“AP played a big role in my campaign” – Molebatsi
Following the death of former Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Isaac Davids, and a by-election was held over the weekend and Umbrella for Democratic Change candidate, Moagi Bright Molebatsi emerged the winner, beating Botswana Democratic Party candidate, Mpho Moruakgomo and Independent Candidate, Jafta Radibe.
This week The Voice Reporter, Daniel Chida talked to the tribesman who takes pride in being a member of the Mangana Regiment (Bakgatla’s Kgosikgolo Kgafela’s Regiment)
Q. Congratulations on your win, how was the campaign?
A. It was an expensive campaign since I was up against the BDP with all its might from government resources to campaign while we had to fend for ourselves.
They were buying voters and using ministers and other government officials in the campaign because they don’t have support in the area.
How do you distribute party regalia at funerals? It was a shameful campaign by the BDP but I couldn’t sit and watch them do that.
I had to dig deep in my pockets and use my savings for campaign.
What I know is that it is going to take me time to recover from that financially but I’m glad my objective to represent Bakgatla has been achieved.
Q. Do you have any road map of what you want to accomplish in the next 18 months?
A. Land use is priority. There must be allocation of land for applicants and it has to be done on time.
Those willing to change the use of their land must also be helped on time.
Why does government take time to assist people? I am going to fight that.
Water shortage in the area is another issue that I am going to address forthwith.
Q. But you have only 18 months, how are you going to achieve that?
A. There is never enough time and I have to work with what I have.
I have to do my level best to deliver on those promises.
Q.How is the relationship between Bakgatla and government?
A. We can say it is okay but not excellent.
The area is lagging behind in developments because of a strained working relationship.
As Mangana Regiment, we have managed to settle most of the Bakgatla Royal house versus Government cases out of court.
To be honest there was no offence that Kgafela had committed, e ne le seipatlo fela sa puso. (they were all trumpeted charges) He didn’t issue an instruction for people to be assaulted, he asked Mophato to help and bring order in his territory.
During our engagement with government, he asked us to stop as he was also negotiating but his negotiations failed and he asked us to continue with ours, a thing we will be doing again.
We want an assurance that the BDP government won’t arrest him when he comes back home.
Government must swallow its pride and iron out its differences with Kgafela.
Q.But there are allegations that he has been visiting you.
A. We cannot publicly confirm or talk about whether Kgafela has been visiting us or not because it may expose us, you know very well that he is wanted.
Q. During campaigns you spoke highly of Bakgatla’s Chieftainship, was that a strategy to win?
A. There is nothing good to say about government in Kgatleng because it is Bogosi that has brought all major developments to the village, not government.
However, Kgafela never endorsed me, I worked on my own.
Q. How was the support from UDC parties?
A. Since the elections were unexpected, one has to accept what the parties contributed and did the best they could under the circumstances.
Q. What about allegations that you were not the preferred candidate by the Botswana National Front leadership?
A. I did hear about those allegations but I never bothered to pay them attention because I was busy with the campaign.
Q. We saw Alliance for Progressives campaigning for you, how did that happen since they are not members of the UDC?
A. AP is an important part of the opposition and they played a major role in my victory.
It is an essential part of the opposition.
I may be saying this now but you have to look beyond today, what if we have a hung parliament in 2019 and there is need for an alliance, you will have to approach them.
If you are smart you cannot be throwing mud at AP because you will need them more than you realize in the future.
I do thank them for the role they played.
Botswana Congress Party members also did exceptionally well in the campaigns.
Q. You are talking highly of AP is that a sign that you may consider defecting?
A. No, I will not leave BNF, but recruit members to it. I need more members during 2019 elections.
It is good that we will not be going for primary elections, so my focus is general elections.