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Seasoned attorney takes on Boko in BNF presidential race

CONFIDENT: Molatlhegi

CONFIDENT: Dr. Molatlhegi

The BNF has been reduced to a pale shadow of itself- Molatlhegi

When all thought the incumbent President of Botswana National Front, Duma Boko will not be challenged for the BNF’s top seat following the withdrawal by Prince Dibeela, another aspirant entered the race.

Dr Baatlhodi Bucs Molatlhegi has thrown the gauntlet. An attorney with 29 years experience in private practice, Dr Molatlhegi is currently a Senior Partner at the corporate law firm Monthe Marumo and Co [incorporating Molatlhegi & Associates].

The Voice staffer, DANIEL CHIDA breaks down what this ambitious leader has to offer.

WHO AM I

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Politically is necessary, not only as an answer to those who may have doubts but also to give comfort to the BNF membership, the opposition collective and indeed all Batswana.

I am a product of this gallant and resilient movement, cultivated and groomed by it.

As I often say, I have done everything that a loyal member of the BNF must do.

My political consciousness dates back to my formative years. Raised by a single mother in a poverty stricken family, the message of the BNF resonated with me at that young age, hence in 1982 I formally joined the movement and I have been a member since, a period spanning 40 years.

My membership of this organisation, I can declare without any fear of contradiction, has always been characterised by activism.

I know how it is and what it takes to be a student activist. I know, because I was one during my entire tenure as both high school and university student.

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MY BNF JOURNEY

I used to be a UB SRC member at one point. I have participated in and often-led protest marches as a student.

I was the founding chairperson of the then BNF inclined student grouping called MASS.

I have formed and led BNF study groups and today I can say with a great deal of nostalgia how useful I was a member of Gaborone Central constituency committee when it led the then BNF Vice President Mike Dingake to victory.

I led the campaign that took Mokgweetsi Kgosipula to victory at Mogoditshane constituency.

I was a part of those who facilitated the relocation of the then BNF president Otsweletse Moupo to Gaborone North (from Selebi Phikwe) and had an active hand in seeing to his victory in that constituency.

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I was a leading member of a campaign team that delivered victory for Obakeng Moumakwa in Kgalagadi North 2004.

When the BNF came from its Kanye Congress in 2002, it encountered serious challenges. I, together with other comrades notably Moeti Mohwasa and Akanyang Magama, who was then the Secretary General of the party initiated “Operation Tsosoloso.”

This was a special project that was aimed at rebuilding the party by creating its structures and organs as well as an active increased membership drive.

This is to say; I know what it takes to build the party.

WHY NOW

The BNF has been reduced to a pale shadow of itself. The organisational structures, which in essence are the organisation itself, have literally collapsed.

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Honest members of our organisation will readily admit to this. The party structures, needless to emphasise, are the organisation’s lifeline.

They are the cogwheel around which its functioning revolves. It is to me difficult to think of an organisation being healthy or alive when its organs have ceased to function.

This collapse of our party’s structures could to a large extent, explain the dismal decline in the performance of our organisation in successive national elections even under the umbrella of the opposition collective.

This need not be laboured as its evidence is there for all to see. The ruling party has made serious inroads in constituencies historically known to be ours.

Who could have ever thought at one point the opposition would lose the Kanye constituencies or Gaborone South?

We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand when things are not okay in the movement.

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Our party has a long history and tradition of honest and critical introspection, where shortfalls exist; they identified, admitted and worked upon.

We called this “criticism and self-criticism” in our political education groups.

I contest the Presidency of this party with its Rebuilding and its Unity among my core priorities.

It is also critically important that BNF traces itself and finds its historical organisational values.

There was a time when our party had a clear value system that defined its character.

One could tell a BNF member by his/her good conduct, empathy and compassion.

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WHAT AM I OFFERING

I offer my service to this movement with a promise to provide an effective leadership; a leadership that is accountable and transparent to the party and its members; a leadership that is humble and understands that it is a servant and not a master of the members of the BNF.

On this, I count on the support, active participation and goodwill of all BNF members because I know my concern about the state of affairs now, is theirs too.

It is for this reason that I have come up with the slogan “Build Again Together” as a rallying cry.

The Opposition collective deserve better than what they currently have in terms of leadership and governance.

The situation that obtains has rendered our people desperate. It has set them on a path to seek an alternative.

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That alternative – that hope for a change – lies in the opposition collective. But that is not a given.

The opposition collective has to earn the confidence of the people.

It can only do so if it demonstrates clarity of thinking, unity of purpose and where it wishes to take this nation should it be given an opportunity.

It is not a given that since our people have suffered in over five decades under a neo-colonial government, then they have an obligation to vote us into power.

We have to earn their vote. It is my wish and desire to offer a serious service to this initiative because I am aware that even before the opposition collective sets out to win the confidence of Batswana, it needs to win the confidence of each other.

This can only be achieved if the collective is underpinned by mutual respect amongst cooperating partners.

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I will strive to see to it that the UDC operates in consonance.

I dream of an opposition coalition that can boldly declare itself ready to govern and do so with confidence and conviction.

It is no longer an issue for debate that Batswana want change. They are craving for it, but not just for its sake.

They want a change that they can trust. A change that would usher in social and economic transformation to reverse the regression and stagnation that obtains now.

It is very evident that the only thing that stands on the way of this change is absence of confidence that the coalition can deliver.

Batswana do not like experimenting with core and key matters.

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WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

We ought to win people’s confidence and such confidence would be underpinned, not by hype, branding or handouts, rather it will be won in the battle between progressive, transformative ideas and liberal conservatism.

Organisationally, the UDC must be united and led by certain values. Non-principled cooperation drives people away.

The UDC must adhere to and practice democratic values at a higher scale than the BDP. Our nation stands at a precipice.

We are confronted by one crisis after the other. In times like these, times of want and need, times of desperation, a people need something to look up to.

They need a leadership that can spur and inspire them into having faith that things will come out right in the end.

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I regret to say; we are not seeing that at the moment.

The question is whether opposition leadership can stem the tide; step into the vacuum of leadership and give hope to our people.

Never has the deficit of leadership been this glaring in Botswana.

At a time when we are confronted with a deadly pandemic, when the economy of our country is in tatters; unemployment and inequality at an all-time high; poverty on the rise; high rates of corruption; households’ income low; we have no one to look up to.

Do the poor hear a clear, audible voice from the opposition, speaking the message of transformation?

Do the young people hear and see prospects of real and progressive change? As you can see from the foregoing, the things we achieve high on are only the vices.

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The leadership is clueless on what to do. Botswana deserves better.

Our generation’s greatest task is to hand over this country to the next generation in a better position than it was handed over to us.

We must, as matter of urgency arrest the decline in governance standards, increasing poverty and a scary uncontrolled rise in corruption