Bus-tling to the top
DREAMING BIG: Talitha Monnakgotla

Transport mogul eyes parliament politically speaking

Well known for her thriving buss business, Talitha Monnakgotla will be hoping to help steer the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to victory in the imminent general elections.

The transport mogul is one of the few female parliamentary candidates to stand for BDP.

Talitha, as Monnakgotha is commonly known, will battle it out for the Kgalagadi North constituency with Phillip Khwai of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA caught up with the Kgalagadi’s new entrant, who happens to be an additional member of the BDP’s Women’s Wing.

This is what she had to say….

Q. You are a well-known and respected businesswoman, how did you end up in the murky world of politics?

My area has high unemployment rate and as one who was born and raised here I saw it fit to play a role.

With my business connections, I want to attract investors into the area to help in areas where I cannot.

Currently I have created employment for more than 200 youths in the area through my different businesses.

The other reason is to help my party BDP to grow and deliver its mandate of poverty alleviation and job creation.

Q. Which areas are you referring to?

There is a park, Mabuasehube, situated 80km away from Hukuntsi.

With some business acumen, the community can gain a lot from it.

People do undermine our area because most of the people here are farmers.

I have a mall here, which accommodates a lot of up-market shops and they are doing well.

Even me, when I started my transport business nobody believed that a bus from Gaborone to Hukuntsi could be filled with passengers.

Look at where we are now! I started the business because people were going into the bus with fuel containers, a thing which is hazardous on its own.

We also have to go into tourism, like the President has been preaching.

This area has lots of wildlife and can be turned into a tourism hub.

Q. It is noticeable that your party is short of female candidates standing for parliament, why is that?

The issue is about lack of funds and resources and as women we tend to struggle, especially where there are few or no resources at all.

There has been this notion that women don’t support each other but with me it is different.

Women from my constituency are very supportive and we get along very well.

I would also like to say a special thanks to my husband for his support.

You are contesting in a constituency where the opposition (BNF) is very strong.

Q. How do you plan to counter the threat of the combined opposition?

The area was a BDP stronghold before.

I suspect that the BNF took over because they had a better candidate than us and capitalised on that over the years.

Currently the MP is from our party; I will make sure that it does not go to opposition!

Most Bulela Ditswe losers didn’t take their defeats well.

Q. Those who didn’t defect are not supporting the winners. How is the situation in your area?

Remember Itumeleng Moipisi is still a Member of Parliament and a Minister who has other duties to fulfill.

Once he is free he will surely come and help me because at the end of the day we have the same goal, which is to see our party winning elections.

Again I advise other BDP members, losers or winners to unite and work together.

For example, I had been helping a lot in the area before I developed interest in contesting.

By doing that I was easing pressure on the MP and government so I expect him to help me too once he is free.

My campaign is going well.

Q. Your area, especially the farmlands, has a high record of underage pregnancies. How do you intend to combat this?

The area is dominated by the Basarwa tribe.

The majority didn’t take education seriously and preferred to work at the farms but the numbers are no longer like before.

Our social workers have played a major role in making sure that kids go to school, although it was a hard thing to do.

You have to take them step-by-step and not be too harsh on them.

Q. As a woman what are your views on prostitution and abortion? Do you think it should be legalized?

Some of these issues need consultation before you make a public statement, so I will reserve my comment.