Saturday, February 27, 2021

Amid confusion Francistown West constituents yearn for quality representation in parliament

As the political race to replace the late Member of Parliament for Francistown West Tshelang Masisi heats up, people in the constituency are expressing divergent opinions on the kind of representation they are yearning for to address various problems bedeviling their constituency.
The constituency is plagued by a variety of problems ranging from poor infrastructure, poverty to unemployment amongst others. Some of the impoverished locations in the constituency include Gerald Estates, Kgaphamadi and Bluetown.
At the time of going to press and following the issuing of the writ of the by-election slated for 23 November, confusion reigned supreme as to whether the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) would be represented as the winner of its primaries Ignatius Moswaane has been interdicted by Lobatse High Court from contesting following an urgent application by one of the losers, Whyte Marobela.
Campaigns for opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) are already in full swing. BCP is represented by Dr Habaudi Hobona while UDC is represented by Shathiso Tambula of the Botswana Peoples Party.
In an interview, a resident of Bluetown location Meshack Livingstone lamented disappointment over poor infrastructure and high unemployment in the area.
“Bluetown is one of the oldest locations in Francistown, but there is nothing to show for it. The infrastructure is poor and many people in the location are unemployed. We really need a parliamentary candidate who will voice our concerns in parliament. Nowadays some politicians are only in politics for their own selfish interests,” he said.
He added that although the late Masisi had his shortcomings in addressing their problems, he was a down to earth person who mingled with the constituents and had the plight of the poor at heart.
“I cannot deny that Masisi had his own weaknesses as a politician, but he worked hard for this constituency. He was a hands-on person who mingled with everyone regardless of their social status. He was also very humble and we need a representative of such caliber,” said Livingstone.
James Manga of Kgaphamadi location equally expressed similar sentiments bemoaning poor infrastructure, poverty and unemployment in the constituency. He lamented the poor state of roads and water systems in their location.
“We really need a capable Member of Parliament who will represent the interest of the voters in parliament and not his own personal interests. I personally feel that Masisi did not do much for this constituency. Most of the youth are roaming the streets and living in abject poverty. The sad thing about some politicians is that they only visit their constituents when the elections are near,” he said.
A resident of Monarch West, Manko Akanyang said the late Masisi was a humble politician who cared much about the underprivileged and had the interest of the poor at heart.
“We want to vote for a politician who has the interest of people at heart such as the late Masisi. He was a hands on person who was never embarrassed to be seen around in the company of the poor or the under privileged. Most of the times, Masisi would be seen with elderly people, the disabled and the poor to listen to their grievances. He was always in jolly mood. We want such kind of politicians who will be able to continue his legacy,” she said.
On what developments he would bring to the Francistown West constituency in the event he wins the by-election, Tambula promised to firstly address the problems bedeviling Gerald Estates location.
“In Gerald Estates there is no junior secondary school and some children have to walk five to eight km to attend school in the city. Most of the parents in Gerald Estates location are low income earners and cannot afford to pay transport fees for their children. Some of the children end up failing in school because of these challenges,” he said.
Tambula added that he will address the problem of waste collection in Francistown West constituency as it is posing a serious health hazards to residents.
Before this week’s court injunction against his BDP candidacy Moswaane had vowed to address the issue of poverty among Batswana in the constituency.
“It is sad that although Botswana is economically doing well, many Batswana are still languishing in poverty. This is the first thing that I want to address when I get to parliament,” he said.
He also said he wanted to advocate for a junior and senior secondary school in Gerald Estates as children have to travel long distances to attend secondary education in town.
Moswaane further lamented poor roads in Kgaphamadi location, Bluetown and Area W. He said there is need to construct new roads in these locations to better the lives of the residents.
“My other concern is education. There is a lot of school drop outs in the constituency and there is a need for them to be given a second chance to study. With education, one can create a good future for themselves. I want to voice all these issues should I win elections and get to parliament,” he said.
Dr Hobona said should she win the by- election, she will lobby government to construct a junior secondary school for Gerald Estates residents as their children are suffering.
“Children in Gerald Estates are suffering because they have to travel seven to eight kilometers to attend school in town. In any settlement education should be treated as a priority,” she said.
Among other issues Dr Hobona said that although Francistown West has the oldest locations such as Monarch, Kgaphamadi and Bluetown, it is still lagging behind in terms of development.
“Francistown West is comprised of the oldest locations, but it is under-developed. There are no business service centres in the area and residents have to travel several kilometers to the city to access facilities,” she said.

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