When officiating at the 120 anniversary of Francistown recently, President Ian Khama advised that, beyond reflecting on the city’s 120 years of existence, the inhabitants of Francistown should also come up to continuously review their strategies and roadmap to keep up with current developments. “This will hopefully enable us to transform this city, to make it a major investment and tourist hub, not only at regional level, especially given its rich heritage, but also at global level through strategic partnerships and proper profiling of investment opportunities in and around the city,” said the President.
According to him, initiatives such as twinning with other municipalities around the world, are quite commendable and welcome activities. “Milestones derived therefrom, including copying best practices, cultural exchanges, as well as people to people interactions are very evident in this regard,” he noted. Earlier in his address, Khama had indicated that it is not possible to give an account of Francistown without acknowledging the critical role it played especially during the 1960s and 1970s in assisting refugees fleeing racial and colonial oppression from elsewhere in the region. He added that the history of Francistown is interwined with the history of the liberation struggle in Southern Africa noting that, nationalist leaders from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia “... either used Francistown as a transit point on exile or as a rendezvous to consult with their comrades,” said Khama who further explained that, because it haboured refugees as well as being used as a transit point by freedom fighters, its community became the object of violent attacks from the neighbouring racist regimes. Meanwhile, in her welcoming remarks, the mayor of Francistown, Sylvia Muzila had acknowledeged representatives from the cities of Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Genk. Muzila paid particular tribute to the City of Genk which she says has now 14 years with exchabge programmes in the areas of health for Nyangabgwe and the Institute of Health Sciences(IHS), Education, Youth Empowerment and Social Welfare with respect to Ward Development Committees(WDC).