party winning it back. The issue here is not about individual glory but the party.
Q: Nevertheless, your decision came as a disappointment to the youth, especially as you were likely to increase their numbers in Parliament. What are your thoughts on that?
Like I said, the main focus now is getting back our constituency irrespective of the representative.
I have been a youth leader and I still advocate for youth representation in Parliament but that is not the priority now.
Q: You sound confident that the BDP will win back Goodhope/Mabule come 2019?
Oh yes! I am convinced because we are working very hard to strengthen the party in all areas.
A more united BDP is victory guaranteed. Constituency by constituency, we are gaining more strength.
Q: Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi is a few months from becoming the President. Do you think he’s the right man to steer the BDP ship to victory in 2019?
He is a great leader who I have worked with very closely.
I was amongst the speakers during his launch back in 2009.
He is a hard worker, who listens to different views, a committed Democrat.