It is so unfortunate that I find myself having to write about MP for Tonota South and Deputy Speaker, Honorable Pono Moatlhodi. Having grown up right next door to him in Minestone, Francistown and considering how close he was to my late father, I regard Moatlhodi as my father. Infact one of his sons is my drinking mate and back in those years while growing up in Francistown, I had a huge crush on one of his daughters. This goes to show how far and close I come with the Moatlhodis.
Unfortunately, I have vowed that my column will not spare anyone who deserves to be whipped into the straight and narrow, including people that are close to my heart like Moatlhodi. No blows will be barred.
Aggg, I now sound too apologetic even before I state my case with Moatlhodi. Well, the maverick, unpredictable, tearful and humorous Moatlhodi has been quoted in one local newspaper as having declared his disdain for homosexuality. It was reported that he went further to say were things his way he would have gay people killed. I hear he afterwards called radio stations denying that he ever mentioned the killing of gays and lesbians but still maintained he doesn’t like them and as far as he was concerned they are a manifestation of demonic and satanic spirits. You see, one of the reasons I admire Moatlhodi is, he never beats about the bush when he wants to put across a point. He can be brutally truthful and that’s his main undoing.
For God’s sake, Moatlhodi is not just an ordinary Joe whose utterances mean no big deal. Moatlhodi is a leader. Moatlhodi is a lawmaker. Moatlhodi is a father. Moatlhodi spots grey hair and I believe it’s a sign of many birthdays celebrated and as such I expect his age to match his wisdom. I expect him to think before he speaks.
I fail to understand why a leader like Moatlhodi should find it appropriate to make statements that seek to divide the nation instead of uniting it. I have no qualms with Moatlhodi’s sexual preference. Moatlhodi doesn’t support a situation where a man has carnal knowledge of another man.
Just like me, Moatlhodi prefers women to men. We are straight. That should not be a problem to anyone. I can’t get under the same blanket with another man. I’m very straight and so is Moatlhodi and that’s what he wishes upon every man. The good thing about me is, even as I restrict myself to women, I do not have a problem with men who enjoy going the whole way with other men. The sex is consensual. Of course, to me it doesn’t appear morally right. Infact it nauseates me but who am I to think I’m morally right than those gays and lesbians?
The problem is not in Moatlhodi not liking gays and lesbians per se. The problem is the way he publicizes his dislike towards such people. By showing so much intolerance towards homosexuality, Moatlhodi risks chasing away some people who might look up to him, as their leader, for assistance. I do not remember at any of his rallies prior to elections, Moatlhodi telling gays and lesbians not to vote for him. This therefore means there are gays and lesbians amongst those many people who sent Moatlhodi to parliament to represent their views. Right now there could be some gays and lesbians in Tonota who may have been thinking of approaching Moatlhodi to voice their concerns over the stigma attached to homosexuality and after what Moatlhodi is reported to have said, the poor gays and lesbians have no one to approach. Moatlhodi’s role as an MP is not to advocate for his personal preferences. His duty is to consult his constituents and then push, in parliament, for the needs and choices of the people who sent him to parliament. He literally cried to represent them and as such I expect him to represent their views with impartiality.
With so much stigma attached to homosexuality, we always read about gays and lesbians who go for years finding it difficult to tell their families about their sexual orientation. Now imagine if Moatlhodi had such a daughter or son. Imagine if one of his grandchildren is a lesbian or a gay and their grandfather goes on national media houses expressing his hatred towards such people. Who are they going to confide in? So as Moatlhodi gives bad labels and prays for the cleansing of gays he should bear in mind that should his wish be granted, we will lose our families and very important people in the society.
But really should we be blaming Moatlhodi for his insensitive and uncalculated comments when his bosses have set a precedence of reckless speaking? I mean, if the State President can publicly say he is not getting married because women are troublesome, what can we expect from Moatlhodi? The Vice President has also said the extra-judicial killing of one or two civilians should not give us sleepless nights. Batswana seem to condone these insensitive statements from their leaders because when Khama castigated women, loud ululations came from women. One of them even went on radio to defend Khama saying Khama was addressing a BDP family. Which makes me to suspect that if the BDP are indeed a family, then they are a dysfunctional one. When Merafhe said the death of two individuals was nothing to worry about, just a few of us condemned him but now that he is sick in hospital the whole country is making noise with prayers for his recuperation and should I dare say the illness of just one Vice President is nothing to worry about, then Batswana would stand up and say I’m being insensitive. We have elevated our leaders to a level where they are the only important human beings in the country. Now the disease of reckless talking seems to be catching up with even insignificant figures like Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo. You see, the problem is not with Kaboeamodimo having a romantic attachment with his junior or not. The problem is in the way Kaboeamodimo addressed the issue. I listened to the clip in which he was addressing staff at the Mass Media Complex and endorsing office romance. If Kaboeamodimo was smart, he would have been brief and should have just implored his juniors not to allow office romance to interfere with their work. He blundered in trying to justify his relationship with Gloria Kgosi.