Fun-times for Fankie

Daniel Chida
MOVING ON UP: Motsaathebe in his new role

Long-serving Motsaathebe takes the chair

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s most loyal son, Fankie Motsaathebe has finally been rewarded for his decades of unwavering service with a plum leadership position.

The long-time servant was elected unopposed as Goodhope’s first ever Chairman following the council’s recent upgrade from sub-district to full district.

Despite regularly being undermined for his lack of height, Motsaathebe is a popular figure in politics, both in and outside Botswana, having represented the country well on past international assignments.

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An active supporter of the ruling party since the age of 14, Motsaathebe, now 47, has previously served as: Barolong Constituency Youth Branch Chair, BDP National Youth Executive Chair and Campaign Manager for Goodhope/Mabule Constituency.

He lost Bulela Ditswe to Eric Molale in 2015, with Molale going on to taste defeat at the polls against Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of Umbrella for Democracy (UDC).

In the following general elections (2019), Molale stood again, with Motsaathebe serving as his Campaign Manager, and, after two failed attempts, the constituency was turned Red

The Voice’s DANIEL CHIDA tracked down the BDP stalwart to discuss his new posting…

  • Congratulations on the promotion! Kindly share your road map?

The main issue is to restore the Gooodhope District to its former glory as a national food basket; crop production is our priority. The district has a comparative advantage over others in crop production. Agriculture infrastructure is our priority.

We have new roads in the pipeline. They will be started this year, including: Goodhope-Kgoro-Gathwane-Gamajaalela and Mmathethe-Kanngwe-Metlobo-Hereford (Bray) 220 km. The road connects crop production.

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The other big concern is the state of Metlojane-Hebron-Borobadilepe-Mokatako road because it connects nine villages.

Apart from those two, another worry is the lack of a District Hospital. We need a new hospital to cater for the population of the district: 58, 394 as per the 2022 census.

  • Sounds like you’ve got your hands full! Anything else?

There is no shopping centre with commercial banks here and we will be engaging the private sector to partner with us on this one because we have land available for that. We will also be addressing accommodation for staff as more people will be coming here for work.

Apart from that, we will be engaging more with teachers to find solutions to the low pass rate that we have been recording. This is worrisome as there is no future without an educated nation. As a Council, we are changing our schedule to hold Education Committee meetings every month to allow us to address education matters monthly – it had been a quarterly meeting before.

We will be embarking on a major maintenance of primary school teachers’ accommodation to give our teachers the dignity they deserve so that they can focus on educating our kids.

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  • Good luck with all that. Do you still harbour ambitions of becoming an MP for your area? Mind you, there are rumours the Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame has been earmarked for this constituency?

It would be improper for me to pronounce on parliament ambitions when I have a mammoth task of establishing a new district and overseeing transition from sub-district to full district. I am currently only focused on serving in the capacity of Council as its Chairman.

It would also be unfair on the Councillors who voted for me unopposed and the incumbent MP if I was to discuss that. The party has a system in place where all who want to contest will stand up and register their interest.

  • Fair enough. Delimitation is coming, what’s your take?

I think we must benchmark on our neighbours and elsewhere in the commonwealth in terms of the ratio of citizens to MPs. We have the lowest number of MPs, even compared to neighbours like Namibia, which has more or less the same population as us and is almost the same size geographically.

They have 104 MPs, Lesotho has 120, Zambia has 164, Zimbabwe has 350: 270 in the National Assembly and 80 in the senate. I think we need to look at this and compare ourselves to see if we are not lagging behind.

  • Finally, what are your views on Monday’s Budget Speech?

This is a very good budget that addresses very important matters such as the ‘proposed urgent’ amendment of the Transfer Duty Act to make it simple and affordable to transfer land. The P100 increment on Old Age Pension is very much welcome to cushion the elderly against inflation, same as the P50 increment in Ipelegeng wages.

We also applaud the lion’s share of the recurrent budget being allocated to the Ministry of Education as it demonstrates the government’s commitment to education.

We commend the continued funding of ISPAAD [The Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development] and look forward with excitement to the introduction of its successor, The Temo Letlotlo Programme. Our district is on a path to reclaiming its glory as the breadbasket of Botswana, a position it enjoyed for many decades since time immemorial.

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Fun-times for Fankie
SWORN IN: Motsaathebe
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