Rumours are rife in the Gantsi grapevine that former cabinet minister and area Member of Parliament (MP), Johnnie Swartz, is being considered for the post of Gantsi District Commissioner (DC).
The rumour is still new meaning that only time will tell whether there is any substance to it. Asked if he knows anything about such plans, Swartz responded in the negative. Pressed to state if he would take up the DC post was such offer to be made to him, he gave a non-committal answer that he chose to lace with a spicy anecdote.
“I don’t want to speculate. I said that I’m hearing about for the first time. No offer has been made to me and your question wants me to give an answer about an offer that hasn’t been made to me,” said Swartz, and in apparent attempt to demonstrate the ridiculousness of the latter question, likens it to asking a woman if she would accept the romantic overtures of a man who hasn’t even propositioned her. “Likewise, I can’t speculate on an offer that hasn’t been made to me.”
Following the transfer of Andina Dintwa to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development in June this year, Gantsi has not had a substantive District Commissioner. Since then Keolopile Leipego, who was Deputy DC stationed in Charleshill, has been acting as DC. Sources allege that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has not forgiven DCs that it suspects of being opposition party sympathisers who may have played a role in its loss of certain constituencies. Punishment, the story goes, is coming in the form of either redeploying or not renewing the contracts of such DCs. In addition to Dintwa, the contract of Utlwanang Kerekang, who was Kweneng DC, was not renewed and Wame Samapipi, who was Kgatleng DC, was transferred to the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture. In Kweneng, two BDP stalwarts (Daniel Kwelagobe and Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri) lost the seats of Molepolole South and Molepolole North respectively, to the Umbrella for Democratic Change. The BDP also lost two seats in Kgatleng and one in Gantsi (Swartz’s) to the UDC. As returning officers, DC oversee the electoral process on behalf of the Independent Electoral Commission. If it is indeed true that a DC’s political sympathies can influence the outcome of an election, the appointment of Mmoloki Raletobana as DC Southern Region (as that of Swartz should it happen) would put the BDP in a good position to win elections. Raletobana represented the Gabane-Mankgodi constituency in the last parliament on a BDP ticket.
The full extent of the rumour about Swartz becoming DC is that should he indeed assume such position, he would be suitably placed for a comeback. However, when asked if he would be interested in running for parliament again in 2019, Swartz gave an emphatic No.
“Never in my life! I have had enough of that kind of life,” the former MP said.