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Nominated Cllrs: Molale targets CDC

Publishing Date : 11 November, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

By appointing veteran Minister Eric Molale to head the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) strategists are expecting him to ensure that most of the party members should make the cut for specially nominated councilors.


Minister Molale is by law and purpose expected to announce the final list of nominated councilors soon, usually the last hope of redemption for election losers and political enthusiasts.  He is expected to announce appointment of at least 133 nominated councilors. It is expected that majority of BDP loyalists who lost in the recent general elections will make the list.


Weekendpost could not get an authoritative comment from Molale this week, as he is still new in the portfolio, other reasons were that he was busy with parliamentary business. For now the Ministry is still awaiting various names wishing to be nominated for the council seats. 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 politicians questioning its purpose and fairness. In the last general elections (2014), of the 133 councillors nominated by the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane, only seven belonged to the opposition while the rest were BDP members and predominately preceding election losers.


By law, each party in a council has the right to suggest names for the positions of nominated councilors which are routed through the District Commissioners for consideration by the Ministers. Each constituency is entitled to two nominations which the Minister could decline or accept. “But I can tell you that though the opposition had a good showing, central part will be awarded mostly to the sympathizers of the ruling party especially its members. The party wishes to stamp its authority in the region and chances of opposition members getting the two nominations are next to zero, they will definitely not get,” a highly placed source within the party has revealed to this publication.


There are 15 constituencies in the Central District, which means that there will be 30 councillors for that region. CDC is the largest in the country and accounts for most of the constituencies and council seats. Weekend Post has it on good authority that party activists, especially those who worked hard during the campaigns and those who lost in the past general elections will be rewarded with the special nominations’ to various councils. BDP is also said to be working on a plan that will ensure that nomination of councillors will be used to neutralize opposition in councils 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 23rd elections, the ruling party has control of; Francistown City Council, Sowa Town, North East District Council, Chobe District Council, Southern District Council, and Lobatse Town Council, Jwaneng Town Council, South East, Kweneng, Kgatleng and  Kgalagadi, it however shares Ghanzi with UDC. The UDC is expected to control North West, Central District Council, and Selibe Phikwe.


Among the nominated councillors in the last General Elections whose names raised eyebrows was Alec Seametso, who led the BDP’s 2014 elections campaign. Also nominated in 2014 were Oliphant Mfa, Andy Boatile and Shabir Kablay. This time around the likes of Lotty Manyapedza and Mpho Kooreme are already hinted as possible nominations. The system has always been condemned by opposition MPs as a way of bringing 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.


The immediate past leader of opposition, Duma Boko has in the past revealed that his party planned to overhaul the legislation surrounding specially elected MPs and councillors. “I must record the indignant rage felt by us in the opposition and indeed the scornful resentment all reasonable citizens feel at this disgraceful conduct. There is nothing honorable about the conduct of the executive in this regard.”

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