Thursday, October 22, 2020

Parliament votes to save Lobatse through economic diversification

Parliament has adopted a motion calling for the SPEDU-like Economic Diversification unit for Lobatse.

Member of Parliament for the area, Nehemiah Modubule, requested government to consider establishing an Economic Diversification Unit for Lobatse, which he said was quickly becoming a ghost town.

Except for the Minister of Trade and Industry, her assistant and few ruling party MPs, parliamentarians across the political divide endorsed the motion last Friday.

Even some assistant ministers gave the thumbs-up to the opposition sponsored motion.

On the floor, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Olebile Gaborone supported the motion.
He called on his ruling Botswana Democratic Party colleagues to leave partisan politics and face reality.

“For the sake of unity we should leave behind party politics,” Gaborone warned, insisting he understood the rationale of the motion better.

He said industries and developments should not be centred in one place but should be seen elsewhere including in the West and East.

With the ailing of the once fledging Botswana Meat Commission, the closure of Lobatse Teachers Training College, Gaborone indicated something should be done about Lobatse before it is too late.

“People have become jobless as a result of the evacuation of Lobatse TTC,” he said, advising his government to prioritise before shooting down the motion.

MP for Selebi-Phikwe West, Gilson Saleshando, also advised the ruling party governance to adopt the motion by Modubule.
“The motion is genuine,” he said, adding when his Selebi-Phikwe town was in trouble some years ago the government came to the rescue.

Saleshando wondered why the same could not be afforded to Lobatse.

“If it was viable for Selebi-Phikwe why not for Lobatse?” he questioned, maintaining that it is traditional for the ruling party to always shoot down plausible and substantial motions to frustrate the opposition.

Contributing to the motion Kgatleng West MP, Gilbert Mangole, called for the ‘LOBEDU initiative’ if the government was not comfortable with SPEDU for Lobatse.

He was referring to SPEDU, the acronym for the Economic Diversification Unit for Selebi-Phikwe as opposed to LOBEDU for Lobatse.

For his part Modubule thanked those who supported the motion.

To showcase his genuine grievances Modubule said the meteorological services were not in Lobatse and so were consumer affairs department and Local Entreprise Agency.

“We once had a fledging Lobatse tile industry but it has since diminished with the embattled Botswana Development Corporation,” he said, responding to MP’s remarks.

Put to the question by the Speaker of House, the MP’s eventually gave the motion the green light.

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