The much-publicised Poverty Eradication event in Chanoga village got off on the wrong foot this week when about 20 angry small business operators clashed with the event organisers over the location of their stalls.
The vendors who hoped to cash in on the gathering that included hundreds of government employees from several departments did not take kindly to being told to move their stalls from the desired prime spots to locations further away from the potential customers.
Whilst still sharing their experience with The Voice, the village Chief Olebeng Setlhodi brought more depressing news to the group when he told the small business operators that he had been sent by ’leaders’ to ask them to move their place of operation even further away to another spot 800 metres from the event.
Querying the so called leaders decision the people were told that the lucrative spot closer to the event was reserved for the 20 people who had won a raffle to provide stalls at the event.
“The rest have no choice but to move,” Setlhodi said.
The news was however met with resistence and anger by the vendors who demanded that whoever sent the Chief should come and face them.
39-year old Oganne Lebalo said: “Today I failed to make P100 and if we are to move further it will be disaster for us.”
Lebalo also complained about the catering system saying that the attendants were being provided with everything, making their business redundant.
“These people are given food, drinks and water and there is no need for them to buy our products. Government should have made a way in which we can also benefit from the event,” she added.
Letlhopamang Utlwang, 42, from Maun packed his goods and returned home saying there was no need to spend his time at Chanoga while government did not seem to appreciate their efforts in supporting eradication of poverty.
He complained that he had spent money in buying stock that included soft drinks, but left without selling a single drink.
“There is no poverty eradication here, how can they chase us away like that if they are talking of poverty eradication.”
Efforts to get a comment from the head of organising committee and Ngamiland District Commissioner Bernadette Malala hit a snag as she could not be located while her phone was off.