Monday, May 17, 2021

Ngwakwena urges President Khama to enact freedom of Information Act

1) Why do you think you are the best person for the job of BDP Secretary General?
 I am a proud loyal and disciplined life member of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). I have an impeccable clean record with untarnished reputation and unimpeachable character as well as sound judgement. I have never resigned nor abandoned the BDP to form an opposing political party or joined another political party. I have remained loyal and dedicated to the BDP in times of need and greatest challenges over the years. As such, I have been part of the BDP legacy for life.

As an aspiring Secretary General of the BDP, my value proposition is loyalty, hardwork, continuous improvement of policies, visionary leadership and dedication to the growth of the BDP in order to continue winning elections and ruling this beautiful country called Botswana. Over the years, my organisational skills have been tried, tested and proven in the BDP through participation in grassroots mobilization and campaigning for the BDP’s success even in most difficult constituencies like Gaborone Central.

Moreover, I have served as a member of the Finance & Development Subcommittee of the Central Committee of the BDP, where I participated in securing funding and fundraising for the BDP activities. I have been a member of the Publicity and Culture Subcommittee of the Central Committee of the BDP, where I was part of the team that developed and implemented the Media & Communications Strategy, organized BDP Star Rallies across the country. In fact, I was personally responsible for dealing with all elements of opposition and negative media reports. As such, I was able to establish an excellent platform through the media to promote and defend the BDP policies. Most importantly, I am staunch supporter of media freedom and responsible media reporting at all costs.  Lastly, I was a member of the National Organising Committee for the historic 50th Anniversary of the BDP and participated in producing the BDP history book, which truly made the BDP members and the country proud. I am therefore humbly requesting the BDP members particularly delegates to give me a lifelong chance and mandate to continue this sterling work by voting me the Secretary General of the BDP in 2015 July Congress in Mmadinare.
 
2)┬áYou come at a time when the party is in decline, what is your analysis of the problems facing the party? I must admit that I have been personally hurt by the decline in the popular vote of BDP over the years particularly the last 2014 elections, considering that we all worked very hard. But then it is not the end of the world. This means that all diehard members of the BDP – like myself – must redouble their efforts to restore the glorious position of the party in the minds of the electorate. This calls for comprehensive audit of all our systems and policies with a view to capturing the hearts of the electorates now and in the future. In my view,┬á during the last year 2014 elections, BDP was faced with a fierce competition from the combined opposition led by the UDC, electorate that had doubts in the BDP and inevitable socio-economic challenges that fueled ┬áthe decline in the party’s fortunes. I do not want to sound arrogant by dictating to the Party what to do through the media even before I am voted as the Secretary General. ┬áBut, as an aspiring Secretary General, I aim to partner, plan and work with leadership (past and current), fellow members of the Central Committee, Party Structures and ordinary members of the BDP in order to collectively develop and implement the Master Winning Strategy, in a true spirit of team work, in order to win the elections in 2019 and beyond.
 
3) The BDP seems particularly unable to attract the youth, what could be behind this? Although, I acknowledge your question, I beg to differ. The BDP is still attractive to the youth through its implemented socio-economic policies that have clearly changed the lives of not only the youth but the nation at large. However, I do concede that there are challenges and as an aspiring Secretary General, I aim to introduce Youth Forum where we can debate, discuss and adopt policies that would be implemented for the benefit of youth.
 
4)┬áWhat is the state of the current relationship between party and cabinet? Is there in your view any room for improvement of this relationship? In my view, there is a healthy relationship and there are no tensions between the party and government. I support the independent and distinct separation of roles and powers between the party and government. It would be a sad day, when cabinet decisions are dictated by the BDP at Tsholetsa House. For such a model would lead us to disastrous situation. Just look at the sorry state of affairs in South Africa where the ANC Luthuli House calls the shots ÔÇô sometimes in the wrong directions. I do share the frustrations of party activists who want to rule the whole world from Tsholetsa House. But I do not support a wholesale deployment of the BDP cadres in all top government positions, without merit, as that would be an affront to the provisions of the Constitution and concept of Justice ÔÇô particularly its established principles of fairness. We just have to tread carefully and hold our horses. As my late grandmother Hake Moapare (may her soul rest in peace) use to say “success must be carved with greater care and patience”.
 
5) Some people have said the President of the party has too much power, what is your view? Let us be clear ÔÇô The President gets his powers from the supreme Constitution and Laws of the Republic of Botswana. As such, these constitutional powers are real and legitimate. The fact that Batswana have done it not once but twice, during open and fair national elections, ┬áto retain His Excellency President Seretse Khama Ian Khama as the State President – it is because they know that he is the right person to lead this beautiful country called Botswana. Most importantly, Batswana have consistently declared that he is the right person to be given all constitutional powers legitimately ┬ágiven by the supreme Constitution of the Republic of Botswana. Then, who am I to doubt the votes of many Batswana over a decade?

6) What is your assessment of those you are standing against for the position of Secretary General? They are honourable people who I respect a lot.
 
7) In your view why did the BDP perform so badly at the General elections last year? Fierce competition from the combined opposition and doubting electorate. But in the end, the BDP prevailed. As an aspiring Secretary General, I aim to partner, plan and work with leadership (past and current), fellow members of the Central Committee, Party Structures and ordinary members of the BDP in order to collectively develop and implement the Master Winning Strategy, in a true spirit of team work, in order to win the elections in 2019 and beyond.
 
8) You are one person who has at least in public never accepted that the BDP is ever wrong, how is this likely to affect your chances for position of Secretary General when BDP members feel  it is people like you who never see anything wrong with the party and leadership that have been responsible for derailing the party? By nature I enjoy constructive debates and I know I have over the years tormented some people who want to deliberately peddle lies about the BDP and its leadership. It is wrong to say that I never accepted that the BDP is ever wrong. To the contrary, I have on a number of occasions pointed out the grey areas of the BDP in public and private. I just do not like speculations and untruths about the BDP that are peddled as the truth. One of the beauties of being part of the democratic country called Botswana where there is the rule of law is that, we should not take seriously people unless they can produce evidence to support their views or allegations. From a public point of view, smear campaigns do not get anywhere unless they are backed by concrete evidence. The platform of untruths and misinformation that gained and catapulted the combined opposition to 20 seats in Parliament in 2014, would evaporate as Batswana realise that it was just a desperate smear campaign against the BDP with no legs. So 2019 is going to be tough for the combined opposition as the BDP implement sustainable and revived socio-economic policies for the benefit of Batswana going forward.
 
9)┬áWhat is your strategy to attract back into the BDP young people that your party specifically expelled in the past? The BDP membership is voluntary. My message will be clear and simple ÔÇô please exercise your right to freely and voluntary join the mighty BDP despite all the challenges. As an aspiring Secretary General, I will create youth forum where we would┬ádiscuss and adopt policies that would be implemented for the benefit of youth. Above, I will partner and work with the youth to develop and implement the youth empowerment policies going forward.

10) If you were to get 5 minutes with the Head of state today what policies in your view would you ask him to introduce and what are those that you would say he should scrap? It would be honoured to have 5 minutes with His Excellency President Khama despite his tight schedule. What has to be acknowledged is that there is no prefect policy and law. As such, there is need to continuously improvement and review all policies and laws in order to make them more relevant and effective. Going forward, there is a need for Citizen Empowerment Act, Freedom of Information Act just to mention a few.  

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