Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Motswaledi in no hurry to go to parley

Newly-elected Botswana Movement for Democracy president, Gomolemo Motswaledi, says he is in no hurry to go to parliament as his focus is still on growing the BMD.

Motswaledi told Sunday Standard on Friday that he is still more concerned with the welfare of BMD rather than his own political gain. He explained that after they were elected to the interim executive, the BMD leadership set their sights on delivering the party’s inaugural congress, which they successfully achieved last week.

The next task, said Motswaledi, is to ensure that BMD grows from an infant political organisation into a formidable opposition political party that can meaningfully partake in the opposition cooperation project and even take over governance of Botswana.

“I am the kind of man who bides his time and takes things one step at a time. The focus is now on ensuring that BMD’s policies and direction are in consonance with our democratic ideals, and growing this party into a formidable opposition party that can influence the political landscape of this country. For me to lose that focus would be sacrilegious,” he said.

Motswaledi’s comments come at a time when many within BMD are rooting for him to be accorded a parliamentary constituency so that he can articulate the opposition’s alternative view point and even assume the reins of the Leader of the Opposition. Many also feel that Motswaledi’s political clout has to be tested against other political stalwarts in parliament.

BMD insiders have repeatedly called for Motswaledi to be deployed to Gaborone West North, where they say he will easily depose of incumbent Botswana Democratic Party Member of Parliament, Robert Masitara. Before he was barred from contesting the 2009 general elections under the BDP ticket, Motswaledi was pitted against Gaborone Central MP Dumelang Saleshando. However, the spirit of the opposition cooperation talks bar him from contesting against the BCP president, thus the call for Masitara’s ouster.

It is not the first time that a party president has been coerced to assume a constituency.

In 2005, after he was elected Botswana National Front president, Otsweletse Moupo was shooed into the Gaborone West North constituency that was left vacant after the death of Paul Rantao.

After being elected BMD interim president, Motswaledi also took a three year unpaid leave from his employers, the University of Botswana, to help build the party’s structures and prepare for the 2014 general election.

To date, he remains adamant that his principal responsibility is to build BMD into a formidable opposition party.

“I will be doing the party injustice if I let myself be derailed by constituency interests. If, after becoming an opposition powerhouse, BMD decides to award me a constituency, then I will gladly accept. However, even if in the end I remain without a constituency, then so be it. My conscience will be clear. The BMD leadership is sacrificial and messengerial, more concerned with national welfare than with self aggrandizement,” he said.

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