Anna Motlhagodi is not a fresh lady to politics. She has survived many political storms and lost three elections, but the unrelenting Motlhagodi is now holding the bull by its horns in the Gaborone Bonnington North constituency where she is contesting as a parliamentary candidate.
A famous lawyer in Gaborone, Motlhagodi believes it is her time to lead.
Q: Please introduce yourself. Who are you?
I am a qualified lawyer having attained my LLB from U. I am currently practicing as a private attorney. I also acquired an MBA in the year 2007. I joined politics in 1997 and never looked back. I was hooked. I was elected into the BNF central Committee in the July 1997 National Conference I was a founding member of BCP in 1998 and I became the interim Deputy Secretary General after its formation. I served as President of the Women’s League. I served In Botswana Caucus for Women in Politics. I was elected into the Central Committee in 2010 as Secretary for Legal Affairs.
Q: How is your professional background an advantage to your constituency as a leader?
As a qualified lawyer I will be adding value to parliament as parliament is where laws are made, amended and repealed and also the place where policies are made, amended and repealed. At times laws have to be interpreted and I will take someone with a certain level of appreciation of the law to make a contribution in that regard.
Q: Is it the first time you are contesting elections? How many times have you contested for this constituency?
I first contested for the Kgalagadi parliamentary seat in 1999 and lost to Mothibamele of BDP. I contested again in 2004 for a council seat in Boswelatlou ward In Lobatse where I was then resident. I contested for the Gaborone West North parliamentary seat in 2009 and lost to incumbent Robert Masitara with a very respectable margin. I am once more availing myself for election for the Gaborone Bonnington North parliamentary Seat
Q: When did you become politically active?
Q: Are you a capable leader?
If I may be allowed to blow my own horn the answer is a resounding yes. I believe I have acquainted myself very ably in politics and I have through patience and perseverance developed a lot experience. I have been equipped by my party through various training workshops, international travels and through observation picked valuable experience which has enabled me to grow, learn and develop as a person as well as a political leader. To be educated on its own is not enough. One also has to develop political astuteness and political wisdom.
Q: There are allegations that you don’t live in the constituency and come to it only during elections? Is this fair to the electorates?
It is neither here nor there where I live. In fact I am within a walking distance from my constituency. Just yesterday I walked on foot from my home to my constituency which is just across the road from where I live. This is unlike at least two of my opponents who both reside in Tlokweng. Mind you I did not traffic myself to my constituency. May I also add that not living in a constituency by contestants is not a new phenomenon it is a practice which happens across the political landscape in Botswana. The IEC laws allows parliamentary candidates to stand anywhere within the boundaries of Botswana.
Q: Does the fact that you are woman guarantee you should be voted into office?
There are no guarantees in politics. There are many dynamics at play. What I can say is that it would seem that the idea of electing women into political office is gaining momentum. I have during my house to house campaigns raised this with the electorate who are showing promising signs of taking me to parliament.
Q: Why should you be voted into office come October 2014?
I have a solid political track record. I have a record as a person who values democracy by participating in the democratic process by voting and availing myself to be voted for. I did not take a passive outlook but I took responsibility and committed my time, my energy and passion to politics to make a difference. Many people have tried to entice me by saying I would be more suited to be in the BDP but I have different ideas in terms of how to take Botswana forward.
Q: Since you do not stay in the constituency, are you conversant with the challenges facing your constituency? What are these challenges?
If there is one person who is very much alive to the challenges faced by the constituents of Gaborone Bonnington North it is me. I have traversed the length and breadth of the constituency on foot doing house to house campaigns. Many of the residents whose homes I have visited can attest to that. I have heard their concern first hand and I am competent to say the challenges are;
1)lack of storm water drainage in many parts of the area,
2) untarred roads especially in areas designated as SHHA,
3) lack of adequate street lighting
5)unemployment among the youth and idleness,
6)low wages resulting in a good number of people who can only be described as the working poor.
7)lack of affordable and decent housing especially for the low and middle income bracket
8)Declining standards of education.
Q: How do you plan to resolve them?
By making the relevant contributions in parliament through motions and questions and making my voice heard through campaigning and advocacy.
Q: The Bull and Bush road, any plans to have it opened to ease traffic for the residents?
I believe in the virtue of consultation. I will sit down with all stakeholders and map the way forward.
Q: Any last words before we part?
I can only ask the voters to take responsibility and on Election Day and come out in large numbers and vote for me as I have committed myself to selflessly represent them.
Thank you very much for the interview. We wish you success at the elections.
You are most welcome.