What started as a concerted full council boycott by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Gaborone councillors whose alleged objective was to dethrone the opposition led Gaborone City Council ( GCC) in June this year has created divisions amongst the ruling party’s council conspirators. Information reaching The Gazette is that former mayor Veronica Lesole, nominated councillor Rupert Hambira and Phakalane councillor Unice Mguni are eyeing the mayoral seat currently occupied by Botswana Movement for Democracy’s Haskins Nkaigwa.
Councillor Hambira had in June tabled a motion that the current opposition leadership of the GCC had lost the majority status and should resign their positions with immediate effect so that the council could elect new office bearers. Nkaigwa’s team has since refused to step down and said that by doing so they would be contravening the Local Government Act. That led to the BDP councillors boycotting the full council meetings in June and July this year.
With the Nkaigwa team still in full control, the fight has shifted from toppling him to who will take his seat should the BMD be ousted, a move that The Gazette source says has divided the BDP councillors and which is likely going to thwart their efforts to unseat the current mayor.
However, Hambira has refuted reports that the BDP councillors are not united. “The allegation that I wanted to be a mayor was just a lie from the beginning. BDP councillors have never met to nominate either one of us for the seat. Is not a question of whether any individual wants to be a mayor or not. BDP councillors have not shown any divisions. We did not table the motion because one of us wanted to be a mayor but we tabled it on the majority status of the councillors. We are completely not divided as a group of BDP councillors,” he said.
The Gazette has been informed that there is a possible full council boycott next week Monday. “We still have to take a stand on what we are going to do. At the moment there are no concrete resolutions on the way forward, I can assure you that we will be there for the opening of the full council meeting but I do not know what might happen during the meeting. We might walk out,” said BDP Councillor Seabelo Thekiso in an interview.
He confirmed that their last full council meeting in June did not go well. “We had some concerns as BDP councillors that we needed to voice out and we believed that there were some actions that needed to be taken. But we failed and the council mayor ended up adjourning on the reasons that the council was unable to form a quorum,” he said.
He said as BDP councillors, they still maintain their previous position. “We have never met as BDP councillors to find the way forward on the matter. Immediately after the council adjourned we travelled to Maun for the party elective congress. When we got back we were busy registering for bulela ditswe. We will still maintain our previous position. It is not a boycott as such but rather a protest because we feel we are not given what is rightfully ours (the mayoral seat),” he said.
Meanwhile, Nkaigwa has labelled the BDP councillors as hypocrites. “The boycott affects service delivery. There are many issues that were supposed to be addressed by the council during the last council meeting but were not done because BDP councillors walked out. We still question ourselves as to why they boycott the full council meeting while at the same time they attend special full council meetings,” said Nkaigwa.
He further said that though the BDP councillors continue to boycott full council meetings, at the end of the day the current leadership under his guidance will continue to exercise their mandate. “The Minister could be the solution to this issue but as he is of the ruling BDP he has decided to keep quiet. The big picture here is to represent Batswana; we have to ensure that we achieve our goal as the representatives of the people. It could make sense if the BDP councillors say they boycott the full council meeting because we do not deliver but now it’s all about their emotions,” he said.