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Nominated Cllrs: Tsogwane wields power for now

Publishing Date : 10 November, 2014


Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane is the most sought after Cabinet minister for now. The reason is plain; he is by law and purpose expected to announce the final list of nominated councillors, usually the last hope of redemption for election losers and political enthusiasts.

The minister is expected to announce appointment of atleast 133 specially nominated councillors. It is expected that majority of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who lost in the recent general elections will make the cut.
Tsogwane told Weekend Post recently that he is still waiting for recommended names of nominees to announce the final list of those who made it to the various councils around the country.

“Remember this is a process which involves a lot of people including all political parties which participated in the just ended elections,” said Tsogwane.

Tsogwane says the list will be submitted by District Commissioners throughout the country after consulting with political parties and Dikgosi in their respective areas.

Special nomination of councillors has been a debatable matter over the years, with opposition politician questioning its purpose and fairness. In the last general elections (2009), of the 133 councillors nominated by the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lebonaamang Mokalake only seven belonged to the opposition while the rest were BDP members and predominately preceding elections losers.

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Deputy President, Ndaba Gaolathe says their party has already met and submitted their wish list for specially nominated councillors.

However, a senior UDC member Abram Kesupile does not expect the nomination to yield better results for his party since there is no clear criteria used to nominate councillors. “At the moment the criteria used for selection and the final decision lies solely with the minister and based on what has happened in the past the opposition will get only few names nominated,” said the UDC deputy chairman.  

Among the nominated councillors in the last general elections who their names raised eyes bows were Thato Kwerepe who had lost 2008 party primary elections for Ngami constituency. Also nominated in 2009 were Cecilia Mlazie, wife of former Chobe MP, the late Duncan Mlazie and Gabriella Ridge, the wife of former Maun West MP Ronald Ridge. The system has always been condemned by opposition MPs as a way of bring back rejected individuals by the voters, therefore going against the wishes of the electorates.

Even in the past BDP heavy weights like former Vice President, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe have spoken against the practice. During the 9th parliament Kedikilwe tabled a motion in parliament calling for the system to be scrapped as it had diverted from its intended purpose and instead been turned into a patronage exercise aimed at rewarding BDP activists.

Weekend Post has it on good authority those party activists, especially those who worked hard during the campaigns and those who lost in the past general elections. BDP is also said to be working on a plan that will ensue that nomination of councillors will be used to neutralize opposition in councillors were BDP numbers fell short.  

Nominated Councillors have in the past helped the ruling party to balance power in Local Authorities. There are areas where the BDP was outnumbered by a small fraction and it used the dispensation to manipulate the scales.

After the October 24th election the ruling party has control North West District Council, Francistown City Council, Central District Council, Sowa Town, North West District Council, Chobe District Council, Southern District Council, and Lobatse Town Council among others. The UDC is expected to control Jwaneng Town Council, Gaborone City Council and South East District Council.  



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