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- Elections of new councils’ political leadership set for January 24th
- BCP & BNF caucused to vote the current NWDC Chair & his Vice
- Both parties warned councilors against defying that caucus
- Traitors will lose party membership & barred from using its logo
With the looming elections of new political leadership committees in the newly established districts, opposition parties have sent a strong warning to its councillors not to defy their party caucuses and vote the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) candidates.
The Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) have cautioned their members to refrain from voting for BDP councillors citing that the main objective of the opposition remains to unseat the BDP government from power.
In the North West, the BDP in the last council leadership elections lost an opposition dominated North West District Council (NWDC) deputy chairmanship by whisker and won the then Okavango Sub District leadership after some opposition (BCP) councillors defied their party caucus and voted for the ruling party.
To avoid a repetition of the same, NWDC Chairman Kebareeditse Ntsogotho has revealed that both opposition parties have put in place stiff disciplinary measures for those who will defy opposition caucus.
The establishment of new districts saw the Maun Administrative Authority (MAA) merging with the North West District Council to make North-West District Council while Okavango Sub-District Council was upgraded to a fully-fledged district council now referred to as Okavango District Council.
The BNF and BCP which forms the majority of the NWDC have since caucused to continue with the current political leadership as it is.
“We had a caucus as BCP councillors, BNF also had theirs. Both parties later had a united caucus in which we agreed for NWDC leadership to continue as it is on the new NWDC set up, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho as the council chair and Lekonne Masoko as his deputy,” Ntsogotho told this publication.
Ntsogotho also indicated that the current MAA chairman Vepaune Moreti and his deputy Petros Tjetjoo will not contest for the elections as they agreed to support him and Masoko.
He noted that though all opposition council members have agreed to unite for the council elections, they are aware that some may choose to defy this decision. He has however indicated that disciplinary measures adopted for council members who will vote against opposition are strategies to win back the new NWDC.
“Whoever defies opposition caucus will be investigated and if found guilty they will lose membership of their respective opposition parties and they will also not be allowed to contest with the opposition logo at the upcoming general elections in 2024 either BNF, BCP or UDC since they would have shown that they are not reliable,” Ntsogotho warned.
The BDP North West Regional Chairman Reaboka Mbulawa on the other side has revealed that the party councillors are yet to meet and caucus on who will contest for the council elections. He noted that though they have not met as a whole, they are in talks on how to prepare for the elections. Unconfirmed reports are that the ruling party may nominate specially elected councillor, Letsogile Motsumi to challenge Ntsogotho, reports which both Motsumi and the BDP has not confirmed nor denied.
In Okavango it is not yet clear as to how the events will unfold as councillors have not openly discussed their next move. The Okavango District Council has a total number of 18 councillors with nine being from and the other half from the opposition. NWDC on the other hand has a total number of 29 councillors with 10 being from BDP and 19 from the opposition.
Meanwhile Ntsogotho has acknowledged government’s decision to establish new district council in Ngamiland noting that with lesser geographical area developments will be easily distributed across the region. “Splitting North West and Okavango was a good move since both councils will be now catering for smaller areas meaning developments will easily reach people,” Ntsogotho said.
The outspoken councillor has however urged government not to have restructured districts for political millage as preparation for the next general elections, but rather the splitting should be holistic in that other district administrative arms should also be availed in the new districts.