Gaborone City councillors are divided over a mayor’s car worth over half a million. The car, Lexus GS 350, 2013 model is worth P550┬á000 00 or more. GCC mayor Haskins Nkaigwa distanced himself from the purchasing of the car saying he never agreed with the idea to buy a new car but the Finance committee went ahead to buy the car.
Councillors say they were kept in dark about the purchasing of the car. Botswana Congress Party councillor (BCP) Ephraim Mabengano said the issue cropped up sometime back but was never brought before the full council, “on normal circumstance, looking at the challenges we have as the Gaborone City Council.”
“As councillors there is no how we could have advocated for such huge amount for one car when traffic lights are not working, when street lights not working and when there are potholes in every road in the town,” he said.
Botswana National Front (BNF) councillor for Bontleng, Olebogeng Kemelo said the price of the vehicle is not worth it looking at the fact that council is in debts.
“I do no remember at any point in time the idea of purchasing mayor’s car being brought before us but I can confirm to you that some budgets for buying refuse cars are brought before us. I do not know why this particular matter was never brought before us. We have matters of developments around town, our city is dirty and I think on normal circumstances the money could be used to benefit the Gaborone community,” he said.
┬áRecently The Telegraph quoted Nkaigwa as saying that GCC was in debts, “we have also seen loss of jobs, we are faced with a situation whereby we are in debts, and from January this year to March Gaborone council was broke to an extent that we were unable to collect refuse. ┬áWe were just hiding it; most of the places around Gaborone were challenged in terms of waste management because we did not have money to collect refuse. In certain areas of the city we did not collect waste for a period of six weeks,” he said.
Asked to comment on the purchasing of the car, Nkaigwa said he was against the purchasing of the car but the finance committee went ahead and purchased the car.
┬á“The finance committee was responsible for the purchase of the vehicle. I personally did not agree with the purchasing of the car because there are developments that need to be done in the city. I represent people and I have to serve them well. I can only refuse but the authority lies within the system. If the system had plans to buy that car there is less that I can do or the councillors can do to change that. These are directives from the system,” he said.
In the neighbouring Zimbabwe the City of Kwekwe mayor, Matenda Titos Madzoke refused ┬á┬áa $68 000 car that the city wanted to buy for him suggesting that a refuse truck be bought instead. He prefers using his bicycle instead, which he uses to cycle to work, and to be closer to people because he says, “there is no way I can hear complaints from people while driving a car around a city full of potholes,”
This publication was unable to solicit a comment from the Finance Committee office.