Since the 14th of December last year, Central District Council (CDC) full meetings have turned into boardroom brawls pitting Chairperson Peter Williams against councillors who are deemed “ungovernable and working against the government of the day.”
This, according to the information presented to this publication, emanates from tussle over the powers of attorney by the council. Councillors say it should be their responsibility to appoint a lawyer to represent them in any issue that needs a legal representation. On the other hand the chairperson, Williams is of the view that the council Secretary be given unlimited powers of attorney. The antagonists of Council Secretary, given those powers, argue that it would be a breeding space for corrupt activities which the council has zero tolerance for.
In fact they have suggested that after every quarter they appoint legal mind to assist them as that way it would be easy to avoid unethical exploits. While the matter was decided through voting by the councillors with most of them agreeing that the power of attorney is their sole responsibility, Weekendpost understands that the chairperson went ahead and gave Secretary those powers. “He then reversed the decision saying as the Chairperson he has the powers to decide whether it should be councillors or Secretary,” said Mpho Kooreme who is vocal and against the decision.
“We argued that the power of attorney should be the sole responsibility of the council and not that of the Secretary but the Chairperson, believed that Secretary be given those,” said another councillor Thatayaone Kehitile. This was a turning point as the councillors felt undermined and decided to storm out of the meeting, leaving council limping without forming quorum. The CDC is one of the largest in the country consisting of 174 councillors with 50+1 percent enough for council business to go on.
The rebellion by the councillors saw the Chairperson penning two letters; one to Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Frans Van Der Westhuizen and the other to BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi to take action with possibility of firing them. The letter is said to be highlighting that “the councillors make council ungovernable and are working against the government of the day.”
“Surprisingly when we walked out we were many but now the letters have been addressed to the four of us. We are also penning our letters to both the Minister and the party SG because we don’t know whether they have responded to his,” one of the victimised councillor Kooreme said in an interview. All the four councillors who were also booted out of the Wednesday session are BDP members (Gabagopolwe Sebele, Sylvester Masweu, Kooreme and Bolesitswe).
Sources from the Serowe based headquarters say the four have been ‘victimised’ because they have been leading the matter to have powers of attorney as the responsibility of the councillors. “We are surprised as to how come he wrote to the party because whatever happened was under the official cap of council not politically. What was he going to do if it was members from the opposite aisle,” said another councillor who is concerned by turn-out of events.
This week a plan was hatched to slap Williams with a motion of no confidence but it never saw the light of the day as kingpins were kicked out of the chambers. Contacted to comment on the matter, Williams said he should be given time as the matter is yet to be resolved. “I won’t say anything because for now we are still dealing with the matter and maybe if you can check on me tomorrow,” he said.
As of Thursday all party caucus also took hours to put the matter to bed as the councillors suggested that the Secretary be given the powers on temporary basis, looking at the cases to be presented before the courts. However this publication is reliably informed that after serious consultations resulting in voting, it has been decided that the Secretary be given powers on three months basis subject to assessment.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.