“Joining the BNF is one of the best decisions I ever made in my life”
Politics is not a game for the faint hearted. For Moeti Mohwasa to have survived the storms that engulfed Botswana National Front (BNF) as its spin master was not easy.
He has stood the test of time as a loyal party member and served both BNF presidents diligently . He talks to DANIEL CHIDA about his interest in Selebi-Phikwe West constituency as a parliamentary aspirant.
Q. Please tell us why you chose an opposition party?
I was from a football game with my brother and friends on a Sunday morning when we found ourselves at a BNF rally which was held at Kagiso ward addressed by Kenneth Koma, Mareledi Giddie and James Olesitse around 1977. BNF as an anti-system party attracted me which lead to my joining it. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
Q. As a spin doctor for both BNF and UDC what has been the biggest challenge so far?
My challenge so far has been making sure that I bring the interests of the BNF first before my personal interests. At times when I convey decisions of the party, some take them as mine. In some cases as a disciplined member I defend such positions as if I was advocating for them.
Q. Why did you contest for a leadership position in the party after you had made it public towards the Ghanzi Congress that you won’t be available?
Yes I announced that because I wanted to give the area that I have so much attachment to the desired attention. Selebi Phikwe with its serious challenges suffers from absentee political leadership. My intention is to make sure that the people of Selebi Phikwe enjoy having able representatives in parliament. I also wanted to give other comrades a chance as I have been the Party’s spokesperson since 2005. However due to pressure from Comrades who felt that my not being in the Central Committee might lead to loss of institutional memory, I succumbed and accepted nomination.
Q. There were reports of you not getting along with some of the BNFYL members, what was happening?
I don’t know where that comes from. I am always guided by the party traditions, constitutions and regulations in doing party work. This is what brings us together and guides how we relate as BNF members. To hold different views does not mean you are not getting along. I am constrained to comment beyond this as what you are raising is mere gossip and speculation.
Q. Are you on talking terms with the BNFYL members or you are faking a relationship for the sake of the party?
I talk to everyone in the party.
Q. As a Journalist, I’ve seen that the same person who praises you today attacks you tomorrow. We all know that. Why has the BNF been experiencing some internal fights?
What you are referring to are essentially political conversations and a hallmark of a mass democratic movement. While the BDP government want us to follow blindly and sheepishly, we encourage our members to express themselves within the constitution, rules and code of conduct of the BNF. We want them to be free to question the leadership since the leadership accounts to them.
Q. What do you think could be the cause of such conflicts?
I cannot comment on what is largely some section of the media’s creation. Our media has allowed itself to be used. Though we have been the biggest victims, these shenanigans will not damper our commitment to press freedom. Some of these conflicts are Media’s creation and some of the journalists are being used unaware.
Q. Please clarify the position of the BNF regarding UDC?
We resolved to be part of UDC and that stands. I take it that your question is influenced by the stand of the Temporary Platform which has written to the Central Committee. Their position has been deliberately distorted. We understand them to be saying, “We have a point to share with you as leadership to enhance the viability of the Umbrella”. That is if we go by the letter written to the party. It is also the position of the leadership that this is temporary and they will disband after the matter has been dealt with. As members they have a right to be heard.
Q. UDC lost the Francistown West bye-elections what exactly transpired?
Though we are still to get a report, my view is that we did not exert ourselves adequately. The primary elections fatigue had its fair share. Of course lack of resources also had an impact.
Q. Do you think BMD and BNF did their best in supporting the BPP candidate?
In the circumstances we tried. But let’s face it, we could have done better. We should do better in the future.
Q. BCP President says he wants to meet your president what is it that they are going to discuss?
We are still to hear from him. The way he communicated this position however is worrying and we hope that this is not a case of brinkmanship, political gymnastics and point scoring. If there is formal contact we do not expect it to be with Duma Boko but with the UDC and its structures.
Q. Would you say there is still time for the BCP to partner with UDC for the coming general elections?
I cannot rule it out completely. The position of the UDC has always been that if the BCP wants to work with other opposition parties, the door will always be open for them to rejoin the Umbrella. The BCP knows what to do.
Q. With a number of court cases that the party is going through do you think your party will make it to elections as a unit?
Why not? I never thought the rest of the media will be so gullible as to allow a few who are bent on destroying the BNF deceive them. There is peace currently in the BNF.
Q. How is your campaign going?
My campaign is progressing well. I have been well received by members of other parties as well. I probably did not do well in the last elections because though a resident of Selebi Phikwe, I spent too much time in Gaborone attending to party matters. This time it’s different. Secondly the voters said my turn will come.
Q. As someone who grew up in Phikwe, what do you think should be done to save the town from being a Ghost town?
Land should be serviced and made readily available. This will boost the construction sector which is able to create a lot of employment opportunities. In as much as we need investors from outside, I believe those who are already in the town should not be ignored. The Airport, Hospital, Stadium etc should be upgraded. I welcome the Polaris II project by BCL. The road directly linking Selebi Phikwe to Francistown should be constructed. The “backline road” should also be tar-marked as it will help boost tourism and agricultural production in the area.
Q. In case you win elections what is it that you are going to do?
What is needed is regular interaction with residents so that we can face challenges together and come up with solutions. As long as you consult and interact with them, nothing is impossible. Lastly I would like to encourage the residents of Selebi Phikwe to go and register in large numbers.