Voice of the people

I don’t ask for permission from anyone to speak out- Majaha

Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta, Paulos Majaha is one man whose deliberations in parliament you would not want to miss.

A Botswana Democratic Party member for 25 years and backbencher for the past four years, one can easily mistake Majaha for an opposition MP because of his open and harsh criticism of the ruling party.

In fact, allegations are rife that the BDP is working around the clock to replace him with former Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development employee, Lawrence Ookeditse.

The Voice Reporter, Daniel Chida interviewed the outspoken MP at Parliament buildings on Tuesday afternoon.

Your area has been flooded once again, what could be the problem?

Floods have been affecting my area for the past two years and I now want to bring an urgent motion for my constituency to be declared a Pro Floods area with the hope that international organisations would come to the rescue because government is not assisting enough. Farmers are mostly affected, as currently they cannot plough.

Q. Haven’t you considered relocating the affected villages to a safer area?

That would be an expensive exercise. What we can do though is have engineers make channels that can redirect the flow of water away from the village.

We can also make dams and harvest the water for future use. I once proposed for a dam to be built but the motion was shot down with arguments about human-wildlife conflict that were advanced against the idea.

Q. What can you say about service delivery in your constituency?

My area has been deprived of services, which is very worrisome. We don’t know what we have done to deserve such treatment from government.

I can say we have been assisted only five percent and we are behind in terms of developments, compared to other constituencies.

Q. You have been too vocal in Parliament to a point where others felt you are anti BDP, why?

I’m sent to parliament to articulate my constituents’ problems and concerns. Caucuses cannot shut me down.

The people I represent demand leadership and representation from that and me is what I come to parliament to do.

I don’t think there is anyone who can summon me for a disciplinary hearing because of my demand for answers for my people.

Q. What can you say about your relations with your rivals in the coming BDP primary elections (Bulela Ditswe)

I have a good relationship with all of them except one, Ookeditse. He is unethical and unfair in his campaign and he is allowed by the party to get away with everything.

When it comes to him the party applies double standards.

You have to ask yourself why I am complaining about only one rival when there are seven more people in the race, there has to be fairness and a campaign has to be clean but Lawrence doesn’t seem to subscribe to that.

I have reported him many times to the party leadership, but I have come to terms with what is happening and decided to let it go.

Q. What is it that you are planning to do, I doubt if you have let it go?

If he is going to win through dubious means then there has to be consequences that would hurt the party.

I want fairness. Out of the 60 councilors from Central District who contested for MP position, I am the only one who made it to parliament.

If I lose fairly then I would congratulate and support him.

Q. What if you lose and you feel fouled?

I have options. I don’t have to ask for permission from anyone to leave, I just do it.

I could contest as an Independent candidate. (Mokoko). I value my people and I will always listen to their suggestion on the next move if it were to come to that.

My campaign was not funded by anyone so I owe no one allegiance .My aim is to serve two terms and retire from active politics.

Q. What are your thoughts on allegations of corruption that have riddled your party?

I have been in courts for the past 10 years and those implicated must go to court just like me when I was a suspect in stock theft matter.

If you are a Minister and believe that our country is a shining example of Africa then you must resign and pave way for investigations. All the MPs are capable of being Ministers.

Q. What can you say about outgoing President Ian Khama’s performance?

He did what he could and we cannot blame him because he always tells Batswana that it was not his intention to join politics.

But when it comes to Presidential House Appeal, Ipelegeng, and RADS and going around getting first hand information, he did well.

However, if I were to rate his performance I would give him 60 % for the entire country and 20 % for my constituency.

Q. Who do you think is going to be the next VP?

It is not clear but if I were to choose, I would pick a woman. We had men in the past and I think it is time for a woman to lead.

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