Botswana National Front’s parliamentary candidate for Tonota South, Michael Mzwinila, told a packed rally in Mandunyane last week that incumbent MP, Pono Moatlhodi, should kiss the constituency goodbye as it is now his chance (Mzwinila) to go back to parliament.
Mzwinila told the BNF rally that he will continue his outstanding track record of speaking out for the poor if elected back to parliament.
A former Gaborone north legislator, Mzwinila retreated to Tonota in 2004 after the BNF barred him from contesting the general elections. He then contested against Pono Moathodi and lost.
But reports indicate that Mzwinila has been busy marshalling his troops and will pose a challenge to Moatlhodi. The two have over the years fallen out and tripped over each other as they raced to draw the sympathy and support of farmers in the Tonota farming area.
Mzwinila gave Moatlhodi sleepless nights when he wooed unemployed youth in Tonota through projects such as the Makomoto Woodland Development Trust and the Tsholofelo Trust.
He also found employment for over 190 unemployed youth for the nearby Talana Farms. Controversy arose when some of the youth returned to Tonota complaining about the backbreaking work and the measly P400 that they were getting paid. Pono Moatlhodi and his councilors accused him of exploiting the youth.
For his part Mzwinila maintains that Moatlhodi politicized the issue instead of considering that the youth were at least earning a living and learning something about irrigation farming.
When addressing the Mandunyane rally last week, Mzwinila confidently said that Moatlhodi should kiss the constituency goodbye as he was now taking it away. He added that the BDP has, since taking over government, failed to improve the plight of the masses, especially in agriculture.
While still an MP, Mzwinila caused controversy when he told parliament that his church Guta ra Ngwari can cure HIV/Aids. He refused to retract the statement and was kicked out. A very flamboyant and avant-garde dresser, whose flamboyant costumes always left fellow MPs in stitches, Mzwinila was once teased for coming to parliament dressed in pajamas.
When the Gaborone City Council unexpectedly shut down standpipes in his constituency, he opened his constituency office standpipes for them, and later successfully defended himself when the GCC took him to court.
He would later be arrested after he defiantly stood before a bulldozer that was trying to demolish squatter camps in Sebele. His actions saved the squatters from demolition, Mzwinila was charged with obstructing government officers while on duty. But, once again he won the case.
Today the former MP remains confident that he will take advantage of the ruling BDP’s dwindling support in the constituency to oust Pono Moatlhodi.