Saturday, January 22, 2022

Moatlhodi vows to stay put in politics

Despite his loss to Thapelo Olopeng who is now Member of Parliament for Tonota South and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture in the recent General Elections former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Pono Moatlhodi has vowed thathe will not be quitting politics anytime soon. He said politics is part of his life. Speaking in a telephone interview with the The Telegraph about his political future last week, Moatlhodi said that he is ready to take the bull by its horns in 2019 and will fight tooth and nail to wrestle the constituency from Olopeng in the next elections supposing Olopeng will be defending it.

Moatlhodi said that his loss will never dampen his spirit of making a political come back.
“I am definitely going to stand for elections in 2019 if my party allows me to. The recent loss will never dampen my spirit. I was born a politician and I will die one. Politics is in my blood. I am not going to quit politics any time soon despite my loss. I remain a staunch member of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC),” he said.

Moatlhodi lost the Tonota Constituency by garnering national garnering 5179 votes against Olopeng’s 7013 votes. The other contestants, Themba Joina of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and independent candidate Michael Mzwinila polled 475 and 128 votes respectively. The former Deputy Speaker refused to comment on what led to his loss. Asked for his views about the election outcome, he said voters were better placed to judge and comment on them. “I do not have anything to say about the past elections because voters are in a better position to tell me how the elections were conducted,” he said. Moatlhodi defected from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and joined UDC after a controversial loss to Olopeng in the primaries.

He quit the ruling party citing unfair treatment after his protest was dismissed. He had cited irregularities in the run up to the primaries and lodged a protest. He had hoped the discovery of more than 1000 voters’ cards at Tonota Primary School would help him win the appeal. After Moatlhodi’s defection to the UDC, drama unfolded when Botswana National Front (BNF) initial candidate for the constituency Maokaneng Bontshetse was recalled and suspended thus paving way for him. Bontshetse protested his recall and lodged a court case that he lost with costs as Francistown High Court judge Justice Zibani Makhwade found no urgency in the matter.

In 2008, the outspoken Moatlhodi fell out out with President Ian Khama after accusing him of militarizing the civil service at the expense of deserving career public servants. The ruling party recalled him and was saved after at the eleventh hour after representations by his constituents and influential BDP elders.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper