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Francistown, where is Vision 2022?

Francistown, where is Vision 2022?
January 22
08:58 2018

In 2014, amidst much pomp and ceremony, the City of Francistown launched a bold and ambitious vision for itself – Vision 2022. It was launched full clad with a vision council, a secretariat, and an initiative to operationalise it, the Francistown Investment Forum. We had never seen anything like that on our shores, a local authority being so proactive and taking such initiative. The then mayor, James Kgalajwe, was aptly paraded as “a different breed of local authority leader” by the media.

The initiative was well conceived. The city wanted to transform itself into a vibrant investment centre. The council rallied stakeholders to support the initiative. The five pillars of the vision included: 1. Effective investment networking. 2. An economically vibrant city. 3. A healthy, safe and secure city.  4. A skilled, innovative and productive city, and 5. A united and proud entity.

What the city envisioned was that by the Year 2022, Francistown would boast a private sector-led economy, vigorous industrial activities and production, export-led manufacturing, vigorous commercial and development activities, and effective land acquisition and management activities. The same year the Vision 2022 was launched, the city hosted an investment forum the purpose of which was to unveil and unpack the lucrative new and existing investment opportunities in Francistown as well as position the city as the region’s hub of commerce. More importantly, the forum was convened to unpack Vision 2022. The forum was to be an annual undertaking.

Fast forward to 2017, just three years later, and there is no more talk of the vision. The Francistown Investment Forum was hosted in 2015 and the report detailing proceedings and resolutions taken there is yet to get delivered to the council despite P20 000 in consultant fees having been disbursed to whoever was engaged. The new leadership of Mayor Grace Muzila seems uncommitted to seeing the vision through. Ever since Muzila was sworn in as mayor, there has been a fruitless exchange between her predecessor, Kgalajwe, and herself. Muzila has accused Kgalajwe of not handing over the vision and its operational instruments such as the investment forum to her. Kgalajwe has argued to the contrary, claiming to have handed over everything, saying the District Commissioner could attest to it. New councillors do not know anything about the vision and the forum, returning councillors are at a loss as to how the implementation of the vision is going.

Mayor Muzila once told a full council meeting that pillars of the vision were being mainstreamed into council projects and programmes, and she has distanced herself from the investment forum. We really do not want to concern ourselves with whom, between Muzila and Kgalajwe, is telling the truth. Clearly, something is wrong. And if nothing is done, and soon, the noble initiative may be die.

This country needs to industrialise, and what better way to achieve that than decentralising it to the regions. Had this initiative succeeded, it would prompt other local authorities to do the same. Already, after the City Council of Francistown initiative was announced, Kgatleng District Council followed with an investment arm of its own whose first project is to generate electricity from waste. So too did the South East District Council announce an industialisaton programme for Ga-Malete and Tlokweng. We gather proactive citizens of Lobatse have convened a committee to steer development of a Lobatse developmental strategy. We were really headed somewhere. We therefore implore Mayor Muzila to take this issue seriously and do what is right.

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