The Kweneng District Council the past last week made history when its special full council meeting voted a female Vice Chairperson for the first time in its existence. Tshepho Chakwe-Wareus emerged victorious by getting 56 votes against Mookami Mantimane’s 25.
Wareus is a Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) nominated councilor from Gabane in the Gabane-Mankgodi constituency under the Mogoditshane-Thamaga sub district. Mantimane is from the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Prior to their election, the meeting had elected another BDP councilor, Geoffrey Sibisibi as the Chairperson. Sibisibi got 53 votes while his UDC competitor, Molatedi Tona Selala was voted by 27 councilors. The duo takes baton from Motlhophi Leo and Palelo Motaosane, both BDP councilors who were Chairperson and Vice Chairperson respectively.
Talks of the election of the council leadership and who would be the nominees started circulating on Thursday evening after the ruling party’s councilors, who make more than 60 per cent of the council’s more than 80 councilors caucused to nominate their favourite candidates. Friday’s election was just formality.
“I am not surprised to find that the BDP members have voted out Councilor Leo though he is one Chairman who can protect the political representation from the council staff should things get to boiling point. Their factions are back at work. Most of those who won at the past general elections are the “A” team while Barata Phathi lost. These two camps do not work together,” said an opposition councilor who did not want to be mentioned.
But an elderly BDP councilor, a woman, Councilor Winnie Cassim of Kumakwane, dismissed talks of factions, saying they do not exist. She expressed gratitude over the election of a woman to Vice Chairmanship.
“It is a positive move. I believe in the future we are going to elect a woman Chairperson,” she smiled.
Chakwe-Wareus has a long traceable history with the BDP. Besides having attempted parliamentary primaries back home in the Gabane-Mankgodi constituency, she has been working in the BDP headquarters for a long time. She has also held leadership positions in the party women’s wing.