The Assistant Minister of Local Government, Kentse Rrammidi last week had to run to Francistown to try and resolve the ongoing conflict between city mayor Shadreck Nyeku and some of his councilors. A war of words erupted between the mayor and the councilors after the former’s trip to Genk, Belgium, which the councilors say they were not told about.
At the meeting, the councilors accused Nyeku of making unilateral decisions and acting without consultation. They told the minister that Nyeku went to Genk without telling them, and also added that the mayor selfishly reserved the trip for himself. The councilors also said that a lot of Nyeku’s decisions are influenced by political favoritism.
They said that only a few among the Francistown councilors are the mayor’s preferred friends, and they are in the list of councilors who accompanied him to Genk.
“We have on numerous occasions tried to advise the mayor on procedures to be followed when making decisions, but he does not want to listen” they said.
Monarch south councilor Ignatius Moswaane also accused Nyeku of using the trip for his personal gain.
“The mayor excluded other councilors when choosing the delegation that accompanied him to Genk. This is wrong, because public funds were used in the trip” said Moswaane.
Sattelite ward councilor James Kgalajwe also took a swipe at Nyeku, saying that they only heard about the trip to Genk in the media, and a full council meeting was never convened to discuss the trip.
“We should also be consulted in decision making because we represent the wishes of the electorate” said Kgalajwe.
In his defense, Nyeku said that all the proper procedures were followed when electing the Genk delegation. He added that when the delegation from Genk visited Francistown early this year, a twinning committee was elected to decide on a list of delegates who will be on the return visit.
“The trip to Belgium is of utmost importance because the relationship between the FCC and the City of Genk has been very vital to the development of the citizens of the two countries” said Rammidi.
He added that councilors should realize that trips of international interest have a bearing on the image of the country.
“The ministry is accountable for the budget at the national assembly with regard to all councils in Botswana, and should be very much involved” he said.
The trip to Genk is in line with the memorandum of agreement between the two cities, signed in 2004.