The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly who recently dumped the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for the opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) reignited his disdain for the militarization of the civil service as he was being welcomed into his new found political home in the Tonota South backyard over the weekend.
This is not the first time that the outspoken Pono Moatlhodi publicly expressed his disdain for the militarization of the civil service.
In 2008 he was recalled by party president Ian Khama after launching a tirade against government’s tendency to militarize the civil service at the expense of deserving career public servants.
He was saved from the unprecedented recall following representations by his constituents and BDP elders at the eleventh hour.
During the Umbrella for Democratic Change rally in Tonota village, Moatlhodi in his typical brash style lambasted the government explaining that one has to be from the military if he is to earn a high post in government since the ascendance of Ian Khama to the country’s presidency.
“There is dire need for change in this country,” said Moatlhodi further attacking the former Vice President Mompati Merafhe.
“I heard that Merafhe, a former soldier and his two cronies Botlogile Tshireletso and Mpho Balopi have been attacking me since my defection from the ruling party to the opposition BNF. They should be warned that I will not allow them to do as they please with my name. I will fearlessly hit back at them. I also need to make it clear that BNF is my new political home and I am not looking back,” he said.
Moatlhodi fired a salvo at Merafhe saying that he only carved his way into politics by virtue of his previous association with the army as its founding commander.
He accused Merafhe for not adding value to BDP politics as he championed factions into the party.
“Merafhe forgets that I was by his side when he joined politics in 1991 from the army when his constituency in Mahalapye was riddled with defections. Batswana should also not forget that he is the same person who said during the extra judicial shooting of John Kalafatis by the DIS agents that one or two killings will not damage the country’s democratic reputation. What if the agents killed his own son?” he asked rhetorically.
Moatlhodi further attacked minister Tshireletso saying that she has never added any value to the debates in parliament as she has never tabled a single motion since her tenure as minister and Member of Parliament.
“Tshireletso has never even tabled a single motion in parliament ever since her tenure as minister and member of parliament,” he said to the loud roar of laughter from UDC members.
He also attacked Mpho Balopi for dragging his name into the mud saying that he (Balopi) is a political amateur who will never match him in a political freedom square.
“I would rather respect Patrick Balopi his uncle because he contributed immensely towards developments in Francistown. During my tenure as a councilor in Francistown, I worked closely with Patrick Balopi to topple the then reigning Botswana People’s Party from power. Mpho Balopi is just a political armature who is clueless about politics,” he said.
Among other things, Moatlhodi said that it is high time that opposition parties unite so that they toppled the ruling party from power as it is failing Batswana.
He however said that he does not have a problem with other BDP members apart from three BDP politicians, Mompati Merafhe, Botlogile Tshireletso and BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi.
“I also made it clear when I was welcomed into the BNF fold, that I will never attack President Ian Khama because I respect him as a leader,” he added.
Moatlhodi explained to UDC members that his resignation from the BDP was prompted by the ill-treatment meted out to him by the BDP Central Committee after his appeal over the Tonota BDP primary elections.
He also took issue with Thapelo Olopeng, the BDP parliamentary candidate in Tonota South and his supporters for ill-treating him.
However, some BNF members hold the view that if Moatlhodi is allowed to contest the Tonota South Constituency under the BNF ticket instead of the existing candidate Maokaneng Bontshetse, the party will definitely be divided ahead of the general election.
BNF secreatry general Thapiso Kgosikoma said during the UDC rally that negotiations within the party are on-going to determine who will contest the candidacy in the upcoming general elections.
The welcoming event was attended by at least twelve former BDP councilors who lost the primaries and whose appeals failed.