Calling it quits at 77

Kgaga Kenson

Boro councillor to retire when current term expires

Sitting councillor for Boro-Senonnori, Kenson Kgaga is planning to step down at the end of his second term in office due to old age.

Having served the ward since 2014, the 73-year-old says side effects of old age including loss of eye sight and poor memory have added to his desire to hand over the baton to younger people who would better serve the same community.

In this candid interview with FRANCINAH BAAITSE, Kgaga, well known in Ngamiland as ‘monana’ (youth) reflects on his fight for people’s rights under opposition politics and the frustrations that come with it.

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Briefly tell us about your journey in politics?
I started active politics around 1985 and after trying and being defeated three times I was finally elected to council in 2014 and again in 2019. However this is my last term because I have long promised that I will only run for two terms after which I will give way for another capable person to lead.

Did you deliver what you promised to the people?
I did what I was supposed to do. I talked about the problems and challenges facing my ward including unfair land allocation, bad roads, shortage of schools, non-connection of utilities such as water and electricity. So yes, my voice was loud and heard in the council and I represented and I still am representing Boro-Senonnori well. The only disappointment is the powers that be, the ruling party which does not want to implement some of these things because they care very less about the people. We are failed and frustrated by policies of the ruling party.

Will you retire from politics with a failed mission therefore?
Let me make it clear that I am not retiring from politics but rather from the council. I will not contest for 2024 general elections but I will be actively campaigning for my party, I will be at the freedom squares, doing house to house and helping my party retain the seat and hopefully oust the ruling party from a long reign of frustration against our people.

So what are you hoping to achieve in the remaining three years of your term?
My wish is to see people of Boro-Senonnori use good roads, my dream is to see them drink clean portable and reliable water, their residential homes connected to electricity. Boro residents especially are facing a challenge because of the said new Maun development plan which stopped Tawana Landboard from allocating land certificates in this area. Without the certificates, utilities cannot connect either water or electricity for them. They only see power cable above them because prison premises have power connection.

I’ve heard you speak passionately about a two-teacher satellite school in Boro, and if I recall well about P2 million was set aside from constituency fund to build the school. What is the progress?
My heart bleeds when I think about the six-year olds who have to walk 18 kilometres to school in the rain, or scotching sun and sometimes in the dark because they want to be in school on time. These are the children who often come face to face with wild animals especially untamed elephants in order for them to access education, an education which is supposedly a right for every child in this country. They arrive in school exhausted and hungry and morning lessons already passed. To answer your question, it is true, P2 million was set aside but as the construction was about to commence we were hit by Covid-19 and the funds were diverted and they say towards the fight against Covid-19 and this does not make sense because how can you separate this matter from Covid-19? To me they are on the same scale! It is the life of young children who walk long distances to sit in crowded classrooms, children who risk their lives daily in pursuit of education. I tell you I cannot sleep when I think about Boro children.

I really feel your disappointment. What else is yet to be done?
It is not only Boro children who walk long distance to school but many others in my ward because there is no school in Sennonnori either, these children walk seven or so kilometres to Matlapana and Sedie schools and these schools are crowded because of the big catchment area. Matlapana primary school is the most crowded in the country because it takes learners from as far as Boro, Sexaxa, Matlapana itself and Disana. This is evidence that the government does not care much about young people. In fact I think it is hypocritical and wrong for this country to celebrate youth days or children’s day because they violate this group of citizens rights in many ways.

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Don’t you want to stay a little longer in the council to complete your mission then?
No, there are other capable people who will take from where I left. Besides, with my old age my sight is failing me and as you know at the council I have to do a lot of reading and sometimes writing and I get forgetful as well. So besides the health factor I want to reduce the work load as I am a church pastor as well.

Does politics and church go hand in hand, thought politicians often stretch the truth a bit?
Pastors and politicians are same whatsapp group, you cannot separate the two. These professions are similar in that they involve talking and representing people; while politicians represent electorates, pastors represent congregations and they have to do a lot of talking to recruit members to their respective kraals. Even in church pastors fight, they call it spiritual battles and they bewitch others, they kill others for power, same way it happens in politics. None is more perfect than the other.

Interesting. What kind of pastor or politician are you?
An honest one, I speak only the truth that is why even in my two terms in politics I was never challenged. Fellow party members gave me a chance to lead and that is why I have honoured the promise to step down after two terms. I was mentored by one of political veterans Motsamai Mpho (now late) who preached peace. He was a devoted member of London Missionary church (UCCSA) and although a fierce politician, a firebrand he was, he feared God and loved peace and honesty.

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