A war of words has erupted between Member of Parliament for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane and Francistown city council authorities over the latter’s decision to remove destitute and disabled people from the Ipelegeng programme.
The authorities at the municipality insist that the aforementioned people cannot benefit on numerous government programmes at the expense of other citizens. City Clerk, Lopang Pule told this publication that the decision was taken by government to avoid what is known as double dipping where an individual benefits from various government programmes thus disadvantaging others. “I do not want to comment on political issues raised by Moswaane as I am not allowed to mingle in political matters. I am just implementing a policy drafted by my superiors,” he said.
He stated that they follow the destitution policy and access all the beneficiaries to make an informed decision on whether such people can continue to benefit or not. According to Pule there is high unemployment rate nationwide and therefore every unemployed citizen should be given an opportunity to benefit from government programmes aimed at alleviating poverty. The City Clerk further pointed out that he is waiting for Mayor Sylvia Muzila to return from her trip abroad so that they can have a meeting with Moswaane to find an amicable solution to the impasse.
On the other hand, the controversial Moswaane has come out with guns blazing in what amounts to a personal attack on Pule. He claims that Pule is deliberately sabotaging the ruling BDP in the build up to the upcoming general elections by removing destitute and incapacitated people from the popular Ipelegeng Programme. “Such decision can influence voters to oust the ruling party through a ballot at the upcoming polls so as a politician I will not tolerate such acts,” he averred. The outspoken politician has also accused Pule of being incompetent adding that he will persuade City Clerk’s supervisors to transfer him to a sub district. Moswaane is ready to fight with anything in his power to force the municipality to reverse their decision. “I am ready to go to court to challenge such a decision which is cruelty to the less fortunate. We are also planning to hold peaceful demonstrations to the city council offices to hand a petition for Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to take punitive action against Pule,” he charged.
Moswaane’s bone of contention is that the food ration given to destitute and incapacitated people is not enough to sustain them for the whole month that is why they enrol on Ipelegeng to supplement the hand out that they receive from government. He added, “Those people have children that they have to fend for so Ipelegeng is their only hope where they can get another paltry income to take care of their children,” he charged, accusing council authorities of failing to fully implement the poverty eradication programmes.
Many people have been evaluated as far back as 2013 for various poverty alleviation initiatives but up to now the municipality is yet to purchase the beneficiaries the equipment to kick start their projects despite having been allocated a 7 million pula budget, Moswaane said.