All fair in love and war

NEW CHAIRPERSON: Itumeleng Kelebetseng

BCP/BDP to boot out UDC chairpersons from NWDC committees

As the rivalry between BCP and UDC intensifies in North West District Council, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillors in collaboration with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) on Wednesday this week restructured council committees and rooted out Umbrella For Democratic Change (UDC) chairpersons.

Using their numbers, 20 against six of UDC, and armed with a recent favourable ruling by Maun High court stating that councillors have a right to topple leadership through the ballot even without a warning, the councillors went on an onslaught against UDC a partis prepare for 2024 general elections campaign period.

“The councillors have made it clear that they do not have confidence in the past UDC led council leadership hence they took a resolution to remove the chairman and his deputy and by restructuring committees, we are ready to take services to the people accordingly,” explained newly elected chairperson, Itumeleng Kelebetseng in an interview.

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Three weeks ago, BCP and BDP jointly through a vote of no confidence ousted council chairperson, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho and his deputy, Lekonne Masoko, both of UDC and appointed new leadership, being Itumeleng Kelebetseng of BCP as the chair and Nico Folae of BDP as the deputy.

The restructuring of committes which was to take place during the same seating was halted after Ntsogotho and Masoko rushed to Maun high court with an urgent application and plea for reinstatement. They believed they were unprocedurally removed from office and that standing orders were also violated.

They argued in their application that the special meeting was called to discuss other matters concerning the public but then turned out to be a mission to topple them.

Nonetheless Justice Bugalo Maripe ruled that the councillors acted within the rules and their rights to remove the two.

“The chairperson and or his deputy hold office at the pleasure of the other members who are entitled to remove them only by vote which is not less than two thirds of the members and this vote can be passed anytime without warning. The position is in the nature of privilege. A chairperson cannot demand or claim a right to remain in office as such. They can only demand that they not be removed by a vote which is less than two thirds. This does not speak to a right but a privilege. It is the other councillors who have a right to remove them. So I do not agree with the assertion that the applicants have a right to remain in office,” pointed out Maripe.

He therefore advised Ntsogotho and Masoko to go back to the council and canvas for votes if they so wish to be reinstated.

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Ntsogotho recently resigned from BCP and opted to remain in UDC. Both BNF and BCP are UDC members. UDC was formed by three opposition parties, BCP, BNF and Botswana People’s Party (BPP) just before 2019 general elections and with infighting and differences between BCP and BNF having intensified in the last few months, BCP have declared that it will not be part of UDC after the end of the current election term ending October 2024.

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