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Presidential bid: Venson-Moitoi’s two worlds

Publishing Date : 07 January, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

After the Women’s and Youth Wings of her own party distanced themselves from her candidacy, Dr. (Mrs.) Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has received support from far places, this week the African Youth Union Commission (AYUC) wrote to congratulate her on the Presidential bid and further encouraged her to continue bringing diversity to the democratic space like she did in her bid for the African Union Commission chairmanship.


The former Minister has expressed interest to challenge incumbent BDP leader, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi for the position of party president, a move that forced the President to drop her from cabinet. She has also been labelled a stooge sent by former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama to topple Masisi. Former President Khama has declared that he supports Venson-Moitoi’s bid for Presidency and said democracy should be allowed to take course.


In a letter addressed to Venson-Moitoi, the African Youth Union Commission (AYUC) notes, “We are hugely elated to have you here Madam, our very distinguished *Matron* extraordinaire of the African Youth Union Commission (AYUC).” “We cannot thank you enough for the moral support you have provided us, all reinforced in your interest in the young people of Africa; to be truly empowered and celebrated in their various fields of capacities. While as a Minister in the Present Cabinet in Botswana, we were satisfied by your commitment towards uplifting women and youth, particularly in your deliberate and conscious programmes that seek to address social and economic inequalities of Women and Youth in Botswana,” reads the letter penned by Dr Carl Oshodi, the chairperson of the AYUC .


Oshodi tells Venson-Moitoi that: “… as a Candidate for the AUC Chairperson in 2017, we also saw first-hand your Leadership and passion to take AFRICA to greater height through repositioning people oriented and pro-Africa reforms. This was adopted by President Paul Kagame as Chairperson of the African Union, a legacy and ideology you initiated.  You are indeed a *Jinx* breaker and we at AYUC are proud to associate with you.”


Furthermore, Oshodi says as a Presidential nominee in the next Presidential bid in Botswana, they pray for the good people of Botswana to be passionate enough to see through pedestrian politics, into the passion Venson-Moitoi has for an economically viable Botswana, premised on the people as a critical components for democracy, good governance, economic sustainability and freedom.

LOCALLY SHE WILL NEED ALL THE HELP

But those close to Venson-Moitoi locally indicate that she will need all the help she can get. They note that she has worked for difficult and different people for a long time. “Her view is that she can no longer watch in the hope that things will improve. So much talk, promise and commitment in vain... action and good old fashioned hard work is what we all need to see. I know she is the best for this role. I believe many do too.


She has always stepped aside for the greater good of the party. It’s an open secret that she disproved of Masisi as Vice President, and former President Khama had to convince her and Cabinet. Too many times she has been over looked. As she should have been Vice President then. But the fear of the tribalism argument overcame sense,” said a close associate of Venson-Moitoi.


Venson-Moitoi is of the view that Botswana has suffered the most for this. She says Botswaba needs leaders with proven track records aligned to the youth and young leaders of tomorrow. According to Venson-Moitoi Botswana needs a leader who is already respected in Africa and does not need to waste energy finding friends. “We need a leader in Botswana who is not known to shy away from work, taking on big issues or tackling governance short falls head on... The BDP must have more leaders like this within its ranks.”


However some are of the view that the BDP struggles to attract and worse still to retain leaders. This is because any differing voice is met with anger and victimization. “So many issues are settled in court outside of the Party’s own systems... have we lost so much faith in our structures and processes?... this party is sick... however what is positive is that it is not Dead! It can recover under the leadership of a sensible and experienced leader... Mma Vee will be amazing as President given the chance,” said a supporter of Venson’Moitoi’s bid who preferred anonymity. Her supporters posit that if she is not successful in her bid she will certainly have shaken the cage. “Hopefully enough so that this BDP can introspect and reflect. It has to be better. Botswana needs it to be.”


THE AU COMMISSION BID

Venson-Moitoi, then Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Botswana bid for the African Union Commission chairmanship in 2017 on the grounds that she has the expertise, qualifications and experience in both private and public sectors to serve as the next AUC Chairperson. Dr. Venson-Moitoi said she decided to seek election as the AUC chairperson so as to serve the continent. She said, "Africa cannot expect to be developed by anyone else but by her own people. This is not likely to happen if we do not offer ourselves for tasks that we may feel and know we have the capability to do."


Her campaign team covered every region on the continent, canvassing for votes. Her team comprised of Botswana's former President Festus Mogae and other legislators who have been making some diplomatic offensive to ask other States to vote for her. At the time Venson-Moitoi said, "My 40-year track record provides SADC and Africa with someone who has both private and public sector experience to deliver on Agenda 2063. I have the proven experience and nuanced insight to be able to make a most meaningful contribution and bring to the AU and its member states all that is required within this role."

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