12 May 2017

Botswana: Candidates Reach Out to Voters in Debate

Gaborone — As the Tlokweng Parliamentary by-election day draws close, the three candidates took to a live television broadcast debate in a bid to impress electorate.

The debate was a precursor to the bye-election billed for tomorrow.

The three, Mr Elijah Katse of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Ms Shirly Segokgo, an independent candidate and Mr Kenneth Segokgo of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) dwelled on the Tlokweng land crisis that continues to haunt Batlokwa.

Mr Katse said if voted, he wouuld engage with government to consider buying nearby ranches to avail land especially for farming because most of the Batlokwa fields had been repossessed by landboard for residential plot allocation.

He said he would go all out to ensure government find a lasting solution to assist Batlokwa who have been deprived communal land for farming.

He complained that the quota of 60:40 in which Batlokwa were given 60 per cent of the plots with the rest goven to those coming from outside the village was also not sound and helpful to the community.

Ms Segokgo said there should be a sound policy for land allocation in Tlokweng to ensure that Batlokwa were not displaced because already they had been disadvantaged because of their proximity to Gaborone.

Ms Segokgo like her counterparts complained that Tlokweng being regarded as a peri urban area had disadvantaged the Batlokwa farming community because their fields had been repossessed for other uses.

Mr Segokgo criticised government for failing Batlokwa with regard to land crisis issues.

He was of the view that government should go back to the drawing board and give back Batlokwa their huge chunk of land that they bought long time ago which he said had since been allocated to handful individuals for free at the expense of the Batlokwa community.

He concurred with her counterparts that nearby ranches must be purchased by governemnt to minimise land shortage.

Mr Segokgo also advocated for farming land as most fields that belong to Batlokwa have been repossessed for residential plot allocations, therefore, depriving Batlokwa the right to practice farming which is a backbone of every Motswana.

The three candidates criticised selling of plots which they said was mostly practised by non-native Batlokwa who only saw the opportunity in buying plots that are in the proximity of the city.

With regard to unemployment, Mr Katse said local planning structures such as the South East District Council should come up with ideas that promote industries which can avail more job opportunities.

He condemned the mushrooming of the multi-residential construction in Tlokweng which he said aimed at enriching the owners at the expense of Batlokwa.

Ms Segokgo said she will establish a fund that will inject money for youth bussiness start-ups to create more job opportunities for young people.

Mr Segokgo said he will engage the unemployed youth with regards to their wishes on ways to create employment opportunities.

Mr Katse described himseld as the best candidate suited for the position as he will advocate for recreational facilities in Tlokweng, a senior school and a primary hospital to a population of of over 30 000 that he said depends on the capital city for such amenities.

Ms Segokgo said she will assist youth on mentorship programmes because being a mother it pained her to see most graduates unemployed.

Mr Segokgo said he will initiate programmes that will empower Batlokwa and create job opportunities.

The MP post became vacant after the death of the UDC MP, Ms Same Bathobakae in November 2016.

Source : BOPA

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