Home Big Interview Top cop turned politician Kapinga speaks out

Top cop turned politician Kapinga speaks out

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Top cop turned politician Kapinga speaks out
OPTIMISTIC: Kenny Kapinga

Many will remember him from his illustrious career at the Botswana Police Service where he rose through the ranks from constable to deputy commissioner.

A Bachelor of Laws degree holder from the University of Botswana and a Masters Degree holder in Criminal Justice Studies from the University of Portsmouth, Kenny Kapinga is one top cop that many felt was denied a job he deserved as the commissioner of the police by the establishment because of his independent thinking.

Instead of ascending to the pinnacle of his career in the uniformed forces, Kapinga was redeployed to South Africa to take on an ambassadorial mission.

After months of speculations about his next move since resigning from the public service, Kapinga officially joined the Botswana Congress Party.

This week, Voice Reporter LEONARD MATOTA caught up with this man of the moment to find out more about his political move.

Top cop turned politician Kapinga speaks out
SHAKING THINGS UP: Kenny Kapinga

Q.Good Day Sir, how are you?

Well I am tired from running up and down, but besides that everything is fine. I can’t complain.

Q. You have recently completed your ambassadorial mission in Zimbabwe, how was the experience?

Being an ambassador has been a privilege because it’s one of those things that I had wished for as part of my life plan, especially towards the end of my career as a public servant.

I enjoyed my time in Zimbabwe than in SA. Zim is an interesting country with interesting people.

Q. This week the BCP unveiled you as their new member, why did you join Politics?

I joined politics because I had concluded that there are many things happening in our country that needs correction.

I figured that the best way to correct them would be through political advocacy and activism.

So I decided to join those that are already in there to add my voice and efforts to theirs.

Q. Were you attached to any Political Party while a public servant?

No, never! I have always been non partisan while in the Public service but have always had my own views when it came to political issues.

Also take into consideration the level at which I was serving, there was no way I could avoid engagement in political debates.

Q. Which party did you vote for while still a public servant?

I voted for different people; I looked at the quality of individuals presented by different parties in the constituency that I lived in.

I didn’t vote in a sense of beholding any certain party, I voted looking at individuals and the manifesto they are promoting at the time.

Q. There are other opposition parties, and the UDC did well in the last general elections, why did you choose BCP?

You see when I retired and went home for my own personal business; people approached me in my constituency, including the local leadership.

This was after the area MP defected and the constituents wanted to revamp the constituency leadership.

Q. Prior to your pronouncement, you have been touring the Okavango constituency, would you be standing for elections in 2019?

Of course I am interested, but whether or not I stand has not yet been decided.

It will be decided at the right time, through the right processes.

What I know for now is that the people have offered their unequivocal support and wanted me to join the party as soon as yesterday.

So when your own people request you, it’s very difficult to throw you hands at them and I’m also convinced that opposition cooperation is now unstoppable.

Q. Were you ever approached by any other party besides the BCP?

Yes, the ruling party once approached me while I was still a public servant and I turned them down because I wasn’t interested in joining mainstream politics then.

I was still very much pursuing my career

Q. Former BCP MP Bagalatia Arone defected to the ruling party, how are you planning on winning the people’s trust?

I can tell you that from the tour that I took, the BCP remains substantially intact in the Okavango region.

Yes there were those who were disillusioned and decided not to be active in party structures anymore while some decided to go elsewhere.

But the majority is still there and what is needed is to revitalise and revive the party structures in the region.

Q. All your life you worked as a public servant, what do you appreciate and what do you regret about the service?

I appreciate that the public service has been a pillar of the development of this country.

It has always been a committed partner of the government.

All this years the public service has been committed otherwise we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Now what I regret is what the current government is trying to do, which is politicizing the public service

Q. For the longest time you worked as a police officer, why did you join Botswana Police?

I spent almost 29 years in the police service because for me it was a calling, so when the time came it was easy to make that decision.

Q. You rose through the ranks from Constable to Deputy Commissioner, what was your strength?

My strength was the way I applied myself to my work.

I did my best in every assignment that I was given and it was visible to everyone that I was doing my best.

I believed in excellence that whatever I touch should be visible and the fact that I was passionate about the job, there was no way I could fail.

Q. What was your role while the Deputy Commissioner?

My duty was to provide leadership for the operational side of policing, which is the core business of the police service.

My duties included overseeing traffic, criminal investigations, forensic services and the rest.

Q.You almost made it to the very top. Why do you think you were deployed before becoming the Police Commissioner?

I think the President was not comfortable with the kind of person that I am or was.

I am one professional that would not be influenced by any other consideration except the facts before the law and me.

I believe that policing is there to protect the rights of the people and not intimidate them.

Q. How did you feel when you were appointed ambassador instead?

I was very disappointed, because given the chance I would have led a very visible and impactful transformation of the Botswana Police. I sincerely believe I would have turned the Botswana Police into something desirable and exemplary to the region and beyond

Q. Had you been given the chance to be commissioner, what would have been the first thing you would do within the service?

The immediate thing that comes to mind is that at the time the Police had a serious challenge with resources especially transportation.

So that is an issue that I would have vigorously tackled, because for police to excel they have to respond efficiently to reports.

Q. At some point you also trained with the FBI, how was the experience?

That was a life changing experience, in the sense that it helped to crystalise my ideas, as to what is needed to consolidate a capability of the police when it comes to investigative capabilities.

Q. What is your take on the increased intensity of security in Botswana?

We saw after 2008 an increased intensity of security but nothing really big had happened in Botswana that would suddenly call for that. So I have a problem with the fact that now security seems to the highest priority than the economy of the country

Q. So what did you make of your appointment as ambassador?

I was not appointed on confidence, I was just thrown into the deep end and expected to swim on my own.

It’s like it was a compensation for not being appointed commissioner and I was honestly not physiologically prepared.

But you what! I made the best that I could out of it.

Q.Why didn’t you turn down the offer?

Well I did not turn it down so that it would give me time to reflect on what has happened, plan my options more soberly and not in a rush.

Q You hold a Bachelor of Laws degree and Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Studies, any chance of private practice?

Yes, but I have not finally decided whether to practice in Maun or Shakawe because those are my only options

Q. Any last words that you would like to share with Batswana

What I want to remind Batswana is that this country is ours, Botswana belongs to all of its citizens, it doesn’t belong to any particular person or any particular party.

Furthermore we are given rights by the constitution not as a favour by anyone, so we should jealously guard them.

Thank God It’s a Friday, what are you up to?

We have a social event with one of the guys that we trained with at police, one of us is retiring.

So I am looking forward to joining my brothers and sisters at the farewell reception.