FRANCISTOWN: Civic leaders here were fuming over the Botswana National Sport Commission's (BNSC) decision to overlook the second city for Gaborone for hosting the Botswana Games.
The councillors expressed their displeasure after BNSC’s director of the games, Game Mothibi told them that the games would no longer be held in Francistown as a result of lack of accommodation and other related logistical reasons.
Hopes were high that Francistown would host the games for the second time but those hopes soon dissipated after Mothibi told a full council session last week that due to lack of accommodation the games have now been shifted to Gaborone.
The councillors’ hopes were on a high as the BNSC games are a money-spinner for small, micro and macro businesses across different industries in the city whose economy was battered by the closure of mines within its environs.
The games were expected to bring 3,000 athletes to the city from December 6 to December 16, 2019.
Councillor Lesego Kwambala was clearly not happy about BNSC’s decision to move the games to Gaborone.
Kwambala said since it was Francistown’s turn to host the event again, BNSC could have informed city leaders about the logistical problems it was facing to host the games in Francistown instead of informing the council when a decision was already taken to hold the games in Gaborone.
Kwambala added that BNSC could also have informed them as to whether the previous games in Francistown were a success or failure.
Nominated councillor, Peter Ngoma was also displeased about BNSC’s decision to hold the games in Gaborone instead of Francistown as was expected.
Ngoma asked Mothibi who exactly from BNSC was looking for accommodation and facilities in the city without involving the city’s hierarchy.
Councillor Cornelius Gopolang also came out with guns blazing saying that it was preposterous for BNSC to claim that there was no accommodation in Francistown.
He added that accommodation is galore in Francistown and neighbouring places like Shashe where there are hostels that could have been used to accommodate the athletes.
After receiving a baptism of fire from the civic leaders from across the political spectrum, Mothibi asked for forgiveness.
Francistown councillors rarely agree on issues, but it seems the decision by BNSC to move the games to Gaborone brought them together.
Mothibi conceded that BNSC could have come to the city leaders to check the state of the city’s readiness to host the games before deciding to move the games to Gaborone.
Mothibi assured the councillors that next time BNSC would liaise with the city’s hierarchy before inspecting if Francistown is ready or not to host the games.