The last sitting of the Maun Administrative Council (MAA) which is a subordinate of the North West District Council (NWDC) was disrupted and brought to a standstill on Monday after the reading of the chairman’s speech.
This was after the leader of the opposition at the council, who is also councillor for Khwai/Mababe, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho tore apart his copy of the speech and threw it on the floor in full view of fellow councilors, government officials and members of the public who were present at the commencement of the meeting.
Upon noticing the rare behavior, councilors made a request through Chairman Gaokgakala Letswee that Ntsogotho should be made to withdraw his actions and with dignity just pick the pieces of the speech and let the council proceedings continue.
However he declined, saying the speech just fell by mistake and therefore was not in a position to pick papers which had mistakenly fallen. The situation was later saved by NWDC chairman, Reaboka Mbulawa who was also in attendance. He requested that he be allowed to pick the speech himself, and his request was okayed by Letswee.
“I have never seen it happening in this or any other council, whereby councilors are ordered to pick up fallen papers. As a result I am not going to do anything of that sort just to please this house. So your request is turned down”, said Ntsogotho in defence.
However in an interview afterwards, Ntsogotho admitted to have thrown out the chairman’s speech deliberately. He also vowed he will not even comment on the said speech as is norm for councilors to debate the chairman’s speech a day after it would have been read. He noted that he tore the speech in protest as it carried no weight and thus not making any sense to him.
“Because this is the last session of the sub council meeting, we had expected as councilors that the chairman brief us on our achievements and failures as council as well us to brief us on the progress report but these were forthcoming,” said Ntsogotho.
“We are here as people’s representatives, and so we cannot be made to waste time here listening to the same old stuff. What does he expect us to take to our people as feedback?”
Ntsogotho further said they are rarely given a chance as councilors to air their views on issues of concern. He stated that the chairman’s speech should be informed by councilor’s concerns, which is however not the case at MAA.
Nevertheless Letswee expressed disappointment following the behavior by the leader of the opposition. He said while he cannot stop councilors’ protests, Ntsogotho’s manner of doing it was very inappropriate as he did not show respect for the house, more so that he is the Leader of the Opposition.
He said the chairman’s speech is not guided by councilors’ opinions as individuals, adding however that in some instances council can opt to put forward councilors’ opinions based on their sensitivity.
“Such behavior by an honorable councilor cannot be tolerated. Had it not been for Mbulawa to pick the said speech, I would have thrown him out of the house or even ceased his sitting allowance. The council chamber is a public space which has to be respected at all times. In the future I am not going to tolerate such behavior,” he said