FRANCISTOWN: Those who have been thinking that the council is the dumping site for the uneducated or school dropouts will have to think again. Nshakazhogwe councillor Anthony Wabuya Chebani, a former English teacher at Mmei Junior Secondary School, describes education as a continuous process that one pursues up to the grave.
“Botlhale ga bo e ka dibuka…go na le batho ba ba botlhale ka tlhago (Intelligence is not measured by one’s qualifications. There are people who are naturally born intelligent),” says Chebani, adding however, that studying hard could enhance one’s thinking and reasoning abilities in the council.
Chebani recently graduated from UNISA with the qualification of Bachelors of Arts in Political Leadership and Citizenship.
He declares philosophically: “If people like the late Nelson Mandela studied through UNISA and amassed degrees qualifications from prison, why can’t I study also?” Chebani is an avid reader and writer who has written opinion letters passionately to the local newspapers.
“I am an avid reader and I wanted to add value to my knowledge on politics and enhance my knowledge of the world I am living in,” declares the 45-year-old civic leader.
He acknowledges that he will not be a councillor forever since the office he occupies is contested and he may at some stage lose.
“My qualifications could help me get employment at many institutions. I am actually preparing my future, as I don’t know what the future holds for me. I may go to parliament as an MP some day.”
After breaking from his teaching profession Chebani spent four years at the Francistown East MP’s office, then Phandu Skelemani as the research and administration officer.
He gained a lot of experience in the field where his office became a voice of the voiceless. He said constituents needed leaders like MPs and councillors who could advocate for them.
It is issues like the cries of the constituents chased from work when they were just on the brink of receiving their gratuities that spurred Chebani into action to speak for the people.
After four years at the MP’s office, Chebani was left convinced that: “I personally believe that things have changed and as such leaders should have a good level of education so that when they debate motions, they should have researched thoroughly with a good understanding of life challenges and their solutions”.
After seven years of teaching before venturing into active politics, Chebani stresses that he has always admired politicians and politics, especially those who could articulate issues very well.
During his secondary school days and even at tertiary, Chebani was a fiery debater amongst his peers and he has always known that one-day, he will be answered as a reputable politician.
He now understands issues better and his eyes can read situations better.
“I understand a
As a former teacher, Chebani acknowledges that there are people who are naturally intelligent, but argues that intelligence alone cannot take them anywhere as it has its limitations.
There is a long-standing argument that for people vying for political office, there has to be a particular standard of education set as a pre-requisite to stand.
Although Chebani was initially reluctant to state his opinion on this issue, he finally relented. “There has to be a set standard of education so that it could enhance the level of debate.”
Chebani might be right because a few years ago some councillors at the Francistown City Council (FCC) left the council in stitches when they demanded to know when the council will debate men’s cervical cancer.
This could only help in advancing the ignorance of our civic leaders and thereby rekindling the old debate that there should be a set standard of education for our politicians.
Even after his recent graduation, Chebani says his qualification has not yet gone to his head as he tries by all means to fit and be part of everyone.
The Tutume Sub Council where Chebani is the deputy chairperson is blessed as it has former educationists, former council secretaries, former social workers and other men and women who have served in various institutions at higher positions.
He learns a lot from these men and woman, some who are old enough to be his fathers and mothers.
As for the time he spent as a councillor since 2014, he hails the Tutume Sub Council environment to be very productive as compared to the vast Central District Council, which he says has as many as 174 councillors.
“Our management at the CDC is just a challenge and it’s just difficult to manage commitment through attendance amongst others,” he says.
In the next five years, Chebani would like to remain at the council provided the party would elect him further.
Otherwise, his eyes will be trained the parliamentary seat beyond the next five years. He strictly believes in two terms.
He just hopes his case will continue to motivate other councillors, especially youthful ones to pursue courses of their choices to enhance their knowledge of life.