PALAPYE: Gape Motswaledi has ended speculation on his aspirations to contest for the 2019 general elections in Palapye constituency under the Alliance for Progressives (AP) ticket.
Motswaledi said at AP he has found a political home, with a well-crafted message that resonates well with his worldview. He naturally got inclined to joining the party to further his political aspirations.
Motswaledi said he has been a resident of Palapye for the past 18 years. In his view, the massive developments of the village are not being coordinated in a way that they could absolutely benefit the villagers.
He said the community of Palapye deserves to live better and deserves a Member of Parliament who can selflessly facilitate their upliftment. He sees himself as the messiah who could bring the village to harmony with its developments.
“Palapye deserves somebody with a firm apprehension of the dynamics of the village and somebody who believes in God, who can bring all the pieces together and that is me,” he said.
Motswaledi was clear that he is not into politics to find closure for his late brother, Gomolemo Motswaledi’s passing like it is the belief of many people.
“We were cut from the same cloth and obviously there will be where we overlap and where we go into our diverse callings.
“I wouldn’t enter this terrain to find closure on his passing. That is not an issue that has injured my mind when I thought of politics. I have long found closure on my brother’s passing. In fact I am the one who counselled others to also find closure,” he said.
He said at the core of his political calling, he aspires to create an enabling environment for individual growth that Batswana have been deprived of by the current government.
He said the government must appreciate the seed that has been planted in every individual and the fruit that is supposed to be enjoyed by people who co-exist with that individual.
“We must recognise individuals as individuals and not impose on individuals but create an enabling environment that would help bring out resident talent in individuals,” he said.
He added: “People will find purpose in their lives and that is vital in individual growth. Through that we can even export talent to the benefit of the nation”.
“We must invest in the diverse abilities of individuals and not put everybody in the same mould and even impose our views of life in the citizenry.”
He said the government must understand that the citizenry traded their power and rights with the State in return for adequate and quality services, and good standards of living.
“We have traded our rights so these things can be provided. We don’t have quality health services, which is more than a predicament in Palapye. There is not sufficient portable water for the citizenry and connection of electricity and these are amongst some of the basic rights that we must enjoy,” he said.
He said in his experience as a teacher, a performing artist and a sportsperson, he has realised that there is a discord between what takes place on the ground and the political narrative.
He said there has not been adequate political will to ameliorate the standards of education to create a market for the various skills of the citizenry in different spheres and that discrepancy has to be addressed.
Motswaledi arrived in Palapye as a civil servant in 2001. He considers the village his home. He is married in Palapye and he revealed all his investments are in Palapye.
He said in his time in the village, he has experienced the leadership of three parliamentarians and has voted thrice in the general elections here.
He is of the view that Palapye still needs a sound coordinator for the locals
He said there seems to be a disassociation between the institutions and organisations that create impetus for the growth of the village and the village.
“These institutions and organisations have to assert themselves as entities and integral parts of the village. Closing this gap could only be achieved with proper coordination, which is lacking and that is depriving the village of distinctive benefits.”
“In Palapye, we shouldn’t be passive bystanders when the village grows. We must gauge and measure growth by the amount of derivative that accrues in favour of all who dwell in the village and their standards of living. Job creation is of the essence,” he said.
Motswaledi felt lack of relevant infrastructure in Palapye has suppressed contributions of small enterprises such as taxi operators and hawkers.
He said the pivotal role that these groups of people play in the community is not recognised, yet they are contributing meaningfully to the growth of the village and the country.
He said there is embezzlement of land in Palapye to benefit the elite few and the village needs leadership that can protect its public land to the benefit of villagers.
“Public land should not be arrogated for private usage as some parts of Palapye have mysteriously been converted from public to private use.”
He said the leadership of the republic must acknowledge political leadership, traditional leadership and religious leadership. Everyone amongst the respective leaderships must take their roles in building the society without the political leadership trying to encroach into the space of others, as it is the case.
Motswaledi is skeptical about the current political situation particularly in the opposition, but said he remains focused on what he subscribes to.
“The political landscape right now is very fluid. As of now, the AP is a stand-alone and I am focused on that. We nonetheless do not know if that will maintain even tomorrow,” he said.
“It is not guaranteed that political parties that are in a coalition will still be there tomorrow, but time is running out for the opposition.”
He fancies his chances against the ruling party.
He said the ruling party’s popularity in Palapye has dwindled tremendously and the village is longing for an alternative.
“Palapye has got parts that are conservative and parts that are liberal and the conservatives can be bended. It is up to us to transform the conservatives so that they can respond to the dictates of time and to the realities of our current situation,” he said.
He said he is not new in the political atmospheres. In the entire 14 years of his public service, he was a union activist.
He served in the Botswana Teachers Union as secretary for education and communications and also served as the secretary general of Botswana Karate Association.
Motswaledi was a civil servant for 14 years as a Physics and Mathematics teacher. He holds a Bachelor of Education in Science from the University of Botswana.
He started his teaching career at Marulamantsi Junior Secondary School in 2000 and moved to Lotsane Senior Secondary School in 2001.
He was transferred to Gaborone Senior Secondary School in 2009 and returned to Swaneng Hill Secondary School in 2011 where he resigned three years later.
“I came back for my family. Since returning from Gaborone I was staying in Palapye and commuting to Serowe everyday until I left the public service.”
After resigning from public service in 2014, he joined Kgaswe High School as a Physics and Mathematics teacher. “I am resigning (at Kgaswe) at the end of this month to focus on politics,” he said.