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A novice with a dream

BIG DREAMER: Boniface Mankanku


He is full of charisma and oozes confidence that he has what it takes to represent the people of Palapye as a member of parliament come October 2014.

The youthful Boniface Mankanku of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) spoke to The Voice about his ambitions to lead.

Q: Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I am Boniface Mankanku. I was born 30-years-ago.

I am the aspiring Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate for Palapye.

Q: When did you take part in active politics?

I became active in politics in 1998 when I was still at junior school.

At that time I was idolising Robert Molefhabangwe during his good days.

He was the Botswana National Front firebrand.

He inspired me to join active politics.

Q: Interesting that at junior school you were already interested in partisan politics. How is that?

During our time, there was a lot of interesting scenarios.

1998 was the year a lot was said about youth unemployment.

That was a time when there was drought across the country.

As a young boy, I was able to grasp these issues and many others.

Hence, my love for politics grew.

Q: Your name does not ring a bell in Botswana politics. Are you the ‘Benny comes to town’ of politics?

The truth of the matter is that I am the first politician in my family.

I am the only one taking part in politics.

With time I will make myself known in politics.

Q: How is the terrain in Palapye?

At the moment the current set up does not work for me.

As I said earlier I am new in politics.

I am setting up party structures in Palapye for my party Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) as well as for the UDC.

I am putting more effort in recruiting people to the UDC.

Q: Would you say you have a following as a politician?

I can safely say, the youth in Palapye have shown a lot of enthusiasm in mobilizing support for the UDC.

There are challenges here and there.

But through the help of God we will prosper.

Q: Palapye is a town. Right?

Indeed Palapye is a town. However, there are a lot of developments lacking.

We don’t have a library which has the modern facilities of researching in the 21st century.

The small available structure is not computerized.

It has old books. We have BUIST in our town that on its own should tell you that we need educated and informed residents for our town.

How do we become educated and informed with a Library that resembles stone age?

Q: In terms of health facilities are you guys fine?

People in our town, die due to lack of proper health facilities.

Our hospital does not have the basic facilities that befit the hospital of that stature.

There is acute shortage of health professionals.

When I am elected this is one area that I will primarily focus on.

Q: Let us now talk about what you intend to do should lady luck smile on you.

To bring change to my town. My people are unemployed.

My task will be to bring infrastructural developments in the town.

I will lure investors to come to my town so as to create employment for my people.

The youth want land and virgin land for that matter.

I will make sure my voice is heard in parliament to expedite the process of acquiring land.

Q: Luring investors to set up shop in your town is now a cliché. Please be more specific.

For instance coal is mined in Palapye but there is no company that cleans it.

Should that company be set up it will employ a lot of people from various fields amongst others administration and manual labour work.

That is creating employment on its own.

Q: Lets go back to the issue of land again. Who should qualify to own land?

At 18 years, one should be allocated land.

As it is now, the constitution of Botswana allows only 21-year-old youths and above to own land, but the majority of the 18-year-olds are eligible to vote.

My take is that the constitution at 18 years, the youth should access land.

Q: How is the business sector?

The challenge lie with the small businessmen.

They are not given enough market to show case their products.

As a Member of Parliament, I want to see to it that their market is protected.

Q: How mister?

There should be a law that regulates the international franchises to buy local products.

We all know KFC does not buy chickens locally.

It is up to the legislators to unite in defending our small business people.

Q: Interesting. Regarding sports, do you have any plans how are you going to develop it?

I will advocate to build fully fledged sports facilities.

Q: Will you deliver on these promises?

I will deliver on all the promises that I am making.

Even though there is talk of economic recession, I believe Botswana has plenty of money in the reserve bank.

We shall utilize that money.

Q: All of it?

Not all of it. Some of it. Because for a very long time Botswana has been borrowing without spending her own money.

I will also ask companies like Morupule to invest back into the community by financing some small businesses.

Q: How do you fare against your competitors?

My competitors are from different fields. For example, the BCP candidate is a journalist; the BDP one is an accountant.

I am a human resources person. You can see that we are both in touch with real issues of the people.

I can safely say let the best man win.

A win for any of us is a win for the people of Palapye.

Q: Your last word.

To my voters, I would like to say let’s go out and mobilise more people to vote for the UDC to effect the change we dream about.