Sunday, April 18, 2021

Mayor accused of attempting to stifle motion

Botswana Congress Party’s Gaborone councilor for Moselewapula Ward Ndiwaani Kenosi says that he was very disappointed at the way the Gaborone City Council mayor Veronica Lesole stifled a motion of no confidence he had brought against her and all Council Committees early this week .

This led to a full Council meeting being unnecessarily adjourned.

Speaking in an interview with Sunday Standard this week, Kenosi said that when tabling the motion of no confidence in Council and its committees, he had not intended to stop the Council proceedings but just to air his views on what he thinks were the shortcoming of the mayor and Council committees.

He said this was a normal practice in Councils. A motion would be tabled, debated and voted upon and Council would proceed regardless of the outcome of the voting.

“I had not expected this at all; I am greatly disappointed but I, at the same time, do not regret having done it,” he said.

On what had led to him tabling the motion, Kenosi said that he was led to doing that by the way the mayor was running the Council, which he said was in a way dictatorial in that she did not consult them on important issues that concern the Council.

For example, he said that some stalls in Gaborone’s Ginger and Broadhurst locations were given out to some Old Naledi residents without having people tendering for them.

Kenosi said that he had brought up this issue with the mayor and was initially told those given stalls were given them because they were youths.

When he persisted and asked whether they were the only youths in the country he said he was promised that the issue would be dealt with but nothing had since happened.

Kenosi said that it was later noticed that the Old Naledi residents who were given the stalls were card carrying members of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.

He also said that the mayor had been taking overseas trips to countries like Japan and China without their knowledge or even divulging the purpose of such visits.

Kenosi said that they only hear about the visits after she had returned and that it was only over her visit to China that they have heard about of and the reason and results for the visit.
He said that on her return from China the mayor had told them that she had identified a contract in China that would come and construct a Mall Plaza for the council.

This, he said, greatly surprised him because it showed quite well that set procedures for tendering had not been followed, which he said was very wrong.

“We never heard about the tender which has now been given to a Chinese company without having been tendered for locally. This is a clear disregard for law by the mayor and is amongst the reasons I wanted to table a motion of no confidence against her,” he said.

Kenosi said that the mayor is now fighting tooth and nail to make sure the motion is not debated and, in doing so, violates the set rules of the Council.

For instance, he said they had indicated that they would want specially elected members of Council to vote, which he says is against both the “Standing Orders” and “ Township Act”.
“ Appointed Council members shall enjoy all rights as other members other than the voting right of a member of Council.”

Besides this, he said that the mayor had indicated that he would like the members to use their hands to vote for the motion instead of the normal way of secret voting.

He said he suspects this is in order to intimidate some of their BDP councilors who would like to vote for the motion.

The BDP led Council is said to have vowed to fight the issue regarding the interpretation of the Act all the way to the High Court, which Kenosi says would be “a sad day for GCC and Gaborone residents”.

The mayor has declined to comment on the issue saying, ”I will address all that when the Council reconvenes.”

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper