Mophuting dreams big

Mophuting dreams big
Mophuting dreams big

Africa-Press – Botswana. Maipelo Mophuting, who recently beat former Gaborone City Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe and veteran Motsumi Marobela at the Botswana National Front’s (BNF) Primary elections for Bonnington North Constituency has revealed why she decided to join politics and addressed accusations from the duo that she was favoured by the party president to win the primaries.

Mophuting acknowledged that she enjoys a cordial and open comradeship with the President of BNF, Duma Boko.

“His support and desire for women representation in leadership roles is a well known reality in the organisation,” Mophuting explained that even though that is the case, Boko does not have the authority to dictate to members which candidate they should vote into a position.

Furthermore, she explained that the BNF adopted a resolution which stipulates that there should be 30 percent women representation, and where women desire to stand, men should pave way for the women. “When I expressed my desire to run, the Women’s League (not President Boko) through their Secretary General, reached out to me and asked that I express my interest through the Women’s League, so that I go unchallenged especially because I am the only Woman Parliament candidate who has shown interest to contest,” Mophuting said.

She revealed that despite this policy, she decided to swim against the tide and declined the offer because she felt it was right to allow everyone irrespective of gender to contest in the primary elections. “Moreover winning in such a platform should be an endorsement by the majority of the rank and file, of my strong leadership capabilities.”

Mophuting explains that there was no favouritism that she received and that she would at times privately express to some of her comrades that she was not getting support at all from the leadership. She says her victory stems from being visible and present on the ground and she managed to convince the majority to vote for her. Her initial target was to convince at least 120 people but she got more.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for selecting me for such a time as this, I am under no illusion that I’m here by nothing more than his grace and mercy. I thank the President for his astute leadership and support; I thank my comrades Kagiso Thutlwe and Motsumi Marobela, the gallant men who entered the race with me and have honoured me by expressing their will to continue to support the organisation even though they feel aggrieved by the outcome,” Mophuting stated.

Mophuting explained that she did not pursue politics but politics pursued her. As she studied International Studies, which is a multidisciplinary course that encompasses Politics, Economics, Communications, furthermore circumscribing Foreign Policies, and Governments, and looking into the design, legislature and business practices of Sovereign States. Her plan post her university studies was to open up an advisory firm that assist African governments.

“Politics pursued me in the sense that from my time as a university student, I always found my path connected to social circles of prominent political figures or their children, and doing work for them, mostly female politicians, behind the scenes, in one advisory role or another, especially in Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa, where I lived with a prominent woman politician who currently occupies a cabinet position in the Ramaphosa administration,” she explains.

She revealed that the decision to run for Public Office in 2024 was inspired by a recent battle between her and other Botswana Red Cross Society volunteers against the current Secretariat of Red Cross.

“What we exposed at the Botswana Red Cross Society, acutely managed to pull the rug from what we viewed as institutionalised corruption and mis-management of Government Resources that has been taking place there for many years,” Mophuting motivation to run for office under the banner of the UDC stems from the fact that it is a relatively youthful and progressive political project led by a visionary leader who continues to bring together like-minded Batswana.

Her vision for the constituency is to represent, noting that her opinions may not right now reflect the UDC position on pivotal matters but she looks forward to unpacking more on these topics during her campaign trail and in the UDC manifesto.

She explained that her vision for Education Reforms in Gaborone Bonnington North is in perfect alignment with the UDC’s unwavering stance to “Adopt Education-with-Production (EwP); prioritise vocational skills from primary schools (work oriented); strengthen school industry linkage to eliminate divergence of curriculum from work. She pointed out that health facilities have become white elephants in Botswana as they do not provide services they are meant to. Mophuting believes that there should be more push for programs which will look at screening for NCDs such as diabetes.

Mophuting acknowledged strategies aimed at enhancing women’s participation in the economy. However, despite these initiatives, women still face higher vulnerability to poverty and unemployment, hindering their access to political, social, and economic opportunities. She emphasised the need for mainstreaming gender perspectives across all levels of policies and programs, citing a lack of gender lens in budgeting processes as a significant challenge.

Expressing the UDC’s commitment to gender equality and women empowerment, she outlined five key areas for sustained development, including education, professional skills, financial access, healthcare, and mentorship. On youth development, Mophuting advocated for a tailored approach, involving constituency-wide tours and collaboration with local councilors to gather input directly from youth. This grassroots approach aims to identify and implement programs that address the unique needs of each ward, fostering job creation and keeping youth engaged positively.

Shifting focus to curbing illicit financial flows and tax injustice, she highlighted Africa’s staggering loss of over USD 1 trillion in illicit financial flows over the past five decades. Recognising the detrimental impact on domestic resources and essential public services, she emphasised the urgency of supporting domestic resource mobilisation efforts. As a member of the African Parliamentary Network on Illicit Financial Flows and Tax, she further pledged to advocate extensively on the issue during their campaign.

Her areas of interest and passion are Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, Curbing Illicit Financial Flows and Tax Injustice in Botswana and Africa and youth development.

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