Sixteen years still trying his luck as a parliamentary aspirant in the Francistown East constituency, private attorney Morgan Moseki is raring to go against all odds and beams hope that 2019 is his year. Mmegi Staff Writer RYDER GABATHUSE speaks to the politician who has a leaning to politics of the left
FRANCISTOWN: The journey to Parliament might seem hopeless and impossible for Moseki who has been trying his luck albeit without success, but the attorney-cum-politician is confident more than ever before that there is no better time than the 2019 general elections.
His rough journey started in 2003, a year after his early retirement from the public service when he tried his luck in a by-election precipitated by the abrupt departure of former area MP Joy Phumaphi. He stood against another political green horn, Phandu Skelemani who had just retired from the civil service as the attorney general.
Skelemani won the by-election but Moseki did not seem perturbed by the loose, as ‘it was a by-election anyway’.
He knew another chance was coming in the 2004 general elections where he would face Skelemani again. That chance came and to his utter shock, Skelemani beat him again via a margin of 3,255 votes to Moseki’s 1,429. Worse, on the side of councillors, it was a complete white wash with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) scoring six councillors to the Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) zero.
Even with this poor performance by the BCP, Moseki was least worried hoping that his team will have its day, as politics is dynamic and not static. He was confident a chance would come to redeem himself.
True to his belief, a revolution happened in the 2009 general election when the BCP won four council seats out of six in the Francistown East constituency.
Skelemani this time was skating on thin ice as he won the parliamentary seat via 3,598 votes to Moseki’s 3,130 votes.
He survived with two council seats, Buti Billy of Satellite South and James Kgalajwe of Satellite North.
“Look, inspite of the fact that I had won four wards out of six; I could not win the parliamentary seat.”
Moseki’s observation was that if the council votes were combined, they surpassed his parliamentary votes and he attributes this to the thinking that, “people were for BCP councillors and Skelemani for Parliament”. In simple terms, people preferred Skelemani should win and they wanted to change the councillors.
He emphasised: “It was a revolution from 1,400 and 3,255 votes to 3,130 and 3,598. I had reduced the margin and he had won”.
Moseki’s argument is that in 2014, the constituency was almost his and he had no reason to lose it at all. He is worried by one development that occurred in 2014 that was beyond his control.
“But, you see the arrival of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) into the scene turned things around against me of course. The UDC was like Gukurahindi (the storm) if you like. Certainly, I knew the UDC would not beat the BCP.”
Moseki has always known that competition was between the BCP and the BDP, but he was however, worried by the performance of the UDC at Donga ward, an area infested with public servants post the 2011 public servants mother-of-all-strikes.
“My worries tended to be true as the Donga ward voted for the UDC as punishment for the BCP’s non-proactive participation at the 2011 strike whilst the UDC was a part of it.”
The BCP punishment stems from the reality that although the BCP had promised to be part of the conglomerate through the UDC, it didn’t honour that earlier promise hence the attitude of the public servants traceable from the voting patterns in some wards.
“Where there were more civil servants, they voted more for the UDC. That’s why I was interested in Donga because I saw it coming,” Moseki conceded.
To him, the constituency was for him to win, but because of the UDC factor, it affected him and in simple terms that’s how he lost it. He insists that there were people who insisted that the UDC was going to win the constituency hence a shift in the public servants support.
The way Moseki looked at the dynamics in the constituency, if he lost it, it will chiefly be due to the UDC factor and this time around he amassed more votes than the votes of his councillors combined.
During the 2014 general election, there were people especially trade union members who thought that the UDC would have impact.
“I can tell you that people regretted after that. They regretted because the BDP won after all which they didn’t want to see happening.”
What Moseki has discovered as his team traversed the length and breadth of the constituency is people tell them to work even harder, a promise that he says provides light at the end of the tunnel.
He sees no reason at all for the UDC to lose the constituency, as the people now know him.
Secondly, now that the BCP is part of the UDC conglomerate as the voters had suggested that they should come together further gives Moseki hope of the opposition performing much better as the people’s project.
Quizzed about anything that the new UDC has that is different from the last elections, Moseki was quick to point out that this time around, opposition parties are united and stronger and have a programme, which they promise the voters.
“We have no reason to lose and the people are rallying behind us. They see us as one and an alternative, a serious alternative for that matter.”
Moseki is of the view that looking at Francistown casually, one might rush to the conclusion that the city is behaving like there is no land for expansion, but there is land, especially in Francistown East. He pointed at the side of Donga Extension estate as a potential area for expansion.
He said generally Francistown land is black cotton soil, a swamp or marshland if you like which can be improved to be suitable for use as the people need land of their own and stop renting out incessantly. He decried the reality that under the BDP government, jobs were deliberately killed with the closure of the BCL Group mines at both Selebi-Phikwe and the Tati Nickel Mining Company, shedding off thousands of jobs.
He also mentioned the shutting down of the Francistown Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) abattoir as a blow to farmers around the city who now have no market for their cattle.
He noted that under the leadership of the late president Sir Ketumile Masire, both BCL and the BMC abattoir were underperforming, but they were aided out of their deathbeds.
“In other jurisdictions, you destroy the economy, you are gone. Therefore, this is no time to be thinking the BDP after your economy has been battered by wrong decision-making,” he appealed. When other people cry they spend hefty budgets in their campaigns, Moseki considers Francistown East to be relatively small and manageable.
“I don’t have money to splash and I do the walkabouts and talk to the people who seem to understand the language spoken by the UDC,” he explained indicating that maybe his undoing could be his failure to splash money in his campaigns.
Moseki, who considers politics as a calling to him, cut his political teeth whilst in the civil service in the 1980s whilst in Gaborone where he followed the founding father of the Botswana National Front (BNF) Dr Kenneth Koma religiously.
At the time, Moseki was not actively involved until he followed the founders of the BCP in 1998.
His love for opposition politics never affected his job as he rose to the position of assistant registrar and master of the High Court until he left the civil service. Next month Moseki turns 63-years-old and he admits he is not growing any younger.
“So now age is catching up with me and I can’t be trying and trying. I am in the race as we speak, but as soon as I delivered the win by the Francistown Easterners, I will be their leader and I don’t intend to remain in politics forever.”
He promises to serve with diligence, but insists he cannot remain forever in politics, as he would have played his part more so he is at the tail end of his career. He has fought many political battles, but come the 2019 polls, he is ready to deliver victory that has been elusive for the past 16 years.