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Afrobarometer: Batswana reject nomination of Cllrs


A recent survey by the Afrobarometer has revealed that Batswana disapprove of the nomination of Councilors by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.


According to the survey, slightly more than five in ten, (51%) of Batswana, show dissatisfaction with the system of nominated councilors. This week Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane was expected to nominate around 119 councilors nationwide, most of whom are Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) rejects of the just ended general elections.  


The data of the survey was released prior to the recent nomination of the councilors. The nominations are expected to be subject of debate in the ongoing 11th Parliament which promises to produce heated debates between the opposition and the ruling party.


Parliament dominated by BDP MP’s has also moved swiftly this week to notice statutory instrument to increase the number of nominated councilors. The move is seen by observers as attempting to neutralise opposition controlled councils nationwide.
Already opposition controls Gaborone City Council, Kgatleng District Council, South East District Council and Jwaneng Town Council.


Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi was yesterday expected to table a motion calling for abolishment of the system of nominated councilors citing reasons that it is abused by the incumbent government – to prop-up their numbers at councils especially those that are controlled by the opposition parties.


Meanwhile the Afrobarometer survey states that, “the main criticism has been its lack of clear criteria and also for bringing back the losers against the wishes of the electorates. Some members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have also voiced concerns that the system tends to reward friends of the ministers even those coming outside the constituency, and they see this as abuse of the system and undermining their value in the party.”


“The system has always been a contentious issue with opposition political parties including some senior members of the ruling party,” survey further posits.


BDP rewards loyalists
Already in the list the names of Mephato Reatile who lost Jwaneng-Mabule constituency to Shawn Ntlaile of the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Sylviah Muzilla who was defeated by Wynter Mmolotsi of UDC at Francistown South and Mpho Moruakgomo who was also defeated in the Mochudi East constituency by UDC’s Isaac Davids among others – have all made their way to council chambers through the minister’s nomination process.


Other BDP members who lost in the BDP primary elections last year such as Greg Losibe who lost to Jonny Sawrtz in Ghanzi North, are also said to be in the list. In addition BDP Publicity Committee Secretary Macdonald Peloetletse, Kagiso Ntime who joined the party after disapproving umbrella model of opposition parties and Andy Boatile who face stiff competition in the coming National Youth Executive Committee have also been nominated for Council.


Key Findings
The survey found out that 53% of urban residents do not agree with the current system of specially nominated councilors whilst 45% say the system should be retained.


It states that there are no major differences between those in rural areas and semi-urban areas. 55% of those in rural areas do not support the system against 40% who agree with it.


It also revealed that “age plays an important role as slightly more than half (53%) of the elderly, those who are 65 and above think the system should be retained against 36% who do not support it.  


There are mixed reactions regarding those who are 50 and below.  55% of the youth (18-29) are against the system whilst 40% are for it. Men, the survey says are more assertive about rejection of the system as 55% say so, compared to 50% of women who equally reject special nomination by the Minister.  


The Afro barometer survey also highlighted that the system is most disliked by those close to the opposition political parties, as 65% either agree or agree strongly that the system should be abolished whilst 33% support its retention.  


“Within those identifying with the ruling party, one in five (50%) believe the system works well whilst 44% say it should be done away with.  This is not surprising to find that the system finds favour within the ruling party as it is used to reward its activists.”


Afrobarometer is an African-led, non-partisan research project that has measured countries’ social, political, and economic atmosphere since 1999.


Afrobarometer is funded by the UK Department of International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and World Bank.
In its sixth survey round (2014-15), it is covering 35 countries. In Botswana, the face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults were done by Star Awards (Pty) Ltd.

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