Councillors in Francistown have rejected a proposal for a street in the city to be named after former Member of Parliament (MP) for Sebina/ Gweta, Mudongo Maswikiti, saying he never played any role in the history and development of the city.
Maswikiti was one of the first Botswana MP’s and he served in parliament for 23 years. He passed away in 2011. In February 2013, the FCC resolved to review the city’s street names, remove names that were used by colonial settlers in the Central Business District (CBD) area and replace them with names of local heroes.
The resolution was taken in accordance with Regulation 28 of the Township Act which empowers councils to name streets within their area of jurisdiction. When responding to an action plan report by Deputy Town Clerk (Technical) Robert Letlole on Monday, the Francistown councillors rejected Maswikiti’s name, saying Francistown has many heroes who deserve to be honoured before the late MP can be considered. Letlole had proposed that Guy Street should be renamed Mudongo Maswikiti Street. But his proposal was vehemently opposed by the councillors.
Councilor for Boikhutso ward, Robert Mosweu, said Maswikiti was not a significant figure in the history of Francistown.
“Maswikiti didn’t contribute anything towards the history of Francistown. He was an MP for Sebina Gweta. Naming of streets should be based on what an individual did or contributed in his time. I don’t think there was proper consultation and engagement with the community when Maswikiti was considered,” he said.
Mosweu suggested that instead Guy Street should be renamed John Bogatsu Street after the first Motswana mayor of Francistown. The same sentiments were echoed by former Francistown mayor Shadreck Nyeku, who said there are many people who contributed to the history of Francistown who deserve to be honoured. He supported Mosweu’s proposal that Guy Street should be renamed John Bogatsu Street.
Councillor Kays Phitshane of Botsalano ward said care must be taken to make sure that Francistown’s heroes and heroines are given the respect they deserve. He said people like Philip Matante are the ones who deserve much respect because they contributed immensely towards the development of the city.
Francistown mayor, James Kgalajwe, agreed with the councillors that there is need for further consultations with the community so they can come up with suitable names.
The councillors agreed that Blue Jacket Street should be renamed James Ntuane Street in honour of one of the city’s longest serving mayors.