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Divided BDP courts Opposition

Publishing Date : 15 August, 2017


The Leader of Opposition in the Selebi Phikwe Town Council (SPTC), Molefhe Molatlhegi says the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s chairmanship race between Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi and Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Nonofo Molefhi has divided the BDP councillors.

He shares that one of the camps has asked for their support to help unseat Leonard Mojuta from the mayoral position in which he is seeking second term. The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) councillor for Botshabelo Central says they have agreed as the opposition to support the ruling BDP councillors who want to dethrone the incumbent mayor whom they believe has failed to protect the integrity of the house.

The SPTC mayoral race is contested by three candidates being the incumbent, Leonard Mojuta and his deputy, Molefi Pilane and nominated councillor and former mayor, Molosiwa Molosiwa. The BCP councillor argues that the fact that more than two people are contesting makes it difficult for the BDP to go for a caucus and nominate one candidate. Factional forces created by the national party chairmanship race is one such strong factor that also make  going for a caucus a tough decision to make for the BDP councillors, Molatlhegi has said.

SPTC has 16 councillors, of which 6 are from the BCP while the remaining majority of 10 are from the BDP. The BCP councillor says they have not fielded a candidate for the mayoral positions not because they lack ambition or they are incompetent, but because they do not have the numbers to beat BDP’s majority. However, the 10 BDP members are said to be divided, thanks to Masisi and Molefhi’s battle for party chairmanship.

Molatlhegi points out that Molefhi’s camp has so far seven of the 10 councillors while Sisi Boy’s camp has only three. He explains that Masisi’s camp started off with the larger numbers but the majority of councillors jumped ship to the other side for purposes of thwarting mojuta’s chances of getting second change to the throne.

The outspoken BCL councillor says that they have forged an agreement with the BDP councillors to jointly look through the rubbles of the SPTC to search and pick up anything worth salvaging and put them in the hands of a better leader to protect. He says they were tempted to sleep with the enemy in order to save the SPTC. He believes that plotting a remarkable fall for Mojuta will offer them an opportunity to restore public confidence and make “SPTC great again”.

“Mojuta was in many respects an incapable leader who has proven overtime that he cannot lead. It is necessary to rescue the dipping faith of the people in the SPTC under Mojuta’s leadership,” he charges. While this affair constitute a compromise of the BCP’s political beliefs, Molatlhegi argues that letting the current mayor continue at the helm of the Selebi Phikwe’s local government institution will equally compromise quality leadership that is necessary to uplift the economy of Selebi Phikwe. He hasten to say the affair is not a proposal for a lifelong marriage but a one day fling necessary to unseat the mayor. Once the objective has been achieved, the two parties will go back to their usual opposing ends.

The BCP boycotted the election of the mayor and his deputy in 2014 but Molatlhegi says this time around they want to participate fully. He notes boycotting does not yield any results as the BDP has the majority, which means the election will go on anyway in their absence. He expresses the BCP’s commitment to fully participate in the election so that they are able to unseat Mojuta and continue to influence policy in subsequent council proceedings.

However, Mojuta says the Leader of Opposition’s allegations are unfounded. The mayor of Selebi Phikwe says there are no divisions amongst BDP councillors, pointing out that he is a true democrat at heart who will not collude with the opposition for any sinister agenda. He said they will go for their caucus tomorrow (Sunday 28 May, 2017) to nominate one candidate each for the position mayor and deputy mayor.

Meanwhile, Molatlhegi is worried that the mandate of the current mayor, his deputy and council committees elapsed on May Day but he says when he sought clarity from the Town Clerk why the election has not been conducted, he was told the mandate of the current leadership elapses on May 27, 2017.  “Surprisingly the council has called for Full Council on May 30 but the question is who is going to chair the proceedings of the full council when there is no mayor,” he said.

According to Molatlhegi, after the mayoral term ends, a special full council must be convened to elect the mayor and the deputy mayor after which they will start executing their official duties after seven days. In the seven days, Molatlhegi says elected persons will be perusing through reports to make their speeches and may even opt to resign from their positions if they feel they are not ready to take up the positions of leadership they have been elected in.

He says after the mayor has been elected, only then can there be a Full Council meeting which the elected mayor will chair and give his maiden speech derived from the reports from various council committees. The Leader of Opposition says they intend to force the house to turn the scheduled full council meeting to a special full council sitting so that they can elect the leadership of the council prior to convening the full council after seven days.

Mojuta on the other hand quashes Molatlhegi’s claim that a special full council has not been scheduled prior the full council sitting scheduled for May 30, 2017. He says the special full council will convene on May 29, 2017, a day prior to the ordinary full council where the newly elected leadership will address the house. The opposition however says they are not aware of the May 29 special full council.



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