Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) legislator James Mathokgwane, who’s unexpected resignation sent shock waves through out country and immediately landed a job at the Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit(SPEDU) could be heading for an appointment he is not well qualified for, further fueling speculation that he has sold out his former political home.
He is said to be appointed as SPEDU’s Regional Director. SPEDU is a regional business and economy management agency. Information reaching this publication is that Mathokgwane only qualified in theology and social work, but has no formal business training.
The former MP has qualifications in Theology from Kenya and studied Social Work at the University of Botswana, according to information passed on to this publication. “I know Mathokgwane from back in 1999 when he was our UB SRC President. He led the SRC which had the likes of Tshiamo Rantao who is now an Attorney. Mathokgwane is a Social Worker by profession, a UB graduate. I do not know if he is capable of doing business administration,” said one source who claims to know Mathokgwane.The job Mathokgwane assumes requires him to lead a team of local managers and support staff to meet the operational needs of the organization. This position is commonly found in retail, distribution and service firms. SPEDU has been mandated to, among others, further the economic development and regeneration of the Selibe Phikwe Region, according to Ministry of Trade and Industry. According to the ministry, SPEDU should promote business efficiency and competitiveness in the region, and to promote inward investment and trade facilitation with a view to secure the long term survival of Selibe Phikwe and the surrounding regions, beyond the closure of the Bamangwato Concession Limited (BCL) Mine and Smelter.
Sadique Kebonang and Mathokgwane’s relationship
Those close to Mathokgwane allge a close relationship with Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Sadique Kebonang, which spearheads SPEDU. There are allegations that the moneyed assistant minister may have funded Mathokgwane’s 2014 general elections campaign in which he emerged triumphant against BDP’s Kitso Mokaila. The two locked horns in an intense political battle for the Goodhope-Mabule constituency, which Mathokgwane later dumped for the government job. Further allegations are that the BDP had a succession plan and Mokaila was not part of it.
“Who knows, he might have been bought out by BDP for political advantage. BDP is a party that is fading and it will do anything to frustrate the opposition. But Mathokgwane has never been a straight guy in his life. I know him personally. Remember he once dumped BNF for BDP,” alleged a source.
Why a job offer instead of defection?
Insiders said the BDP is convinced that it will easily win the Goodhope-Mabule constituency because UDC voters are disillusioned after Mathokgwane’s untimely resignation. Mothokgwane garnered 6,712 votes while Mokaila collected 6,101 in the 2014 general elections. BDP political observers believe it is easy to convince and change 600 people.
“At that constituency BDP fought against itself and influential party members wanted Mokaila to lose so bad. He knew they will oust him and bring him back again. It is the nature of BDP politics,” said the source.
Mokaila was also seen as a political liability because his ministry was seen as failing in terms of delivering electricity and water, according to the source. “BDP is going to be brutal and ruthless towards the upcoming general elections because in 2014 elections, they were humiliated. Mathokgwane’s resignation can only be nothing but BDP’s dirty plan,” said a source.
It is believed the parliamentary seat dumped by Mathokgwane is being “earmarked” for Minister of Presidential Affairs and public administration Eric Molale, who is close to President Ian Khama. This is part of BDP’s succession plan, sources say. Efforts to reach both Mathokgwane and Kebonang were futile as their phones rang unanswered. Kebonang however sent a message and said he was too busy to talk.