Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) councillors at Serowe Administrative Authority (SAA) have taken a decision to boycott all sub-committees of the council with immediate effect. This comes after the councillors were not elected to any chairmanship of the sub-committees but were rather made additional members.
The subcommittees include among others Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA), Finance, Health and Liquor and Trading. BPF has eleven (11) voted councillors at SAA while Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has seven (7) councillors. Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Eric Molale then approved nomination of six (6) BDP councillors to shoot up the BDP representation to thirteen (13). The SAA consists of 24 councillors -18 duly elected and six nominated. Nominated Councillor Lesedi Phuthego who lost during the 2019 general election chairs the council.
The query by BPF councillors is that failure to have them chairing any of the sub-committees has disadvantaged them because they would not be represented at the Performance Monitoring Committee (PMC) which is the main committee of the council. The PMC is made up of Chairpersons of the sub-committees. In an interview with Botswana Guardian Councillor Nametso Senku of Patikwane Ward in the Serowe North Constituency said they find no use in participating in the sub-committees while they would not have any input in the PMC.
“PMC is the final decision-making committee. Whatever issue is discussed at sub-committes is taken to the PMC which consolidates all the issues after deliberating on them and takes them to the Full Council at Central District Council. “We have the specially elected councillors running the SAA but these are the people who do not have mandate from the electorates. “They have been rejected at the polls and now the BDP government has rewarded them so that they could safeguard the interest of the BDP.
“Nomination of the six BDP members by Molale was aimed at diluting the majority of the opposition BPF so that they could control the council. “They have won in that regard but we had thought that there would be cross-sectional representation. So, since that did not happen we would not participate in those committees which are currently sitting,” said Senku on behalf of the BPF councillors.
He said they would be addressing their constituents in their respective wards about this development. He said the situation is worrisome at the council. According Senku they had requested that specially elected councillors should not have voting powers but the motion was defeated by the majority BDP councillors. BPF, a breakaway party from the BDP, has won all three Serowe constituencies at Parliamentary level.
“Chairperson of SAA is a special nominee rejected at the general election. He is heading the same people that rejected him. SAA has about five committees and four (4) of these committees are chaired by Specially-elected councillors. “Only one (1) out of the 18 councillors with wards chairs one (1) committee. The Standing Orders of CDC dictate in Section 9.5 that there be cross-sectional representation in all the committees. “Clause 9.6 recognised councillors with trained skills to also make representation in the committees,” said Senku who argued that this decision goes against the promise by minister Molale that nomination of councillors will not distort the 2019 election outcome.