The Voice Reporter Daniel Chida tracked down Reaboka Ren Mbulawa, the man who has shown the guts to take on the much feared Batawana Paramount Chief, Kgosi Tawana Moremi at Maun West Constituency.
The Botswana Democratic Party parliamentary candidate is one of the few BDP members who were unopposed during Bulela Ditswe. Below is how his interview with Chida went.
It is very rare to find someone from the BDP standing unopposed since the winner is often guaranteed a seat in parliament, how did that happen?
Hard work is the key. In life I learnt that hard work and perseverance always yield success.
Voluntary desire and being there when the party needed me the most is also part of the ingredients in the outcomes as you have noted. Nothing comes for free and in God we trust so it shall come to pass.
But You are not a heavy weight in politics, what is it that scared your colleagues from challenging you?
Hahaha! Who decided I was not a heavy weight?
I believe one knows the weight of an individual by either an election or the deeds within any political Party.
I might have not gone through an election yet but I believe I am quite a force to reckon with politically.
You have been a quiet member of the party who is relatively not known, what were you doing all along?
People from Chobe will tell you that when the late Ducan Mlazi took the Chobe Parliamentary seat I was still instrumental back then.
I nearly participated in the 2009 elections as a candidate in Maun West but decided to give way for Kgosi Tawana Moremi to stand.
I was supposed to have run against Ronald Ridge but then when the Chief showed interest I decided to support him by then. In the mean time I was building up my businesses and working for my Party.
Elections are around the corner yet some people still ask who you are, why?
I come from Komana ward and my mother comes from Kubung ward while my grandmother comes from Boyei ward and my grandparents are originally from Mabudutsa in Kgosing ward. I grew up in Bombadi and Thito wards and that is where my mother’s home is.
Simple logic will dictate that I have mentioned five of the total 10 wards that I am affiliated to. These are my people and they all know me from childhood.
In the coming elections you will be coming against your Paramount Chief in Kgosi Tawana Moremi, how do you feel?
I feel great and honoured. To tell you the truth it doesn’t shake me a single bit. He is just an opponent.
It does not change anything under the sun as he is just a political opponent. It’s as simple as that. I have never had sleepless nights because to tell you the truth I do not feel challenged enough at all.
Do you fancy any chances of beating him?
I can beat him ten times over if I want to.
Look I was supposed to challenge him at BDP primaries should had he stayed with the party.
I wonder if it ever occurred to you that he might have left BDP because of the challenge that was brewing when I started showing my interest to stand against him.
I was sure I would beat him at the primaries,which would have made it far easier as he had lost touch and the party could not stand to have him have a second term anyway.
I have enjoyed tougher challenges and I am not threatened by anything in this world.
What could be Tawana’s weakness?
He has not addressed Foot and Mouth disease apart from blaming the Government yet doing nothing about it.
I expected a lot from him when I campaigned for him in 2009. Moreover I do not believe in blaming the government and creating unnecessary tension to gain political mileage.
This in itself is quite weak and dangerous to the innocent and unsuspecting people. He has not lived to our expectations apart from disappointing people by first abandoning Bogosi and later crossing over to BMD without the electorates’ concern.
In case you win don’t you think some people will say you betrayed their chief?
People’s lives and the future are at stake here and somebody has to come to their rescue and unfortunately or fortunately depending on which side you look at it, I am that one person.
I represent the BDP and this has nothing to do with chiefs and betrayal.
Those that will vote for a person that has shown so many times that he doesn’t have what it takes will have betrayed the people the most.
I am accountable and if Ngamiland needs a ‘gladiator that will defy the emperor ‘for greater good so be it.
I am that one person and I am a fighter with no regrets at all.
In case you lose do you think the Batawana community will treat you with the same respect like before?
One earns respect .I have earned my respect first before I showed interest in being the voice for my people. Nothing will ever change.
In fact I will be at peace with myself than ever before.
What is it that you have done that can be to your advantage in the coming elections?
I am the first person in Botswana to Honour Amantle Montsho with a token of appreciation from Maun when she started breaking through. I honoured all achievers that come from Maun , the likes of Juby Peacock, Stiger Sola , HT, Glody Dube to name a few, at Rileys Hotel in an event dubbed ‘ Honour The Greats ” to acknowledge their efforts in building our name.
In a rare sponsor avoided by many I indeed sent Thabiso Maretlwaneng to New York for his achievement in filming.
This opened doors for him as a son of the soil and now he owns Dee Zone. I built a bridge in Shashe- Sephote at a cost of P 200 000.00, providing water tanks in Botshabelo and Shashe.
Were some of those projects part of the campaign strategy or what?
Nothing has been part of the campaign. It might have coincidentally been relevant but I don’t bet on Party colours when I help the community.
In case you lose will you continue with that type of generosity?
Of course I will. I will give back until my heart stops beating.
This is an agreement that we made with God. It has nothing to do with politics.
I am a strong believer and I do not lack faith at all.
What kind of developments do you want to bring into your area?
Turn Maun into a multimillion Pula town driven by Agro-tourism.
A small hub of that sort will be internationally recognized and my people will be the first to benefit both in Agriculture and in Tourism. We need to expand the back yard gardening to bigger projects.
How are you going to bring those developments?
Generally entrepreneurial skills and a clear vision as well as research will be monitory. We have seen other places like Dubai rising from dust to multimillions of investments.
I am that person who will take my people to greener pastures.
The poverty levels in Ngamiland have become so unbearable that it is time a good quality leader like me sacrifices his time and energy to save the day.
The issue of FMD, how are you going to address it?
My wish is to see an FMD free Ngamiland. I intend to educate people firstly, create buffer zones between wild animals and farmers and call for the ownership of the buffalo fence.
It is only when communities have total control and when they benefit from the ‘conflict’ that they will appreciate the conflict and take charge.
Ngamiland people complain that government is intending to kill Agriculture for Tourism and you are in tourism, how are you going to address the issue?
There are just so many conspiracy theories that are nothing but lies .Of course people always need someone to blame for their social ills.
Indeed there is a heated conflict between tourism and agriculture and I happen to be from the best of all worlds.
You are close to President Khama yet you were never a soldier, how did that happen?
I know a lot of people have always said we are friends because I was a Wild Life officer and having common interests with the president in conservation and discipline matters.
These are all however mere assumptions because no one has ever seen me with the President except at party dinners and functions. Of course I would fancy such friendship as friends determine much of who we are.
I however trust his judgement and when I talk about him in any podium people believe I am very close to him on personal basis but the truth is we can’t really be said to be friends.
Reliable sources have informed us that you have been assured of a seat (special elected) in case you lose, how did that happen?
That is rubbish; it is nothing but street talk and unfounded rumours that are not true. Such things do not happen in the BDP anyway.
Besides I said losing is not an option, I seriously want to go to parliament I will get there all by myself anyway.
Voters have a tendency of milking politicians and then go on to vote for someone different. Are you aware of such a scenario?
I think people have to understand that in life we have choices that we have to make and live by. It is quite simple; you don’t just give when there is nothing to give.
Moreover no one is forced to give handouts unless you have enough for your needs or you have the heart to just give. Only those that give to buy votes will regret losing. People should vote for merit and quality leadership.
Good luck with you political ambition Mr. Mbulawa.
Thank you sir and have a blessed day.