Palapye tribal authorities seem to be losing patience with the government for taking time without declaring their village a town. This is contrary to allegations that they do not want the village to be declared a town as they may lose powers. In an interview with The Botswana Guardian, Acting Tribal Authority Masego Olebile said they want their village to be declared a town.
He said the village is strategically placed at the centre of the country. Developments such as Morupule Colliery, Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST) and water treatment plant qualify the village to be declared a town, he said. “A university should not be located in a village. It needs town planning,” he reasoned. “I know that mayors run towns but we propose that the powers of tribal leaders should not be taken away,” he said. It does not concern them if the village is declared an industrial or commercial town. He promised this publication that, they will consult the tribe “soon.”
He said their call is motivated by a motion which former Palapye Administrative Authority Chairperson Onneetse Ramogapi tabled and was adopted by the administrative authority. For his part Ramogapi said that, as councilors they relied on Section 8 of Local Government and Rural Development Act of 2012, which states, that, ‘The Minister shall by order published in the Gazette declare any place within any administrative district a township, considering a mineral developments, agro-commercial or industrial or industrial development and any other developments that may be carried out and shall define the boundaries of that township’. Since Palapye houses Morupule Colliery it qualifies. “Although Botswana Power Cooperation is not a mine but it also qualifies this village to be declared a township,” he said.
Just like Olebile, he listed developments such as pipe manufacturing plant, Makoro Bricks and others which boost the economic activities of the village. As a village, he feels that BUIST can not attract reputable professors, as this would lower the standard of the institution. He also cited the strategic location of Palapye. ‘The village is strategically located along the A1 road and it’s a junction to Orapa, Martins Drift and Francistown’ he said. To declare the village as a town will make the university easily marketable according to the promoters of the lobby to declare the village a town. Ramogapi said places like Sowa Town, Orapa and Selebi Phikwe only have mines only. ‘Lobatse only has Botswana Meat Commission (BMC). In Selebi Phikwe they always cry that if the mine closes the town will be a ghost town’ he added.
Some influential people, who were interviewed on condition that, they will not be named, accused Serowe tribal authority of sabotaging the lobby to declare Palapye a town. Serowe is headquarters of central district which Palapye falls under. They said the tribal authorities do not want the village to be a town as it will now develop more than Serowe. They were further accused of being afraid of losing control over the village. Efforts to contact the tribal authority were unsuccessful. Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane of Bangwato could not comment as he was rushing to a meeting in Palapye. His assistants said they could not comment on the subject before they brief him. Authorities at Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development could not comment at press time as all relevant people were reported to be out of office.