Strange bedfellows

Francinah Baaitse Mmana
NWDC new Chairman, Kelebetseng and his Deputy, Nico Folae

Nothing unites people with a different set of goals than a common enemy.

This truism was demonstrated in Maun on Tuesday when North West District councillors ousted their long time serving chairperson and his deputy and replaced them with newly elected ones in a rare pact between an opposition party and the ruling party against other opposition party members.

The then chairperson, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho and his deputy, Lekonne Masoko were removed from office through a vote of no confidence cast by 20 councillors, 10 from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and 10 from Botswana Congress Party (BCP) against six of Botswana National Front (BNF) under the Umbrella For Democratic Change (UDC).

The duo were replaced by Boseja South councillor, Itumeleng Kelebetseng of BCP as the chair and specially nominated councillor, Nico Folae of BDP. No votes were cast as the two nominated names were unopposed following an alleged agreement between BDP and BCP. Kelebetseng is the new chairman while Folae is his deputy.

“Since we have voted out the leadership and replaced them with new ones due to their incompetency, we want to do a total overhaul of the council committees,” suggested a BDP councillor, Moeteetsi Mogalakwe.

In support was a BCP councillor, Petros Tjijoo who insisted that the current chairpersons of council committees especially Finance and Health need to be changed because they have dismally failed to advice the council on matters of national concern including water situation and progress on the construction of old Letsholathebe hospital and Maun General clinic, which is being elevated into a primary hospital.

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The works at the health centre were supposed to have been completed in 2018 but it has suffered delays.

However tempers flared at the special full council meeting, which was called to discuss these two items, but turned out to be a mission to oust the chairperson, Ntsogotho who recently resigned from BCP and opted to remain in UDC , Masoko who is BNF and any other committee chairperson who is a UDC member.

BCP has been planning to leave UDC at the end of the current parliament term ending next year. BCP, BNF and Botswana People’s Party formed UDC ahead of 2019 general elections and the five-year election term ends in October 2024, but a fall out between BCP and UDC leadership has led to the former opting not to be part of the coalition in the coming general elections.

While BCP councillors argued that they were still very much part of UDC, chairperson of UDC council caucus, councillor Kaukapita Kaukapita noted with disappointment the activities of Tuesday at the council.

“We UDC,refused to be used by BDP, to bring division amongst opposition parties, but it is evident that BCP entertained that for the sake of power. BCP caucused with BDP and voted in unison to oust the council leadership and they know very well that it is not true when they say the duo were incompetent. This is just a political vendetta,” charged Kaukapita

Member of Parliament for Ngami constituency, Carter Hikuama was present through out the council proceedings and asked about the day, he said councillors were simply acting in the interest of electorates, “The important thing is to ensure development and services are taken to the people. It is not about parties but the people,” quipped Hikuama

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