Godisang Radisigo, the recently elected Francistown City Council (FCC) Deputy Mayor believes his life’s journey shows that it is possible for anyone to overcome poverty and live a life beyond their dreams.
The 40-year-old Radisigo recalled how in his life he has had to find ways to deal with challenges of hopping from one job to the other in search of fortune.
He vividly remembers that he started as a shop assistant just after completing his Form Five with a local supermarket in Selebi-Phikwe.
He rose through the ranks to become a shop manager. After five or so years, he left the position to seek greener pastures in Gaborone.
But still, the life in Gaborone was not all that rosy and he decided to move to Francistown.
While in Francistown, he worked for the United States (US) government as an Intake Officer for a couple of years before the contract ended.
However, he still stayed true to his ambitions. This is despite the fact that he then resorted to becoming a kombi driver.
The spirit of determination that has seen the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councilor rise to the position of Deputy Mayor was evident long before he entered the world of politics.
In this sycophantic interview with The Voice’s SHINGIRAI MADONDO, Radisigo allayed fears that he has borrowed a leaf from his predecessor’s book in spite of his issues surrounding the office he has just inherited.
Q: First things first, is it true that following controversial media reports about your predecessor, Lechedzani Modenga, there have been calls for the office of the Deputy Mayor in Francistown to be put in order?
A. It will be improper for me to agree with you. My predecessor and colleague lost the mayoral chain on the basis of his health condition, nothing else.
We are not aware of the allegations that he is facing because nobody has come forward to address me and other councilors on that regard.
We are just learning about them through the media. Again, this is an issue that the police should be dealing with.
It is not for us and the people to judge him let alone substantiating anything in that regard.
We are treating him as innocent until he is proven otherwise.
Q: Your dressing also has raised eyebrows. Some have described you as a gangsta (lepantsula) because of your streetwise dress code. What is your take on that?
A. I am a conventional gangsta. It’s just that I like dressing the way I dress and listen to the music associated with mapantsula.
And I am always listening to disco music. But this does not make a lepantsula.
I was raised in Selebi-Phikwe where pantsula fashion is everybody’s envy.
I grew up a street boy but I was not in the habit of using organized violence to achieve one’s end.
I was a cool gangsta.
Q: Should people of Francistown trust you?
A. People of Francistown should trust and believe in me 110percent.
My fashion sense has got nothing to do with gangsterism.
It is true that it takes a village to raise a child.
And indeed, the Selebi-Phikwe environment raised me hence my type of dressing.
I am not a gangsta at heart. And even during my days growing up, I was never involved in racketeering.
Like I said before, I was just a cool street guy who liked dressing in this manner.
Q: What is it that you have in store for the people of Satellite South and Francistown?
A. My wish is to ensure that abject poverty is reduced if not eliminated amongst the people of the country’s second city.
Our duty as councilors is to ensure that lives of the people who voted us into positions of power are taken good care of.
It is disheartening to see people wallowing in poverty.
And we are duty bound to do everything within our power as councilors to make a difference in the society.
Q: How are you going to achieve reduction of poverty?
A. There are a lot of government programmes aimed at improving the lives of people that are either underutilized by those expected to take full advantage of them nor not taken to the intended beneficiaries.
I am taking a vow that I will work very hard to ensure that government programmes are fully utilized.
Top on my agenda is to work very closely with both opposition and ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councilors and ensure that government programmes reach to intended beneficiaries.
It is possible to alleviate and eventually eliminate abject poverty.
Q: You seem confident about your leadership quality. Are you an administrator?
A. I am an administrator by experience not profession.
After completing my Form Five, I could not proceed to a tertiary institute.
However, the experience I gained from serving as an Executive Assistant to the Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme (BOCAIP) National Coordinator between 2002 and 2004 helped me a lot.
I had a rare opportunity to travel extensively around the country visiting BOCAIP centres.
It gave me an opportunity to be more diversified and have the ability to come up with different programmes for different people.
I mastered the ability to think outside the box.
In those years, I learnt a lot about how to tackle and ultimately solve some of the challenges that people do face on a daily basis.
It will not be difficult to deal with some of the challenges that our people are facing.
Q: Is it going to be an easy adventure bearing in mind that the government is always decrying lack of developmental funds?
A. It is not going to be a walk in the park.
The most unfortunate part is that the country is struggling to emerge fully from the dire consequences of the 2008 world credit crunch.
The effects of global recession are dire.
But we cannot continue decrying about the global recession.
This is where we are expected, as community leaders, to show our mettle and think outside the box for the benefit of our people.
We need to be innovative as the city and free our people from the jaws of abject poverty.
And I am very confident that through the help of my fellow councilors, we are going to win the battle against poverty.
Q: How can that be possible when it is a known fact that the government is the sponsor of every projects in the local government?
A. Government has been, is and will continue playing its part in the development of its people.
But the time has come for the local authorities to wake up and smell the coffee especially during these trying times where the government is still suffering from the ugly effects of the 2008 world credit crunch.
For example, FCC has got twinning agreements with a number of cities across the globe.
It is time the friendship goes beyond mere acquaintance to esprit de corps.
We should be going to the City of Genk in Belgium with a business mentality. FCC must start inviting and receiving business delegations and show them the opportunities we have in Francistown.
That will result in business people opening up factories and industries in Francistown and eventually create jobs for our people.
Job opportunities will obviously deal with the problems of poverty.
Q: Wonderful! It seems we are in good hands?
A. It is true, the people of Francistown are in the safest hands. As a businessperson myself, I do mean business.
With the help of my colleagues in the council chambers, we are going to make sure that we create a conducive environment for the existing and potential investors in Francistown.
Already, the City of Francistown has got a Vision 2022 that seeks to transform Francistown into a city of economic vibrancy.
And my duty and other councilors’ is to embrace the Vision 2022 in order to attract domestic investors and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Q: Thank God it’s Friday, what are up to Mr. Deputy Mayor?
A. Eish, I am a very busy man because I am running two retail outlets – a supermarket and a bottle store.
I am a married man with two girls namely Angie and Nolwanje.
So family and business do demand. Besides family and business, the people of Satellite South deserve to be engaged time and again.
And in most cases, I do engage with my electorate on weekends. Thanks a million for the interview!