The hunger for freedom and change has forced a scribe to trade his pen and tools of trade for a political rally microphone.
Mmika Solomon needs no introduction. He was introduced to active politics by his friend and former Vice President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
He is one of the people who actively supported Motswaledi in his bid to challenge President Ian Khama in court.
Solomon spoke to The Voice about his determination to win the Mahalapye West constituency.
Q. Please introduce yourself, who are you?
My name is Mmika Solomon, born and bred in Mahalapye West. I will die and be buried there.
I was politically affiliated since 1999 under the ruling party, and belonged to ‘Barata Phathi’ faction, which is why I ended up in the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).
For a very long time I worked in the media reporting on a wide range of issues.
I recently left The Voice Newspaper where I was Political Editor.
Q. You were a friend of the late Gomolemo Motswaledi, can you briefly describe him.
Sir G was a very humble man; very honest. He was my brother and political mentor.
He mentored me even in life in general. We have travelled so many trips together and he always had a smile on his face.
He was down to earth and loved life the most. Generally ‘Sir G’ was very cheerful and was a loving person.
Q. You worked in the media for a very long time, how will this experience help you ahead of the general elections?
When you are a journalist you have the opportunity to learn about a lot of things, people and their way of live.
I have had the honor to meet so many politicians and shared idea with them. This puts me at an advantage because I know what is expected of me.
I have even engaged with some who were members of parliament for my constituency. I know their failures and I feel I can do a good job to lead our people.
Q. As a freshman in the general elections, why did you start with parliament and not council?
Politics has no formula. You can start wherever the people want you. Remember it was not my intention to stand for any political position but my constituents and the party leadership asked me to so.
Q. Then how do you fancy your chances of winning the elections?
I am certain of victory. If I wasn’t going to win, I wouldn’t have bothered contesting the elections. People of Mahalapye West want change.
They want development and they want their town to improve and better their lives. That is why they want me to be the driver of that change.
Q. What is that change that you will bring to the constituency?
I will bring infrastructure developments, job opportunities for the youth, creation of the market for entrepreneurs and Small Medium Enterprises.
I want Mahalapye to grow as much as possible to be able to provide a living for its people and other villages around it.
Q. In this quest for change, are in the same boat with your councillors?
Of course we are, and I believe they are standing a fair chance of winning. There are about 8 wards in the constituency and at the moment we are standing at 70% chances of councilors making it to the council.
Q. What about the remaining 30%?
We are alive to the fact that we have opponents and we cannot claim that we will white wash all the seats.
But our intention is that in the next two months we should try as much as possible to reach 100% assurance and that would require an extra hard work and sleepless nights.
Nevertheless we cannot claim ignorance to the fact that the constituency has been on the hands of the BDP for a very long time.
Q. Mr Solomon what is your impression of Botswana Politics?
It’s very unfortunate that we get into the politics when the game is being played dirty. Our leaders are dying mysteriously and everyone fear for their lives.
We cannot trust our neighbors anymore and we are not even free to talk on our phones. Botswana Politics is very scary at the moment.
Even myself I leave in fear but I have taken a bold stand to fight for change.
Even if I die next it will be worth it so that the future generation can live better.
Q. So as the UDC when you take over government, how will you ensure safety for the people?
As the UDC we are going to empower institutions not people or individuals. The law enforcement organizations will ensure the law is abided to by everyone.
The powers of the president will be reduced. The president will be accountable to the people not the other way round.
At UDC we believe the people are the ones putting us in power to govern this country the way they want not the way we want.
We will keep consulting the people on new policies from time to time and we won’t run the country as a one man show.
Q. As a UDC candidate, where do you feel the previous MPs have failed the constituency?
The current regime and their previous MPs have failed this constituency as well as the rest of the country in many respects.
For starters, countries like Botswana have been exporting jobs through diamonds, instead of creating them for the locals.
They have failed to protect interest of the small business man in my constituency, how do you get the Chinese man to come and sell socks here or big retail store to sell vegetables and compete with vendors?
Q. What will be your priorities in parliament?
I am a bit worried about land issues. I believe people have been robbed of their land.
How do you have one person having so many plots when on the other hand you are told there is shortage of land?
So the first thing that I will do is call for a land audit and those who acquired their land fairly will be left alone, but those that are suspicious will face the wrath of the law.
Q. In the end what can you say to the people of Mahalapye West?
Change has come. Embrace it because it’s the real change. Let’s fight for Mahalapye together so that it can be a town with proper road network.
I will also table motions that affect the people of Mahalapye directly. I will be the first Mahalapye West MP to table a motion in parliament.
Q. Thank you very much for the interview. Good luck in your campaigns.
You are welcome.
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