Although the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had successfully brokered peace between Sylvia Muzila and her councillors through Additional Central Committee Member Slumber Tsogwane, it appears that the city mayor needed President Ian Khama as a weapon to show Francistown councillors who’s boss.
“President there is lot of indiscipline from some politicians in this city, therefore I want you to find time and come to discipline them as they are delaying the progress of development,” reported Muzila to Khama when welcoming him to the official opening of the Francistown/Tonota road over the weekend.
What Muzila called the ‘indiscipline of politicians’ was reference to the protracted political stand-off that actually culminated in her suspending a council session for 14 days, partly to avert a Motion of No Confidence which was intended to be raised by a concert of her party colleagues and the opposition who want to depose her.
When Khama responded to Muzila’s appeal for discipline among councillors, he adopted his usual headmaster’s tone and issued them what was effectively a veiled threat. “I have heard a lot of reports that you are always bothering the Mayor but this has to come to an end because it is disrespectful to her considering the office she holds. Being a politician is not a guarantee to misbehave therefore what I heard about your discipline has to me come to an end today. You should behave. We are a peaceful nation therefore peace has to prevail in this city,” he said.
BDP councillors who spoke to The Botswana Gazette expressed surprise at Khama’s endorsement of Muzila’s remarks which they say were pettily reigniting unnecessary issues after the matter was settled following party intervention.
An insider tells this publication that Muzila however had a score to settle with councillors after some of them, last week, blamed her for the slow progress of projects during a progress tour. “She still feels that councilors will point to projects delays as one of her main failures. So, she wanted to counter their plan by making Khama aware of their intention to discredit her.”
A BDP councillor who spoke to The Botswana Gazette anonymously says they have no option but to go back to their plan to topple Muzila: “The best way is now to connive with opposition and an unseat her once to avoid the rivalry she is bringing to council.”
Muzila, however, did not respond to questions and phone calls when reached for comment. The Botswana Gazette will however be happy to give her a chance to state her side of the story.