Two weeks after the Letlhakeng West Bye-elections,The Voice team went back to the poverty stricken village which became a beehive of activity only to find it had gone back to the sleepy village it was before politicians descended on it and food, especially meat and beer flowed freely for a while.
Not many people could be seen on the streets which were full of donkeys that roamed about.
Three weeks ago, prior to the recent bye-elections Letlhakeng West was a beehive of activity.
Top government officials were a common sight as politicians mingled with the common man on the street.
Takatokwane village Development Committee (VDC) Chairman Kethusegile Tsiane says: “It’s so regrettable that the ruling party has once again managed to take advantage of the less fortunate and walked away with their votes.”
He says the Letlhakeng West constituents only experienced decent meals during the campaign and mostly the meals were from the ruling party.
“They came and killed lots and lots of cows for the poor here,” said Tsiane.
Just a few weeks after BDP’s victory reality is now sinking in, he says.
“The roads are in a sorry state. Some residents are still trying to find people who had promised to rescue them from poverty during the campaign.
“The sudden disappearance of all the high profile people who came to mingle with us reminds me of the late MP Maxwell Motowane.
We only saw him twice after winning elections.”
“We are lost as you can see.
They only check on us when in their time of need,” he says
A nurse at the clinic also paints a gloomy picture in an area that received so much media attention in the last two weeks.
The frustrated nurse said at times they go for weeks without medication and would be forced to refer patients to Gaborone.
“Sometimes I have to collect patients medical cards which are used to collect their medication from either from Molepolole or Gaborone.
It is really frustrating but we are now used to the situation,” she revealed.
Forty-year old Goitsemang Sengwane however sang praises for the ruling party.
Sengwane says she has benefited a lot from the government and has gained much from the poverty eradication schemes.
For Ditshotego Bankgate (24) from Tshwane life has just gotten worse. She reveals that the last time she had a decent meal was when she was at the polling station waiting to cast her vote.
“It’s not easy. We have been promised food supplies but to date there is no sign that our lives will improve,” she said.
Bankgate said she now realises that the abundance of food was targeted at the many Takatokwane, residents who live in heartbreaking squalor.
The Voice team is also met by a disheartening family led by an 18- year old Bontshetse Mosedi, a form 3 student at Mahupu junior school.
The teenage girl has turned guardian to her four siblings in thatch-mud hut that is almost collapsing.
There is no sign of food and the place looks abandoned.
As we arrive she asks, “Are you from Government office?”
“They told us they will come back for us,” she says and the hope in her voice diminishes as she stares at the grey barren stretch of land.
“My brother quit school because he could no longer stand the hunger.
This is the only place we call home and even when it rains we sleep here,” she says reaching for a fist sized watermelon.
On our way back we stop at one of the famous hangout spots; Just Buy Bar.
“I just wish there was a bye-election every week,” said the bartender when quizzed about how business was doing.
She noted that they made a kill during the campaign week as prominent politicians splashed money on everyone they found at the bar.
“We really made big money then. Now you can see that business is very slow and we spend most of the time just moving from shade to shade like reptiles.
For his part Takatokwane police station Commander Morris Kwena acknowledged that poverty was severe in his area.
He noted however that poverty was not in any way contributing to crimes committed in the village.
However Botswana Democratic Party Secretary General Mpho Balopi dismissed the above claims as fabrications.
“The president travels the country always checking on Batswana so that’s not true,” said Balopi.