A media practitioner and publisher of a Farmers Magazine, Kwenantle Mookami Gaseitsiwe is Umbrella for Democratic Change’s candidate for Kanye North.
The Voice Reporter Daniel Chida sat down with the BNF’s Secretary for International Affairs as he tries his luck for the third time having lost in 1999 and 2004.
Q. What type of a politician are you?
A very patient cadre of the BNF who has no doubt his patience will one day pay-off when Batswana get the real taste of their fruits in the lands’ natural resources, proper education and lay hands on their beloved land.
I am a loyal cadre of the movement who is not a pushover.
I’m also very persistent when I believe in something and a democrat who bows to the wishes of the masses.
I would not shy away from expressing my position no matter how unpopular but quick to adopt a popular position.
Q. When did you develop interest in politics?
Upon leaving Kgari Sechele for Lesotho I was introduced to youth politics.
In Lesotho there was a high resistance on the leadership of Dr Leabua Jonathan who was seen as a mole of the South African regime.
As an SRC vice president I was tasked with harmonisation of students who were very militant.
Q. Apart from politics what do you do for a living?
I am a publisher, a farmer and businessman
Q. Why did you venture into that?
I have been a media practitioner for 28 years so it’s a natural process for me.
I was raised up in a farming environment and I have children to feed and I schooled my children in some of the best schools here and South Africa. All this is money I have to work hard for.
Q. What other projects are you involved in?
As a leader of Kgosi Malope II regiment I make sure that the regiment lives up to its promises to the tribe.
Kgosi made some declarations at his inauguration that he wants to see through and being his right hand man I’m up and running.
We are working on a project to build some kraals at the Kanye Show Ground that will assist Bangwaketse to hold their cattle.
We are planning to start a Kanye Market Day which will bring arable and pastoral farmers together monthly to sell their produce.
These kraals are funded by First National Bank.
I am a member of the Kanye Show Committee whose mandate is to resuscitate the Gangwaketse Agricultural show and to maximise the use of the 39 hectare piece of land owned by the tribe. I also work closely with the Bathoen Trust.
One of the projects undertaken by the trust is to build a cultural village at Mmakgodumo which has been partly funded by UNDP to the tune of P500 000 00.
We intend to develop the bird sanctuary at Mmakgodumo which was started by Kgosi Bathoen Gaseitsiwe in 1940.
I am part of a working team that will in future canvass for funding to build a stadium in Kanye.
One of the projects I am close to is to see the royal cemetery in Kanye reflecting the dignity of the tribe.
Q. How are you related to Bangwaketse royal house?
Under the name Gaseitsiwe there are three homes, Bathoen, Mookami and Ralekoko.
The last two are BoRangwane-a-Bogosi. I am a descendant of Mookami Gaseitsiwe so am Rangwane a Kgosi Malope II.
Q. What is Kgosi Malope’s stand in your campaigning for a parliamentary position?
Kgosi Malope II is my King and I have not established his stance but I what I know is he knows I am a politician.
I have been a politician for over 30years. Kgosi Malope was enthroned in 2012 finding me a politician.
I declared political activism more than 15years ago and Kgosi Seepapitso IV informed his tribe in a lebatla in 1999.
Q. You played a major part during his inauguration, what role is he playing in your campaign?
Malope is Kgosi and apolitical. I would not expect him to play any role.
Whatever role I played in his inauguration was my duty and shall remain. I serve at his discretion. I belong to his regiment and he commands it.
Q. Are you not using your relationship to him to your advantage?
I don’t know how I could use our relationship to my advantage.
We grew up together, we rode bicycles together as boys, we did all boys do together. So it’s not like we met when he became Kgosi.
We are brothers Rraetsho. My parents are his parents. I even have a daughter born in 1995 named Retse and Makhotso (Malope’s mom and grandmother).
Q. We have seen quite a number of those within royal blood going for opposition parties, why?
Royals are human beings and make choices like ordinary mortals, I have never heard of a royal answering for another.
Each has answers to questions put before him.
Q. How is the campaign going?
The campaign is going modestly well except finance. When we advocate for political party funding we mean it. It is important to afford Batswana the opportunity to listen to all political parties.
The playing ground should be even but currently its one sided as only the ruling party enjoys funding from its bank-rollers.
The government press is not affording parties and candidates equal opportunities. Batswana tend to think opposition are quite but they are not. Only that maximum visibility comes at a price.
Q. Don’t you think BNF court cases may work to your disadvantages?
Court cases are for lawyers and judges to deliberate on. We can’t wait for that.
Q. Looking at the time left before elections do you think such cases are good image for a new movement like Umbrella?
We pray there is no foul play and those responsible are not in the same wave-length with those trying to thwart the national project in the name of the UMBRELLA
Q. Between BCP’s Rammidi and BDP’s Raletsia who do you see as a biggest threat?
They are both threats.
They represent like-minded parties. Their difference is just colours of their regalia but in harmony they are one. Mind you these two gentlemen have since 2004 and 2009 been elected to push the Bangwaketse agenda for development but are just seated only to come running around election time for a vote.
Q. Had Rammidi stayed at BNF were you going to contest against him?
Rammidi knows too well that I had offered to make way for him when he joined us. I had offered to regularise his political career. In our party we believe in a two term representative because of the National Development Plan. When you enter parliament or council you either find the development plan midway or ending. Your second term will afford you a chance to contribute meaningfully.
Q. If elected what developments are you going to bring into the constituency?
Our mission is to decentralise the needs of our constituency.
One needs to harness the human resource in the area to come up with plans to take advantage of our cultural heritage for economic viability.
We need a hospital that can address the growing population but since the government has other priorities we have to stand up and find means of building our own hospital. We need sporting and recreational facilities.
We need to come up with employment creation initiatives for the youth. We need to create a data-bank that recognises the ability and talents of all our people and put them to exploitation.
We are not shying away from even coming up with our Gangwaketse Radio Station.
Mind you Kanye has always provided leaders in the radio, TV and print media for this country.
Q. Where do you think the past and current MPs failed?
I think those who are alive will write in their memoirs where they achieved and failed.
And those departed I pray they have lived to answer your questions.
Q. You contested and lost in the past, where do you think you lost it and how have you improved on that?
In 1998 the BNF went to war with itself and the outcome was seeing all cadres fleeing to the nearest tree.
I fled to the BCP and contested the 1999 election. I was beaten hands down more-so Bangwaketse took offence in decamping from my ancestral party.
I was punished because I did not consult my move to another party. Immediately after elections I retraced myself back home and was received with pomp. It’s water under the bridge.
Q. Which position would you like to occupy within BNF in future?
I have pledged my loyalty to the BNF and any mission I am asked to perform I will undertake it with pride.
I can’t choose where people want me.