Frank talk with Kentse Rammidi

Kentse Rammidi is a politician who needs no introduction. He cut his teeth in politics in 1999 after being inspired by the likes of Daniel Kwelagobe, Festus Mogae and many others in the Botswana Democratic Party.

A few years down the line, the fire brand former Member of Parliament dumped the ruling party for Botswana Congress Party, his current political home.

However his political career seems to be fading though he disputes that, arguing that people now seem to judge politicians based on their verve or lack of it on social media. He chats with Voice Journalist, Onneile Setlalekgosi.

Q. There is an upcoming Kalakamati ward by-election, do you think the opposition will win?

I have no doubt that BCP and UDC (Umbrella for Democratic Change) numbers will add up to grant the opposition victory.

I have seen the resolve of people from the two parties wanting to work together and I think it will also enhance our talks.

I am happy with our performance in the past by-election, it proved that if the opposition becomes a united force victory is certain.

Q. There is talk that BCP is on its death bed, your take?

I don’t think the party is dying, the focus of the BCP is more into the future of politics in Botswana so talks with the UDC are taking most of the BCP’s leadership time.

And remember we managed to win a re-run in Moshupa, we won a by-election in Mochudi and we recently retained the Ramotswa council seat.

To me those are not signs of a dying party.

Q. Talking of the unity talks, they seem to be stalling. When are they likely to be concluded?

The unity talks are progressing very well, but obviously there are delays caused by other commitments such as the Kalakamati ward by-election.

The unity talks were structured in a way that there are bottom streams that deal with brainstorming and formulating the talks then make recommendations to the negotiation team.

Bottom streams are about to complete their work, those who consulted the constituencies are already done and have submitted their report.

It is a process but the talks should be complete late November or early December.

Q. At a recent rally in Kanye , Vice president Masisi urged you to come back to the BDP, should we expect any surprises?

There is nothing worth going back to the BDP for.

They have not offered me anything as a party but the runners claim that there is a job waiting for me if I retrace my steps.

But like I have said I will never go back to the BDP.

Q. I know you as a feisty politician but you now seem to be the shadow of your former self, what is going on, why the change?

People say I am no longer politically active because I am not into social media.

I have observed the context of social media in Botswana and I think we have reduced it (social media) to pettiness as issues are not discussed objectively.

Social media can derail the unity talks as some members of the political parties are often at each other’s throat on Facebook and Twitter.

Social media does not enhance one’s political status. Otherwise politically I am very active as I played a role in all the by-elections that were held.

People often think I am not active in politics because they feel my absence on social media.

Frank talk with Kentse Rammidi
HOPEFUL: Kentse Rammidi

Q. If the BCP becomes part of the UDC and you are not allocated a constituency, what will you do?

The cooperation talks are bigger than any individual in any political party.

The issue is not about who will contest where but putting up a united force of the opposition that will bring in change of government in 2019.

We are working on this for the benefit of all Batswana.

Q. Now let’s talk about the electronic voting machine, (EVM) why is the opposition so against this system?

It has been documented in many countries that the machine can be tempered with.

It is the duty of the government to address suspicions about the EVM.

There are ulterior motives by the government in bringing the machine.

The opposition should be resolute, and not participate in 2019 general elections if the government insists on this system.

What is the point of participating in elections that are already predetermined?

Q. Lastly, what concerns you most about local politics?

Having been outside parliament, I spend many hours driving around and I have seen many young people roaming the streets.

Majority of the youth are unemployed and sadly that has not been fully addressed, instead the parliament has passed laws that are not adding value to the social being of Batswana.

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