Masimolole, Mabaila on a collision course

Nicholas Mokwena
Tuesday, 02 May 2017
Tshepang Mabaila Tshepang Mabaila

Masimolole allegedly complains to OP that Mabaila is campaigning inconspicuously in Mogoditshane
‘If indeed I am campaigning why is Masimolole bothered? Why can’t he campaign himself?’- Mabaila

President Ian Khama is said to have snubbed a meeting by former Assistant Education Minister Patrick Masimolole where he wanted to lodge a complaint over campaigns in Mogoditshane. A highly-placed source close to the development told this publication that Masimolole who is vying for a parliamentary seat under Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in Mogoditshane, is accusing other interested candidates especially Tshepang Mabaila of Mabaila Foundation, of campaigning indirectly in the constituency.

Mabaila’s crime is his continued noble cause of donating for various sectors of the society in Mogoditshane. Masimolole is the second person to express concern about Mabaila. The first was BDP Labour Sub- Committee Deputy Chairman Kgang Kgang. Mabaila, according to BDP insiders, is one of the party leaders who are Ian Khama’s untouchable men. BDP insiders in the area say Mabaila’s conduct constitutes campaigning and that he is positioning himself to face others during this year’s BDP Bulela-Ditswe.

Mabaila is a Principal Health and Safety Officer at the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services. He is due to retire from the public service next month.
“These donations are political but are being made in the name of charity. Everyone knows that Mabaila has an interest in the constituency as he wants to contest during the primaries for opposition-held constituencies this year,” said a source in Mogoditshane close to Masimolole.

Other BDP members who have been linked to the Constituency are Kgang and BDP Youth Wing Treasurer Bruce Nkgakile. The constituency is currently under Sedirwa Kgoroba of Umbrella for Democratic Change who wrestled it from the BDP during the 2014 general election. Masimolole who came third in the polls after Botswana Congress Party’s Tumiso Rakgare, filed a court application challenging the results. He later withdrew the case.

Masimolole’s contention with Mabaila’s donations is that this would disadvantage some of the contenders while sources feel that it contradicts a resolution taken last month at the BDP National Council in Gaborone which bars candidates from campaigning before the set date, which must be communicated by the party central committee. Mabaila, a former military officer, is said to be a close ally of the President. He started his foundation in 2012 after resigning from Botswana Defence Force (BDF).

Masimolole and team are said to have gone to the Office of the President on Tuesday hoping to meet the party leader to lodge the complaint. They were however, according to information gathered by this publication, turned down by Senior Private Secretary to the President George Tlhalerwa. Tlhalerwa allegedly told them that OP is not a party office and they could not be allowed to see the president on political party matters. Mabaila foundation recently donated spectacles to the elderly in Mogoditshane at Mogoditshane main Kgotla. The elderly persons were identified in the constituency and sent to a specialist doctor who made recommendations for spectacles so that they could regain their vision.

Mabaila Foundation also donated 10 full school uniforms to orphaned children and 10 fruit trees to each and every Kgotla in Mogoditshane Mabaila revealed at that time that as someone passionate about education he has launched academic awards of excellence for schools in the area from Primary to Senior School. According to information from the foundation the best performing teacher gets P20 000. Best performing students primary, junior and senior each gets P5 000. As for schools the best primary school gets P10 000, junior school P15 000 and senior school when it performs well gets P20 000.

Tlhalerwa was not available for comment as his office line and that of his secretary rang unanswered. Masimolole who kept deferring the interview as he said he was in a meeting since morning would later not pick his phone. Kgang confirmed that he is concerned about the way Mabaila is politically maneuvering in the name of the foundation. He wondered why the foundation is only focusing in Mogoditshane. The former Kweneng Region Chairman said he has not taken any step to report the matter to the party. His opinion is that Mabaila is a civil servant and should not meddle in party politics.

He said Mabaila once approached him and others suggesting that there should be a compromise. According to Kgang, relevant party structures and government departments should have long acted because this is not right.

For his part Mabaila fumed that if indeed Masimolole had attempted to report to the President it would be unfortunate. He said that would be tantamount to lack of respect for what he does for the residents of Mogoditshane, a village he has lived in for a decade. He said Masimolole should instead embrace what his foundation is doing for the constituency. “If indeed I am campaigning why is Masimolole bothered? Why can’t he campaign himself? If there was a problem it was to be raised by area MP Sedirwa Kgoroba not Masimolole.

I will continue doing what I have been doing in Mogoditshane whether Masimolole likes it or not. “That is disrespect for me as a young person trying to change lives something he could not do as area MP for 15 years. I am the tenth person to donate a house under the Presidential Housing Scheme, was that a campaign or I was responding to a presidential call or plea,” lashed out Mabaila. Regarding Kgang, Mabaila said the former is the one who approached him and told him to leave his constituency alone.

Mabaila explained that he has since dismissed Kgang because Mogoditshane is not his constituency. He revealed that if he were to campaign he would meet Masimolole at the freedom square. Mabaila said as a resident of Mogoditshane he prides himself in what he did for the constituency such as helping Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School to perform well by moving from being number 12 to being number six (6) best performing senior school in Form 5 results.

He declined to confirm his candidacy for the constituency maintaining that he is a public servant. “I am leaving the public service at the end of May. I will call a press conference then to let you know my plans going forward.”As if this is not enough Mabaila Foundation is fencing cemeteries in Mogoditshane and is scheduled from next week to paint residential houses in Mogoditshane. According to the foundation any house that is deemed in need of painting or repainting to give it a fresh look, will be painted.


Last modified on Tuesday, 02 May 2017 14:18

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