Maun West looks set for a close contest as three political heavy weights battle it out for the constituency.
D-day is fast approaching (just 19 days to go!) yet it remains uncertain who among Reaboka Mbulawa of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Dumelang Saleshando of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Mmolotsi Sebati of Alliance for Progressives (AP) will emerge victorious.
Both Saleshando and Sebati have already expressed themselves in this forum, outlining why they believe they are best suited for the job.
This week, Mbulawa gets his chance and tells FRANCINAH BAAITSE-MMANA why he should be the chosen one.
After all the talk and hype, election day is fast approaching. How prepared are you?
I am ready as an athlete. We have done everything to the best of our abilities to wrap it up.
Even if the elections were today, we would go for it.
Are you not intimidated by working relations between former President, Ian Khama and your opponents in the UDC?
Not at all.
It is politics.
We all have our own support base and people thinking and believing in different ways.
I think that’s a huge mistake the said opponent will a lot from.
Let’s wait for elections and you will witness what we have been hearing in Maun West.
See how he can’t support hunting when the people have been consulted and spoken.
I think he is either compromised, signed a raw deal or just ignorant to the needs of the constituency!
And what are the needs of the constituency?
Fighting Foot and Mouth Disease, addressing issues of human wildlife conflict, tourism, drought, drying up of the Thamalakane River, water crisis, land matters and youth unemployment are top of my priority list.
How do you intend to tackle these issues differently to your opponents?
My strategy is honesty and the love that I give my constituency.
I don’t need anything else other than being genuine.
I see a lot of ingenuity.
Maun West is my home, my birthplace and my place of burial. That is how genuine it is!
But both your opponents are claiming the same!
One of my uncles is a Chief in Kubung and also Kgosi Tawana Moremi’s uncle.
My grandfather was the previous Chief in Komana where my mother comes from.
Boyei is where my grandfather Kurusa Samakiana came from.
Mabudutsa in Kgosing ward is where my grandmother Khwai was from and apparently she is the one who raised me in Komana from birth until I became what I am now.
I schooled in Ngamiland and have all my homes and businesses here and no other place.
Apparently I am going to be buried a great son of Maun West sometime in the future!
Interesting. Moving on, it is rumoured that you have been playing hide-and-seek with the former President, always avoiding meeting him. Apparently whenever Khama is in Maun you claim to be elsewhere?
That is not true.
I don’t have personal problems with him apart from our political differences.
The two last times he came into town, we met because he visited my lodge.
It is on record because I don’t have matters with the former President.
I fully support President Masisi and we are ready to win this coming October.
If you should prove triumphant at the polls, what will be first on your agenda?
There is a lot to do in Maun West.
The drought is the most pressing matter right now.
We need boreholes for farmers from Toteng, Komana, Nxaraga, Xaraxau, Bojanala, Tsutsubega and many other areas.
We need to save the livelihoods by providing for livestock watering.
The constituency funding has most answers for those.
Are you saying you will channel the first batch of constituency funds exclusively for borehole drilling?
Of course, the priority goes to the pressure areas.
I spoke to the people and that’s what is at the top of their agenda.
I will engage the business community and also get involved physically to see this happen.
I have long been on community projects and I am not stating anything new, but rather a continuation of what I have been doing over the years.
How would you help resolve the existing human-elephant conflict?
I worked for the department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) as a manager.
I am trained in integrated strategic planning for control of elephants and veld fire.
I could be a big solution on government decisions to manage the human-wildlife conflict immediately.
We do need to put pressure on the elephants through controlled hunting, as well as pushing them back from villages systematically.
This has to be planned, robust and directed well within the existing statutory.
However, we have to completely overhaul the DWNP to be effectively geared towards such mandates.
So you believe hunting the animals would resolve the problem?
I am both militant and combatant.
I believe in lethal response, not that I am trigger-happy but I see that path as the only clear message to elephants.
An elephant is a robust thinker; it plans and outsmarts humans if left unchecked for a long time.
We need to take absolute control over the management of these species before it’s too late.
Care to add more?
I am here to serve and not to seek employment like my other opponents.
I am the servant of Maun West. Ke ne ke le teng (I was there), in good times and in bad times.
Maun West should trust only the BDP of Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi and Rre Mbulawa.
We are the only hope for Ngamiland alongside Kgosi Tawana Moremi.
Talking of ‘Ke ne ke le teng’, your opponents are using this phrase against you. They are deliberately misinterpreting it to say ‘o ne o le teng fa go senngwa’ (You were there during the looting). What’s your take on that?
I am talking about Maun West, perhaps they are talking about something else.
Ga go a senngwa sepe (Nothing was looted) from Maun West.
I was there when we were battling to addresses problems in this area, when we were fighting against lethobo, floods, water provision, farmer’s support, schools demands and communities while they were not even in the constituency.
One was in Gaborone Central while I was here.