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.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.