Boko promises public they will soon see the real UDC POLITICALLY SPEAKING
Despite failing to oust state President, Mokgweetsi Masisi through a recent motion of no confidence, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko remains undeterred.
The Botswana National Front (BNF) President is confident he will succeed in his ultimate mission next year and topple the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) through democratic general elections. Boko told The Voice journalist, FRANCINAH BAAITSE-MMANA that the BDP should be ‘more than scared’ because he is coming after them, and this time around, he believes he has the support of the masses.
Q. What are your plans for 2019?
The plans for 2019 are to win elections! That will be preceded by organising the UDC and ensuring it is a united, solid formation going to the elections.
To mobilise cadres on the ground and across the country, to participate, establish structures that will coordinate the campaign across various parts of the country and also to mobilise resources to ensure that we run an efficient and successful campaign.
Q: What will your priorities be?
At the moment, our priorities are to have UDC intact, united and operating in uniform.
But going forward, to present a solid manifesto, policy offering to the people of this country and to ensure that we present ourselves as most credible and to enable them to appreciate what we are about and to realise we are the only hope for Batswana and this country and that the only decision they have to make in 2019 is to vote out the BDP and vote in the UDC.
Q: Are you saying your house is in order?
No, no, no, all is not well. How can I say my house is in order when there are voices of discontent!
We’ve got to be honest, we’ve got challenges in the UDC, we’ve got challenges in various political parties.
When you have brought together several families into one organisation you’ll have these issues.
Some of them I have called in the past ‘relational ambivalence’ but these things happen and we are now seized with trying to repair whatever huge damage has been caused by these problems emanating from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) for instance.
We have to deal with these issues and we are engaging with leaders of UDC member parties extensively, BMD, Botswana People’s Party (BPP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
Q: There are ongoing calls for BMD leader, Sidney Pilane to step down – isn’t this contaminating the UDC image as far as voters are concerned?
We are working on the BMD issue, very hard.
Anything that is negative and unpleasant said about any leader, sometimes even about members of an organisation, turns out to affect equity of an organisation.
So certainly calls for any UDC leader, Rre Pilane in this case, to step down, have serious repercussions for all of us.
Of course there is something we can do – we can engage and find solutions, how we can deal with it, the extent of damage it has caused and how we can dress the damage in a manner that helps us move forward, that does not break us even further.
If it was me, people calling for me to step down, and the voices were genuine, louder and damaging to the BNF, I would take steps to engage the party and find solutions.
Q: Looking at the present challenges, do you think you will successfully take UDC to victory in 2019?
Oh yes, I am just waiting to resolve these internal issues, then you will begin to see the real UDC.
You ain’t seen nothing yet, I am telling you.
Those who are sounding the nag-nam, will be disappointed, UDC is gonna shock them!
The campaign for 2019 is going to be a very solid, efficient, professional campaign.
It is not going to be your ‘Do it yourself’ type of thing.
We are not going to do generic politicking, we are going to do targeted approach of voters.
Addressing issues that are specific to their localities and their own families and life – that is targeted, precise!
So we will do precision politicking.
That is why we are confident because the tools to do that are available, they are ready.
We are more than ready and will mount a credible campaign.
Q: You recently told Parliament you are being funded with millions of Pula, who is funding you?
I am funding myself. But we have to keep these people (BDP) on alert.
I am happy I said that because they are now starting to talk about political party funding because they are freaked out.
They are afraid that opposition parties may become attractive to others who might help.
Look, there are people who fund democracy – George Sorrows for instance, long time billionaire ploughs his resources into open society initiatives, not to influence them but to fund democracy, to make sure that democratic institutions are strong and robust.
There are people out there whose interest is to ensure that there is democracy and competition and for that to happen there must be a healthy and fair competition of political parties.
Already you have one using state resources, public funds obtained through collusive deals, corruption and giving themselves unfair advantage over us, their competitors.
It is a rigged democracy and because of that, some people may be interested in making sure that the playing field evens out and may as well fund us, not because they want anything from us in return, but fair competition.
We will mobilise resources from our people as well, our people are willing.
Q: But you are said to be thin on the ground?
We are thin on the ground in terms of quantum people may give, but one or ten Pula given by many people goes a long way and to bit the BDP we don’t need millions.
I meet the people all the time, it is just that I am not dramatic about it! When I go, I go quietly.
I was embedded in Goodhope for a while, assessing the ground.
When I came out, I told Rre Molale that you are going to lose next elections because people are hating you, they don’t like you, even BDP members told me.
Where did I get it from? From Goodhope, because I was there, visiting people, having tea in their houses, chatting, not campaigning, going to funerals sometimes and weddings.
I went to a wedding in Tswapong and after that BNF registered more members because of my appearance at that wedding.
Q: I am told most of those who lost during the just ended BNF primary elections belong to your faction. What is your comment to that?
I don’t get involved in primary election or on who wins and who doesn’t and I don’t even know who had won and who had not.
I don’t know who is aligned to me and who is not.
I think all members of the party are aligned to the party and that is where the alignment should be really, not to individuals – individuals come and go.
I’ll serve my tenure as President of BNF, I am not the BNF.
Whoever is aligned to me has misplaced the alignment because the alignment has to be for the party.
Q: Recently you tabled a motion of no confidence against President Masisi. You were understood to be defending former Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) boss Isaac Kgosi. Do you think you were misunderstood?
I don’t think I was misunderstood.
I challenged the BDP to take action against Kgosi, to raise charges, to prosecute and even to do a forensic audit because then he will be able to tell his own side of the story and at that point it may not be very nice for many of them.
Because we want this to play out fully and finally, we say let them prosecute Isaac Kgosi and establish what wrong doing he committed.
Let us also remember that the Act that set up the DIS in which the DIS operated, which was passed by them, gives effectively unlimited powers to the Director.
So, whatever he did that may be wrong, he did with the powers that were given to him by that Act – an Act we condemned, we called for them to amend and evoke, but they refused, that is why I have spoken for days without number that it has to be dismantled.
The DIS as it is at present it is unrescuable situation, which is why when they appointed the new director, I said the situation is not about personality; the issue is not Kgosi or Magosi – what is so confusing about that?
The source of the confusion is total mischief because I have consistently called for the dismantlement of the DIS Act, which I believe was ill conceived and improperly structured.
It gives too much power to very few individuals within the constitution.
When we argued these things, you can go through my submissions in Parliament, my responses to the budget speech, to the state of nation address, you will see that I have consistently maintained that the budgetary outlays that go into the DIS could better be utilised elsewhere.
This was not informed by hatred against Khama (former President) or Isaac Kgosi – and the motion of no confidence against my good friend President Masisi is not informed by malice or hatred against him, he still remains my friend.
If any wrong were to be done in relation to him, I will speak against it and condemn the wrong, but I have to defend justice and justice means when you take certain actions against a citizen or human being you need to operate within the rules and processes of the law.
The central point is to call the BDP bluff, that your firing of Isaac Kgosi is not a solution. Please, you must account for everything that happened in the DIS, as a government you must account for everything that happened at the National Petroleum Fund and for everything that happened across a wide spectrum of government institutions.
That is what I am saying. Is that defending Isaac Kgosi? I don’t think so.
I think it is defending Botswana, defending the country, its honour and integrity.
Q: Is your law firm or your former law firm handling Kgosi’s case?
Firstly, I don’t have a law firm. You see this is the confusion that is deliberately generated.
I am an advocate and an advocate does not deal with individual clients.
I don’t have shares in my previous law firm and as far as I know, they are not handling Kgosi’s case.
Q: Where do you see Botswana in 10 years?
Where Botswana will be in 10 years will depend on the choices Batswana make.
If they make the choice to retain the BDP we will see more of what we have seen so far in the 52 years or so, more of the same mediocrity, same failure to generate employment, more of the same failure to increase people’s wages, more of the same failure to diverse the economy.
In fact it will get worse if they retain the BDP.
But if they make the right decision and install a UDC government, they will then give themselves the opportunity to get a fresh and very robust approach to job creation, service delivery and efficient and clean government because the levels of corruption in this country are astronomical, the amount of monies lost by government institutions and by government itself through corrupt and collusive deals, through impropriety, is huge!
If we close those holes that money is being siphoned out through and make that savings for the fiscal, then we will give ourselves an opportunity to apply those resources for the betterment of lives of the people.
We need to move into aggressive industrialisation, manufacturing, processing of agro products, start up venture capitals for agriculture production, make way for young people to access finance for investable resources like land etc.
Q: Do you see any possibility of coalition with UDC or BMD’s breakaway party, Alliance for Progressives (AP)? I am told you are in talks with its leader, Ndaba Gaolathe.
We do chat from time to time. There is always a possibility.
I am an ambassador of hope, you do something because it is the right thing to do.
For opposition politics a coalition is a good thing to do, so why can’t I do it with my friend Ndaba Gaolathe? It is a prospect that could be explored in good faith, the right way, at the right time.