Don’t be derailed by insults-Mpetsane

Francinah Baaitse-Mmana
  • A chat with BALA’s new president

North East District Council Chairperson, FLORAH MPETSANE, who is also Councillor for Matsilojoe ward was recently elected president of Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA), beating two other council chairpersons in an emotional charged conference in Maun a fortnight ago.

Being the only woman in a five member National Executive Committee (NEC) the Voice Reporter, FRANCINAH BAAITSE had a quick chat with Mpetsane over her new role.

Congratulations on your new appointment. What new improvements are you bringing to your new office?

Thanks for the congratulatory message.

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The new improvement that I want to bring to BALA is to capacitate the general membership on governance issues and engage BALA structures directly and provide feedback on all the commission platforms on a regular basis.

It was quite a tough contest for that post, but you still managed to triumph, what was your strength?

Yes it was. My strength is my political experience, listening and calmness and addressing all concerns raised by the electoral college and allowing for election of new commissioners to participate in the elections.

That was what caused problems in the first place, don’t you think you would have handled it better and saved the conference day’s delay?

These were matters raised from the floor and we had to consult the constitution first.

One cannot just decide based on opinion on sensitive matters that involve the organisation’s constitution.

Some who did not vote for you said they did not want a “yes sir” kind of person who will sell them out to central government and not push for local government agenda. What is your response to that?

There is a general wrong perception that being a politician one has to be noisy and rude, I am not that kind of person.

I’m very persuasive and generally calm but will always prevail.

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However I can’t tell people what to think about me.

I’m going to take BALA to greater heights with the elected national executive.

The meeting ended prematurely without resolutions, what is the way forward?

Yes that is true but the way forward is to induct the commissioners so that the BALA mandate be continued, then we call a member’s assembly to conclude the agenda for example the BALA constitutional review that was to be considered and any other resolutions.

What is your ideal composition of BALA NEC, in terms of gender representation and how are you going to ensure that majority of districts are represented therein?

The ideal composition of BALA NEC in terms of gender representation is to have both men and women in the committee.

I am the only elected woman in the NEC.

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There are of course three slots for nomination.

I will submit a proposal to the NEC to consider women representation of course on parity of councils on a scale of capability.

What are the priorities of councillors at the moment and how will BALA under your leadership see them through?

Priorities of councillors and council staff at the moment are welfare schemes for sustainable investment training and salary increase.

As a woman politician who has for several times stood and won against male contenders, what advice can you give to aspiring women politicians out there?

My advice is for them to be strong, work hard and stay focused.

Do not be derailed by insults and negative energy, lastly always carry your dignity everywhere.

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