Jostle for Moshupa-Manyana intensifies as Masisi nears Presidency
Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi is set to ascend to the highest office in the land at the beginning of April this year, when President Ian Khama steps down.
Masisi’s automatic succession to the Presidency at the end of Khama’s term will leave a vacant seat in Moshupa-Manyana constituency, where he has been serving as a Member of Parliament.
Two members of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Councilor, Lentswe Mosanako and regional deputy chairperson, Karabo Gare, are positioning themselves to fill Masisi’s boots.
FRANCINAH BAAITSE-MMANA has a face –to- face interview with both potential candidates.
Q: Is it true that you want to take over Moshupa-Manyana constituency when Masisi becomes the president?
Gare: I’ve got a profound desire to serve Moshupa-Manyana constituency.
When I joined active politics in 2015 after quitting from LEA (Local Entreprise Authority) as business advisor, many people assumed that I wanted to contest for party positions.
But I cannot deny that when I joined, I knew that opportunities will come and I may try my luck in any other position, from ward level upwards.
Nonetheless when I left LEA it was to focus on my business, not active politics.
Mosanako: What you should know is that the campaign has not yet begun, but if the party allows me to stand and I believe it will, I will contest for the by-election, that is, if they will be held.
When incumbent MP, whom we expect to vacate the seat to be the President, does so, then I will be interested in replacing him as the constituency MP.
Q: Gare, how did you end up in politics?
I was no longer working for a Parastatal, but under my own employ so I had time and freedom to participate in politics. Consequently I became very active in the BDP.
Q: Allegedly you are V.P’s favoured candidate.
Gare: I know allegation concerning Masisi’s support, but people must understand that I brought myself closer to Masisi solely to learn.
For instance, whenever he asks me to help out, I promptly do so because I know it is always an opportunity for me to learn from him and from others as well.
When you enter politics and you are eager to learn, you run after the people who have served in politics.
Masisi did not invite me to politics, but I like the way he does things, his administration and the way he conducts party.
Masisi is a disciplined man, he would not have any reason to discuss this matter when the party has not yet commissioned the campaign and he will never at any given time single me out to privately discuss the constituency.
Q: Mosanako wouldn’t you feel disadvantaged Gare and V.P’s friendship?
Mosanako: All I know about the Vice President is that he is the Party Chairperson. He was voted into that position in Tonota.
That he has friends does not affect party processes. If he is close to Gare, it is a personal friendship.
It is a mere allegation, but I cannot say it is not true because I don’t know who the V.P’s friends are.
What I know is that the V.P is a BDP leader and due procedure has to be followed.
If their friendship is political then they will be giving me political mileage because I don’t believe that the V.P, the party Chairperson, who preaches unity would expect us, his followers to protect him and give him support, can pick favourites from among us, but I cannot say the rumours are not true because people say what they want to say.
Q: How will their friendship give you political mileage?
Mosanako: People don’t like it when a leader favours some members over others. Even the BDP constitution does not empower the leaders to do that.
But as I have said before, I don’t know much about the alleged friendship between the two neither have I seen V.P give Gare favours.
Of course people talk and V.P as a human being, has a right to have friends.
I have friends as well, but at election time, I won’t put all my faith in friends.
Q: How well do you work with V.P?
Mosanako: I have worked closely with the V.P so much that I was always at his service.
I campaigned for him to go to Parliament. I sacrificed all my resources to help him win the favour of the constituents, during his first and second term campaigns.
After Bobby Tlhabiwe lost the BDP primaries to Masisi, I put all my resources and energy behind Masisi and supported him to his victory.
For a long time I worked with Masisi at political level, not personal. I know Masisi very well. He is very honest.
I have worked with him in hard times. If you recall the historic 2011 industrial strike, I was working very well with him then.
I stood for him and defended him when he was not around. We did many projects together, including poverty eradication projects.
Q: Being close to him, how has it helped you grow as a politician?
Gare: Politics is generally about leadership, being able to influence people to want to walk your way, to want to deliver.
What I have learnt from him is that he is able to influence people to have energy to deliver. He does that without intimidation, without force.
Team building is another thing I learnt from him. He operates with teams, he has that rare skill.
There are many things that I learnt from him, but these are the most critical.
Mosanako: I did not learn from him, but I can rather say, I know him very well. I know him extremely, if I may say so.
Foremost, Masisi is a man of his own character. He wants tangible results in whatever he’s involved in all the time.
That’s why many people do not understand him. When he was overseeing poverty eradication project, whenever he assigns you a task he expects prompt results, this is how I know him.
When you fail to deliver he would not hesitate to call you to order or demand answers. He doesn’t beat about the bush. He is brave.
If he has an eye on an opposition politician, he will approach such an individual and recruit without hesitation.
He practices what he preaches, hence his aggressive recruitment drive.
Q: Are you ready to take over Moshupa-Manyana constituency?
Gare: I am more than ready because I believe I have the right education and experience, politically and from the corporate world, to come in and make a difference.
I have been involved in many party activities and I was satisfied with results of my contribution.
Mosanako: I am more than ready. I have participated in many projects, which I cannot mention right now.
I have massive experience in political leadership; I have chaired the party at ward, branch, region, Sub District levels and the regional BALA (Botswana Local Authority Association).