Tshabang stays put in Nkange

Never Tshabang..
Never Tshabang..

Until you hear it from the horse's mouth, you may never know. Contrary to popular view that the Nkange constituency Member of Parliament Dr Never Tshabang dumped his former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) in favour of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), he instead explains that he was expelled.

The 52-year-old scientist, in a wide ranging interview maintains that his ejection from the BCP was "a forced decision of some sort. BCP took a decision to expel me and others, for removing Dumelang Saleshando from being leader of the opposition, and installing Dithapelo Keorapetse as Leader of the Opposition (LOO) in Parliament".

He was expelled along with Keorapetse, the Selebi-Phikwe West legislator as well as Onneetse Ramogapi and David Tshere of Palapye and Mahalapye West constituencies respectively. Also expelled was Kenny Kapinga who later retraced his steps and apologised to the party

Dr Tshabang says that his situation was further compounded by the differences he had with the party on its plan to leave the UDC.

"I believe that being part of the UDC, we stand an excellent chance of unseating the ruling BDP", said Dr Tshabang adding that the BCP had already bolted out of the UDC and made it clear that "I won't stand with the BCP ticket, in other words, I was facing vetting".

In my view, the UDC carries the nation-wide appeal for a change of government, whereas the BCP does not have that.

On whether his move to the UDC isn't a betrayal and disappointment of the Nkange constituency BCP diehards, he replied that political differences had even ensued at local level, "with BCP diehards lining up potential candidates, so I had to move on.

"I don't call it betrayal because BCP took the decision to fire me based on flimsy reasons, so I could not stick around reducing myself to a political beggar of sorts", he said.

Meanwhile, past the differences with the BCP, Dr Tshabang says he is busy concentrating on his re-election in the UDC colours, building local structures and mobilising voters.

"Last year we did house-to-house campaigns and we are on the ground nominating council candidates", said Dr Tshabang who looks back with pride as he counts his first parliamentary term achievements.

He emphatically muses that he has achieved a lot as a number of projects have been completed in the constituency.

The completed projects include the Goshwe-Matobo 11km pavement, the Goshwe-Tutume 15km pavement, the construction of Nsuswane and Nkange bridges have also been completed.

His other achievements are the reticulation of Ntimbale dam water up to Senete village, although the other four villages of Maitengwe, Nkange, Dagwi and Changate are yet to be connected.

He adds that the construction of the Reverse-osmosis plant for Maitengwe well-field is expected to start in April adding that as area MP, he managed to secure a second Special Support Group (SSG) base along the Maitengwe border to help alleviate cross-border crimes, which has been a big relief for the farmers.

Dr Tshabang reckons that he still has a lot of unfinished business in his constituency especially the construction of the Tutume hospital, completion of the construction of the Tutume-Maitengwe road, with connections to Dagwi and Changate villages which is expected to start in the 2024/25 financial year.

The other project is the construction of hostels at the Nkange Junior Secondary School under the Development Manager model this year.

As regards his experiences in his first parliamentary term, he explains that it has been great.

"Representing people is a great experience and I developed a wonderful relationship with the community of the Nkange constituency", said Dr Tshabang.

Though he has had a great experience, he also suffered frustrations emanating from the fact that the BDP is hell-bent on the suffocation of the opposition and denying their constituencies services.

"The lack of the delivery of the Tutume hospital, that has been promised for years, continues to be a frustration that is beyond measure, and very deliberate", laments the area MP.

In addition, Dr Tshabang maintains that the opposition is not getting any fair deal in parliament because the BDP has ensured to squash each and every effort that comes from the opposition, "irrespective of its value accruing to Batswana".

And it is in this vein that Dr Tshabang calls for intensified political education to conscientize Batswana about the raw deal they are getting from the BDP.

However, all is not yet lost in Dr Tshabang's view because "the live broadcasting of parliament has opened up many eyes about this BDP behaviour, so we hope the conscientization is to some degree bearing fruit".

On national issues deserving of urgent attention, Dr Tshabang outlines depleted infrastructure, roads, railways, airports and buildings.

The other issue according to him is "the deepening corruption that the BDP doesn't want to deal with as long as the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is controlled by the president and the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) operating above the law, then corruption will continue to grow like cancer".

Dr Tshabang argues that the President Mokgweetsi Masisi administration "has worsened corruption in the country.

"Some members of the Masisi family are doing business with government and winning tenders, a new development that they were, prior to Masisi ascending to the presidency, not engaged in. These are clear signs of favouritism, manifesting in clear corruption that has become the order of the day".

As unemployment continues to grow to unprecedented levels, Dr Tshabang says the UDC proposes for the absorption of all interns and Tirelo Setshaba participants into the civil service, some agencies of the state as well as parastatals.

In his view these interns and TS participants have gained the requisite experience and skills which has helped them to deliver an efficient and quality service for smaller pay not commensurate with their work.

"Absorb all the 4700 plus temporary teachers. We also advocate for the elimination of under-employment, where people are working but getting paid less than the living wage and this will reduce the numbers of the working poor", asserts Dr Tshabang.

On political party funding, Dr Tshabang reads some sinister motive and argues that at face value, it may seem to be a good cause, "but there is bad motive behind this move.

"First is to limit the opposition from applying for external funding. The BDP realizes that the opposition has now found favour with external funders. Second, its unfair for the BDP to propose how to fund political parties without dialogue with others", said the Nkange MP.

His view is that an all party caucus should have been convened where a resolution would have been taken to guide the political party funding process.

However, according to Dr Tshabang, the BDP wants to be the referee and the player at the same time, which means the playing field is not going to be level as a result of this party funding move.

In conclusion, Dr Tshabang laments that his constituency is just too vast and difficult to navigate, "especially for an opposition MP with limited resources. It looks like it was a deliberate decision to financially fatigue the opposition".

Editor's Comment
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Their concerns highlight the need for meaningful dialogue between government and relevant stakeholders to ensure the best interests of the country are served.This was in addition to other voices from opposition politicians and civil society organisations.The stance underscores the importance of citizen participation in the constitutional amendment process. The AFM rightly assert that such weighty matters demand thorough discussions to reflect the...

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