Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) has intervened to resolve the ongoing impasse between the Sowa Township Authority Councillors, Council and parent ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.BALA is the umbrella body for all councillors, whether elected or nominated. Under BALA all councillors are governed by a code to ensure that public service delivery by all councils is not interrupted.
A fortnight ago some of the councillors took government to court saying the Ministry was denying them the right to claim daily mileage for using their own transport when they attend council meetings.The decision came after Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi dissolved the Sowa Township Authority after the Councillors refused to give their Town Clerk, Ogaufi Molelo the power of attorney to appoint a lawyer to represent the council against them in the case.
The BALA delegation is made up of 8 people - four politicians and four council executives. It is led by BALA President Reverend Mpho Moruakgomo, who confirmed the developments to Botswana Guardian. “The challenge is the council has to sit and accordingly give the Town clerk the power to appoint an attorney who will represent them in court, but the council is not able to make a quorum as some councillors say they are conflicted and cannot sit in a meeting which will give power of attorney to appoint an attorney who will represent the council against them”.
However, Moruakgomo said they were continuing with dialogue and seeking further consultations on what would be conflict and what is not.There is no time frame as to when the delegation will wrap up its mediation.“We met at the end of last week in Francistown.
The meeting was cordial and frank, we remain hopeful that we will find a middle ground,” he said. Meantime, Minister Moitoi felt compelled to withdraw the Investigation Committee that she had appointed and dispatched to Sowa when the Councillors filed the matter in court. Moitoi then appealed to the Attorney General for legal advice, which has since applied to represent government.
Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe confirmed that the Ministry has briefed them that Councillors have taken the council to court and that the council is not represented. “We are going to make an application to represent the council,” he said The Sowa Town Council has a total of 9 councillors, 8 of which are nominated while the ninth is an ex- officio as he has been duly elected and a member of the Central District Council in Serowe