They were newsmakers in their own right but have disappeared from the public eye.
Whatever happened to some of our well known personalities is the question on many people’s minds?
This week we trace four political bigwigs who shaped part of this country’s history to find out what they are up to and whether they have been banished into political wilderness forever or not.
A former political heavyweight, the last time Nkate made news headlines was over controversial remarks he allegedly made about President Seretse Khama Ian Khama to the Americans, which were revealed by the wikileaks cables last year.
Before then the once popular Member of Parliament (MP) for Ngami was quite often in the public eye as the Chief Executive Offi cer of the Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA), a position he assumed after he lost his seat to a political novice in the last general elections.
Asked about what he has been doing since he left the hot seat at BEDIA, Nkate who served government extensively as the former Minister of Lands and of Education said, “It is a cruel world and I’ll rather not mention what business I am involved in at the moment.”
On whether he habours intention of staging a political comeback and if he has plans to change his political home, Nkate said he would make an announcement at the right time which hopefully would be soon, adding: “I am BDP member (Botswana Democratic Party) through and through,”
Nkate was in Parliament for three consecutive terms and lost the seat to the Opposition in 2009. He was subsequently appointed BEDIA CEO two months later in January 2010.
He resigned his post at BEDIA 18 months later following allegations of corruption that rocked the organisation.
After many attempts we managed to finally make contact with the former BNF President, Otsweletse Moupo who is back in his home town,Selebi-Phikwe.
Once beaten, twice shy, Moupo has no intentions of contesting for any political position any time soon.
In fact he is taking a good and long rest after suffering humiliating defeats in previous general elections.
“I am attending to my personal matters. I have been in active politics for the past 32 years. I have played my part,” He said , adding that there are other younger and capable politicians who can represent Selebi-Phikwe West people and do a better job than he probably would.
Another politician whose silence in the political arena has been deafening is none other than Sidney Pilane, the founding member and former spokesperson of the Botswana Movement for Democracy.
A lawyer by profession, advocate Sidney Pilane told The Voice in a phone interview this week that he is now focusing on his attorney services.
“I have left active politics. I do not have the stomach for it,” he said
This is a revelation that may surprise many who remember Pilane from his early days at the Botswana Movement for Democracy in 2010 when he was the opposition party’s spokesperson.
He was often in the media attacking the ruling Party,especially President Khama for bad governance and lack of internal democracy, and preaching regime change.
Pilane was once quoted in the media saying 25 out of the 57 elected BDP members of Parliament promised to cross the fl oor to the BMD once everything was settled.
It however seems things never really settled and the MPs did not cross as expected but Pilane stated this week that, he remains a staunch BMD member despite all the challenges.
As the former President, Festus Mogae’s legal advisor, Pilane was once among the country’s most influential men. With the coming in of President Khama in 2008, Pilane lost the post but remained in the public domain when he and eight members of parliament among others defected from the BDP to form the BMD.
Another former MP who became a casualty of the 2009 general elections was Robert Molefhabangwe of the Botswana National Front who lost the Gaborone West South constituency to the ruling party.
He said: “I am looking after my livestock in Lephephe and I am planning to develop a small orchard and vegetable garden at Semowane lands in Nata area,” Molefhabangwe said.
Once an immensely popular political figure, Molefhabangwe has left the world of politics for business, establishing a large scale leather footwear manufacturing company in Gaborone. But in his own admission the project still needs capital injection and is currently struggling fi nancially.
“My project is next to the Central Medical Stores in Gaborone West Industrial site. It was funded by the Citizen Entrepreneur Development Agency (CEDA), but it needs more funds for it to function well,” Molefhabangwe stated.
He talked of how he lost grip of his business briefl y when his wife died last year and therefore suffered a couple of setbacks but he is currently on the come back.
“The business was interrupted by my wife’s demise which caused me to put a lot of things on hold to deal with the devastating loss and grief,” he stated.
Molefhabangwe lost the elections after a two-term period in parliament where he made a name for himself by tabling challenging motions that sought to expose corruption in government.
Soon after losing the elections he joined the ruling party, a move which many commentators say has spelled his political death as it left many of his followers wondering how genuine and how left wing he was after all.
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