Parliament Rejects Nominated Councillors Motion

| December 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

A motion moved by Francistown South MP, Mr Winter Mmolotsi to abolish the privilege of nominated councillors was on Friday, November 28, voted down by 28 to 14 MPs.

The majority of legislators argued extensively in favour of the retention of the dispensation because it still served its purpose hence an eventual vote that ended with 28 MPs against 14 who were in support of the motion.

When tabling the motion, Mr Mmolotsi said this year saw an increase of nominated councillors in urban councils such as Francistown, Jwaneng, Sowa Town, Ghanzi and Gaborone.

He said it defeated logic and common sense why the minister responsible ignored that the latest Delimitation Commission did not increase the number of constituencies and wards on account of budgetary constraints.

“I believe that if government honestly felt the need for more councillors itvshould have moved a motion calling for a quota to be implemented by the demarcation committees so that we have more wards to subject to electoral contest,” he said.

He said since the combined opposition vote amounted to 53.7 per cent against BDP’s 46.3 per cent, one would have thought that the minister would have considered the voice and aspirations of the people.

Mr Mmolotsi said the authority vested on the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development had been in practice since 1966 and that it did not serve the purpose anymore.

He said at the time, the system served its purpose as there were few graduates and no retired educated Batswana who could contest in local government elections then.

He further noted that in essence, councillors should be nominated on the basis of merit, that is, their expertise in the social, economic and educational fields, and not according to political affiliation. Mr Mmolotsi also said the nominations were a clear preserve of males as 73 of them were elected against 46 women.

He said the practice had been turned into a patronage exercise aimed at rewarding the ruling party activists and settling factional scores within the party, as well as a cash cow as each councillor contributed P100 to the party monthly to raise funds.

Opposition members who supported the motion argued that the dispensation was used to reward members of the ruling party. They said the fact that government had been singing economic recession constraints was not consistent with the expenses that will be incurred rewarding loyalists of the BDP.

Selebi Phikwe West MP, Mr Dithapelo Keorapetse said one would have imagined minority parties would be considered for such positions, especially considering that some of the nominated councilors had been rejected before.

MP for Mochudi Wes,t Mr Gilbert Mangole said the act to nominate councillors initially had good intensions, but was now being abused, while MP for Gaborone Central, Mr Phenyo Butale said the process was undemocratic as it did not leave power to the people.

Meanwhile, the ruling party MPs who included Tati East, Mr Samson Guma, Nata-Gweta MP, Mr Polson Majaga, Nkange MP, Mr Edwin Batshu, Shoshong MP, Mr Phillip Makgalemele and Mahalapye East MP, Ms Botlogile Tshireletso, said the exercise served the purpose because not all requisite skills needed in councils were met during general elections.

They said the process was not partisan because three opposition councillors were voted and that the necessary clauses for electing specially nominated councillors were followed.

Mr Guma said the exercise should rather be reviewed than to be abolished and that Mr Mmolotsi should have suggested the amendment of the act that empowered the minister to nominate councillors. “The MP seems to suggest that the act is outdated,” he said.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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