Vol.21 No.68

Tuesday 4 May 2004    

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News
"I will work hard to win"- De Graaf

THATO CHWAANE
Staff Writer

5/3/2004 10:30:31 PM (GMT +2)

TO the locals the Gantsi South, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidate is known as 'Braampie,' a name he got after his father. However his birth name is Christian De Graaff.


Forty-eight year old Braampie won the primary elections last year on a BDP ticket. While he may not be very good in Setswana he is fluent in Sesarwa. Born in Gantsi in the late 50's, De Graaff said his father settled in Botswana from Holland whilst in his 20's.

"He only went back to Holland twice as he loved Botswana and was petrified of being taken outside the country even for medical help when he was ill," he said.

His maternal great-grandmother was born in Gantsi, one of the first white families to settle there. "I got involved with people through sports, then people approached me asking if I wanted to join the council," he said.

In 1999 he was nominated as a councillor. "I enjoyed it, I loved to listen to people's needs and fulfil them," De Graaff admitted. He added that he was proud of what the country has achieved and wanted to get involved. He said people told him they wanted him to try for a seat in Parliament for Gantsi South, which has not even a single white resident. He stood for primary elections there and emerged tops with 1746 votes.

"I had people campaigning for me but I prefer to be there as well and speak for myself. I have lots of confidence in the upcoming elections. BDP does not owe me a seat in parliament - I will work for that seat," he said.

De Graaff admits to spending his own resources 99 percent of the time but that his family, business community and supporters are behind him. He said he would like to be looked at as a person who can win. "I wish people could stop talking about money. Or look at me as a person with a big bank account, I am not going to sell my lots to get money to campaign," he said.

Contrary to what many may think, he said he has not used his financial muscle to win votes. He said he has not made one single promise and tells the electorates that his party is working on national plans to cover the next five years. De Graaff said although there is a need for a tarred road from Charleshill to Ncojane, he cannot promise a tar road.

He declares that he is not into petty politics and empty promises. Though he admits that people may want electricity, more schools they should know that "Rome was not built in a day."

And added that he joined BDP as he believes in democracy and that anyone has the right to join any party of their choice. "BDP has been the ruling party since 1966, I have respect for former Presidents and the current one," De Graaff said.

He is the owner of Tautona Lodge, a Construction Company and is into game farming. However, his relatives who support him include his mother, three sisters and a brother who are cattle farmers, have general dealerships and other businesses.

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