Sunday, May 9, 2021

“Public backlash has left me emotionally drained” ÔÇô Mathokgwane

The recently resigned Member of Parliament for Goodhope/Mabule, James Mathokgwane has parried off suggestions that his resignation was calculated to make way for Minister for presidential affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale. Mathokgwane however conceded that his wife is Molale’s niece.

“It is true I am married in the Molale family. But the idea that I made way for him sounds preposterous. There is no guarantee that Molale will win.” But other than that as Minister Molale has headway over other contenders in intra-party primaries, he also stands to lose nothing as he is not bound to resign his current positions in both parliament and cabinet as he bids for a constituency. Molale is known to harbor ambitions for both Vice President and State President. Under the Constitution of Botswana, a Member of Parliament can only become a Vice President if he has a constituency that they represent. Molale is currently a Specially Elected Member of parliament which disqualifies him from realising any of his ambitions.

In a lengthy interview during the week, Mathokgwane said he resigned because he was knee-deep in debts. He said he has been distraught by the unforgiving public. “I fully understand their anger. They had invested a lot in me.” Another reason for his resignation, he said was his health. “My wife was against me resigning. But I felt that with the salary of parliament life was becoming a downward spiral for the family.”

He also said the allegations that he impregnated a woman who later died upon abortion were started by the Botswana Democratic Party activists in that constituency. “I am aware that police visited the family and asked them if I [Mathokgwane] had not been one of the people who contributed more money towards the burial of that woman. Clearly this was a witch-hunt.” He said he did not know anything about abortion and that he never had any sexual relationship with the dead woman. Mathokgwane is also aware of conspiracies that an assistant minister and a high court judge were two of his handlers.

Members of the Umbrella for Democratic Change have been deeply angered by Mathokgwane’s resignation. They are worried that the manner of his resignation will make it difficult for them to retain the constituency in the by-election. Mathokgwane did not bid his voters a farewell. They heard about his resignation over radio. To account for his manner of his resignation Mathokgwane blames the speaker of Parliament, Gladys Kokorwe for having gone public about the resignation before he [Mathokgwane] could address the constituency. “By the time I asked my office in the constituency to organize a meeting, it was already in the news.”

He blames himself for not having been forthright in his interactions with UDC leader, Duma Boko. Will he be going back to politics after seeing through his five-year contract with SPEDU? “I don’t think I want to go back into politics. I believe I have played by part ÔÇô but never say never.”

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