Saturday, July 31, 2021

Minister Molale faces revolt from BDP councilors

Eric Molale faces pressure from councilors within his party in the Goodhope-Mabule constituency to resign over an alleged broken promise to hike their pay by six percent.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has declined to comment on claims made by a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Councilor for Rakhuna ward, Aaron Mothibi, who has expressed his disappointment in Molale.

The BDP councillor claims the Member of Parliament (MP) is not supportive to their plea.

“As councilors we work hard covering for the MP but we get little recognition. We long pleaded with him, also knowing that he is the Minister responsible for councilors, but he has shown no interest.” 

“He (Molale) is in Gaborone as we speak while councilors are busy working for him. We long requested for an increment but to this day nothing has come our way while MPs have received increment,” added Mothibi.

He highlighted that Molale has failed to demonstrate his leadership qualities.

“We had requested that in the 2019-2020 financial year, we should receive 6% salary increment and then receive another one in the following financial year but nothing has materialized,” said Mothibi.

Meanwhile, Rakhuna ward councilor also said Molale should uphold his promise of quitting politics at the end of his current term.

Another BDP Councilor in the constituency who declined to be named said Molale has failed councilors, adding that he has become arrogant.

“He is self-serving and satisfies himself first. Because MP’s have received an increment he is not concerned about our plight. It is sad that we have him as our MP,” said the councilor.

For her part, BDP Councilor for Hebron ward Dianah Mokube also said it was disheartening to see councilors being overlooked when it comes to salary increments despite the immense role they play on behalf of MPs.

“We are the grassroots in MP’s constituencies therefore it would have been prudent to be awarded increment without having to struggle so much. We are quite disappointed because we have long pleaded for increment. Now we are still being told there is no money,” added Mokube.

On the other hand, Molale refused to comment on the issue, saying that they have previously engaged councilors on the matter.

In April this year, civic leaders from different political parties wanted the Ministry to give them answers on when they will not get their back pays, failing which they will take government to court.

A petition submitted to the ministry dated April 20, 2021, reads: “Your office must take cognisance that it had been one year and one month without receiving these funds. We put it to you that the delay of this money had amounted to significant distress and damages in our lives. It is safe to submit to you that the fund in question is available and secured for us as per our legitimate expectations and understanding.

This letter serves to request your office to clarify as to when is your office intending to pay councillors the outstanding six percent increment and back pays. We verily trust this notice explains to you fairly well that this practice also gives birth or rise to several potential disputes, unfair business practices and breach of contract.”    

Local Government ministry was allocated total budget of P8.5 billion for 2021\2022 financial year.

Government indicated that the largest share of P7.1 billion is for recurrent and P1.4 billion for development budget.

P4.7 billion of the recurrent budget is allocated for councils for their operations.

“Social protection department has been given P1.5 billion of the recurrent budget to take care of the old age and destitute pensions amongst others. The Tribal Administration is getting P662 million for allowances and salaries,” said PS in the Ministry of local government and rural development Permanent Secretary Molefi Keaja noting that he expects money to be well utilized.

From the P1.4 billion development budget, Keaja said that P554 million is reserved for primary education noting that money will be for extension existing schools and building of 12 new schools.

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