FROM TRADE UNIONS TO POLITICS
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has another late entry in Ketlhalefile Motshegwa.
The human rights activist, who is currently the Secretary General of BLLAHWU and also serves as Deputy Secretary General of BOFEPUSU, will represent the opposition coalition at Gaborone Bonnington South in the looming General Elections.
The constituency is held by the Alliance for Progressives President, Ndaba Gaolathe. The Voice Reporter, DANIEL CHIDA caught up with the unionist for a quick chat.
Why Gaborone Bonnington South?
There was a request by UDC structures as well as people in the constituency for me to stand for the MP’s office.
They believe I am better placed to be an MP of the area as someone coming from the Labour movement fully armed with an understanding of issues of workers and the poor.
It was an easy decision to make upon being requested because I grew up in the constituency.
What do you hope to achieve?
My focus is to influence total regime change and therefore avoid mere change of parliamentary majority.
I will also dismantle a system that protects the power and privilege of the few against the interests and needs of the many.
I also intend to fuel a shift on policy framework hinged on ideological orientation.
The other thing will be to advocate for the implementation of policies that talk about the workers, the poor, youth, elderly, women and disabled.
Our intention is to revolutionise parliament to bring about radical legal and policy shift in the interest of these groups and robustly push for effective citizen economic empowerment through support of small medium enterprises, rapid industrialisation and diversification of the economy.
We are rallying for social justice and serious prosperity of this country through human centered development.
Big plans indeed! So, what plans do you have for the constituency?
We will establish a High-level Consultative Council chaired by the area MP, comprising of Councillors, Dikgosi, VDCs, PTA, Education sector, Health sector, representatives of Youth, Women’s and Workers groups, as well as representatives of the Business sector.
This will enable effective social dialogue in the constituency to build a consensus on policy issues pertaining to challenges and aspirations within the constituency.
Among other issues to be focused on are: nurturing of democracy, rule of law with just laws, respect of human rights, empowerment and support of Small Medium Enterprises towards citizen economic empowerment, promotion of cooperative model, world class and effective health system (facilities, medication, adequate doctor/nurse-patient ratio), infrastructure (roads, drainage water system), availability of shelter as a human right and sense of dignity, better conditions of service of workers, social protection, equity.
Quite the list! What did you learn from trade unions?
Working there has honed my leadership skills, made me understand and appreciate how to work with people.
I am a leader who emerged among the people and therefore I will lead with the people.
I believe I gave my all in service of workers. I have been selfless and described as militant and radical and thereby attracting the onslaught of Government.
Workers are faced with a BDP regime that is anti-workers and anti-unions, which is exemplified by draconian Labour laws, negligence of working conditions and welfare of workers.
There are allegations BNF members who had wanted Moses Bantsi to be given the constituency are disgruntled and will not support you.
Everybody has come on board in the best interest of the urge for change of government.
There is unity, cohesion and a well co-ordinated campaign between members of all opposition parties in the constituency.
Finally, does the pending BMD court case not bother you?
No, not all! It’s not something we concern ourselves with. We are focused and dedicated.
The leadership of UDC is handling the matter well.
When you are driving on a great journey, you can’t get distracted by a fly on the windscreen of the car – in that context the fly is insignificant, so you better keep on driving.
Our campaign is spreading like a veldt fire. We have a team of dedicated, selfless campaigners who are determined to win the constituency and its wards.