Out of the shadows

AP’s Maun West candidate confident of victory

Political parties in Maun West are stepping up their efforts as the countdown to the general elections hits the five-month mark.

Although it is way too early to predict who will emerge victorious at the polls, the main battle is expected to be between Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

However, the Alliance for Progressives’ (AP) MoalosiSebati is confident he can pull of an upset.

Sebati, who is the purple party’s Deputy Secretary General, will be taking on political heavyweights DumelangSaleshando (UDC) and ReabokaMbulawa (BDP).

Despite the daunting task ahead, Sebati remains upbeat and tells FRANCINAH BAAITSE-MMANA why he believes he will triumph come October.

How is the campaign going? People tell me the contest is between Saleshando and Mbulawa and you are just a sideshow?

The campaign is going well. I don’t know which people are being referred to here, because it is Maun West people who have to do the talking and they will express that in October through the ballot.

Before then, no one can profess on the true view of the electorates.

Our focus right now is to go to the people, involve them in all we do. We have visited all ten wards in the constituency so far.

AP is still relatively new, how have you been received in the region?

Before the AP presidential tour, I was in Ditshiping ward. The reception is good.

People have been longing for AP, for an alternative party that can take over the long rule of BDP.

They want a change of government, a party with good ideas, good policies and principled leadership.

Most parties ride on empty promises, but at AP we are very realistic and honest – that is what sets us apart from other political parties.

We have principles and values that bind all our leaders, from local government to presidency.

Spoken like a true politician! Care to elaborate?

The rule is that we have to represent and serve people with total honesty.

We believe Botswana is facing hardships and unnecessary crisis due to the dishonesty of its leadership.

Corruption is the root cause of many evils in this country.We are ruled by greedy and corrupt leaders who are in politics to serve their self-interests!

They are guided by politics of their stomachs and therefore misusing the people’s hard earned cash to enrich themselves!

Tax payersmonies end up in the pockets of the selected few.

Do you honestly believe honesty works in politics?

Yes it works, the truth and nothing else! I don’t believe others are serving the nation honestly.

That is why we at AP want to have a calibre of leadership who do not spend time attacking other politicians and parties but rather focus on implementing policies that will take this country forward.

We will formulate a land policy which will have a programmed and computerised database, which will show who has been allocated land, where, when and how.

We need a transparent way of doing things. That is what we are advocating for and will implement when voted to power.

We are not saying these things in a vacuum, our manifesto details how we intend to fund our ambitious policies.

But government is working on a plan regarding land management in the country. In fact, the Land Bank has been moved from the Ministry of Tourism back to the Land Boards. Doesn’t this spoil your campaign topic on land?

The BDP government of the day is complaining about the same issues as us when they should be addressing them.

Land allocation was never supposed to be under the control of the minister in the first place, it belongs to the Land Board.

It was a window of corruption. A minister allocated land to his friends and favoured a select few investors, with immoral tags.

Taking the LandBank from Land Boards was a wrong move altogether, that is why they are reversing it.

But we are yet to see if it will be implemented because these leaders are good at talking, but slow in implementation!

That is why we say AP has to be voted in October; this country needs a new broom to sweep it clean.

In your experience, what is the best way to run a campaign?

The best campaign strategy is house-to-house, that is what I use because I can reach more people that way.

I engage eligible voters in the comfort of their homes where we engage and they can ask me questions as they wish.

How is it, then, that I stay in Shashe but have never been visited by anyone from the AP? Also, I know of noprevious AP rally held in Maun?

I can tell you, if Shashe is not our number one it will be number two, come elections time.

We have activists on the ground, including our council candidate in Shashe who is a church pastor, so he is an influential figure.

His church is called Nkazumula. I personally attend almost every social gathering in that area, be it a wedding, funerals, botsetsi and others.

And the lack of rallies?

We don’t hold rallies frequently. This is because we don’t believe rallies are the most effective way of campaigning.

The time for rallies will come when we have found people and can gather them through rallies.

People who usually attend rallies are the converted so you basically will be reviving and talking to the already converted.

So are you admitting that AP does not have many followers in Maun?

No, I am not – we have the numbers. When the time for rallies comes, we will definitely invite the media to attend; and I can tell you, you will not be disappointed!

Campaigns are expensive. Who funds you?

Campaigning like you are saying is very expensive, especially for us in the opposition.

It is a continuous struggle. We use family resources. I am a farmer and therefore occasionally sell my cattle to finance my campaigns.

The most important thing is to reach the people, so I need transport, fuel and refreshments for the campaign team.

It is not easy. Outsiders are afraid to help us because they are being intimidated by the government of the day.

You tried your luck at council level in the last elections but failed to impress. What makes you believe you stand a chance against already established politicians?

I see that as a weakness on their part because both of them had been given a chance to serve, but failed.

They did not take the people where they want to be. The other one wanted to serve as an MP, but ended up in the council through special nominations, which we feel is used the wrong way.

He was a council chairman, but his fellow councillors ousted him and he is just an ordinary councillor.

The other opponent served as an MP for 10 years and it is the people who voted him out because they were dissatisfied with him, so they cannot be a threat to me.

You coordinatedthe Batawana paramount chief’s (TawanaMoremi) campaign in the last general elections. Are you counting your blessings through such an association?

Moremi is the chief in the whole of Ngamiland and since he has announced his retirement from active politics, I wouldn’t want to tag him along.

But I would not be shy to say I know him better, I have worked with him for a long time.

I was in charge of coordinating all his campaigns for two terms, the budget and all.

That puts me in a good position to understand the constituency.

If you are to be voted to Parliament, what will be your priorities?

My vision is to see Maun being profiled and structured to become a tourism capital.

I want Maun to be ultimately the fourth city of Botswana. We cannot do that without bringing infrastructures consistent with a city.

We need serviced land. When people are allocated plots, they have to be able to connect water, electricity and sewage.

We want to see transparent and fair distribution of land. We need to revisit land use plan.

We need to ensure food security. The only challenge is that we are failing to manage land and set aside fertile land for agricultural purposes.

We need to address human/wildlife conflict among other concerns of our communities.

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