The Monitor :: Mmolawa Not Shaken By Male Politicians
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Last Updated
Wednesday 20 March 2019, 15:58 pm.
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Mmolawa Not Shaken By Male Politicians

Parliamentary hopeful for the new political kid-on-the-block, Alliance for Progressives (AP) in the Francistown East constituency, Theresa Mmolawa is insistent that 2019 general elections will be full of surprises. Even after she failed when representing opposition coalition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the last elections, she is confident that the constituents will not be confused by her change of colours from black and orange to the purple movement. The Monitor Staff Writer Ryder Gabathuse reports
By Ryder Gabathuse Mon 11 Mar 2019, 12:14 pm (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: Mmolawa Not Shaken By Male Politicians








FRANCISTOWN: Born and brought up in Francistown in the Ntuane family, who are known staunch members of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Mmolawa; educationist-cum-politician has always been politically conscious.

Politics, as she says, has always been in her blood as her late father James Ntuane, brothers Mpedi Ntuane, Sebastian Ntuane and his brother’s son Botsalo Ntuane are other known active politicians within the family. Other uncles based in Masunga have been politically involved as well.

Whilst others are staunch ruling BDP members, Sebastian and Theresa have opted for opposition politics. Mmolawa finally finds herself pursuing her passion for politics, as she has always believed that she has what it takes to be one (politician).

In 2012, she quit her teaching profession after 30 years and was the school head at Maoka Community Junior Secondary School in Gaborone at the time.

She had gone through the ranks and files of teaching and by her admission, she enjoyed interacting and working with the people.

“I am an advocate of equality and human rights. I believe that people should be treated equally regardless of their background, especially the less privileged whom my heart goes out for them,” declares the retired educationist-cum-politician.

She holds a strong view that in our societies, the downtrodden are less regarded, “but those are the people who make the world go round”.As a retired educationist and now active in politics, Mmolawa loves working with youth, women, men and other sections of the society.

She is a fearless character and when she believes in something, it will not be easy to let it go, no matter how many people believe otherwise.

 She believes that since nothing comes easy in life, people have to sweat to achieve more.

She cut her political teeth in 2012 whilst in the civil service as a teacher and school head for that matter. She actually fell in love with the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) then and its leadership under the late Gomolemo Motswaledi although her mind was yet to be made up to join the party.

At the time she opted to join the BMD, she was hurt by the predicament Motswaledi found himself in when he was ordered by the court to pay the legal fees in his matter with former president Ian Khama whom he had taken to court and lost the case with costs.

Mmolawa who had a soft spot for the BMD reminisced of the then circumstances that compelled her to consider the BMD her political home.She was particularly touched by the reports that Motswaledi’s property was to be attached to settle the legal costs and there was a campaign to raise funds towards paying Motswaledi’s legal bill.

She left her office and headed straight to the BMD’s where she joined party well-wishers and paid what she could afford towards assisting Motswaledi.

During the 2011 public sector trade unions strike, which has since been dubbed the mother-of-all-strikes, as a school head, Mmolowa felt her striking teachers had a reason to, considering a plethora of issues they had with the employer.“As the school head I felt that the teachers were right to fight for their rights and nobody should stop anybody in the process as long as they were not destroying school property.”

About 100% of her schoolteachers had joined the strike to the dislike of the education authorities that wondered why it was the case.

“The whole affair did not sit well with my supervisors, but I told them there was nothing I could do as they were fighting for a just course. At the school heads’ conference, I was told to write the names of those who did not go to the strike and it was nil.”

To her, teachers were simply fighting for their rights and were not out of order to be faulted at all.

“Those teachers were actually helping some of us who were not privileged to engage in such an act,” she noted. Despite her political beliefs, her school, she says, never performed below 80% in the Junior Certificate examinations because of good inter-personal relations that she had established with the

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teachers and students.“Working with people is my mastery. Of course there will always be cases where people will not agree with you and it’s good to always know how to handle some of the challenges,” she opened up.

Mmolawa went into 2014 general elections shortly after losing her supportive husband under the banner of the UDC and despite that major setback; she took a challenge to contest, less than five months into the general elections.

Party male politicians were approached to represent the party at Francistown East constituency, but because it was late, they had declined. She came up with a condition for her candidature. Her condition was that she would get the requisite support from the UDC, a coalition of opposition parties that included the BMD, which was granted.

She was attracted by the type of leadership that the UDC had including Motswaledi, Wynter Mmolotsi, Ndaba Gaolathe and Pius Mokgware amongst others.

She believes in leadership that is honest, truthful and of undoubted integrity.  Because of her loyalty to the party and its leadership, she would later be co-opted into the BMD central committee as an additional member. She does not have any problem that she has changed political homes and the people in her constituency have no problems too. She has been promised votes by the masses.

“My answer for the change in the party is simple.  I believe in peace and stability, where I will purely represent people and not for personal gain.

 I feel at home to explain to the people, the problems we experienced in Bobonong where the party cadres fought and injured each other,” she explained with her hands now raised in the air, animated.

She conceded that the Bobonong saga did not augur well with them, as it didn’t reflect the ideal political organisation they dreamt of.

The AP has come up with a team of councillors gathered from all walks of life in an endeavour to make an impact. They have trade unionists, pastors, young people and businesspeople-cum-politicians, both men and women amongst others.

Mmolawa knows very well that she is canvassing for support in a constituency that is ravaged by youth unemployment mostly graduate that loiter in the streets without jobs.

She is worried in that she does not see anything tangible being done to rescue young people from unemployment that continues to spiral out of control forcing some of the young people to engage in crime. At worst, Mmolawa has not seen any MP from Francistown-East articulating issues of youth in Parliament with a view to finding a lasting solution. To her, it has just been talk and talk without any solution.

“Tati Nickel Mining Company has closed. Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Francistown abattoir has also closed and this has literally brought Francistown to its knees,” she declared worriedly. As a retired educationist, a Masters’ Degree in Education Management holder, Mmolowa has conceded that the local curriculum is concerned with teaching students more on theory than practicals and this has paralysed them as they cannot create jobs and employ others.

“Young people have been given rural-based projects in rearing small stock many of the projects that never saw the light of day.  We need to change if we were to help the youth out of their predicament.”Mmolawa describes the AP as a party of pragmatists and their councillors are going to know their areas from A to Z and their plan is to turnaround representation of people.

“AP as the name of the party is new, but we are not new in this area, let any party dismiss or doubt us at their own peril,” she warned.Her main concern is the issue of political funding which she says is skewed in favour of the ruling BDP that gets funding from the business community, which does not do the same for the opposition parties.

“If you are a woman, it’s not even easy to amass resources to elevate the campaigns unless one is from the ruling party,” she says, appealing to the BDP government to consider funding political parties during the elections.

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