A second sitting Botswana Democratic Party councillor in a Mahalapye constituency has resigned from the party and will be standing as an independent candidate in the coming general election. Interestingly, her MP is glad to see the back of her because “she was ineffectual and did little to advance the cause of women in politics”.
In her letter of resignation, Letlhogonolo Mabua expresses frustration at having to wait for an unreasonably long period of time to get feedback on her appeal from the Shoma (Shoshong-Mahalapye) regional committee.
“This situation has fuelled my decision to have no choice but to resign from your party (BDP) with immediate effect. I wish you the best results in the coming elections,” Mabua writes in her letter.
She is Dibete/Phala Road councillor in the Mahalapye East constituency and has held that position for 10 years now.
On the other hand, area MP Botlogile Tshireletso, feels that Mabua’s departure is good riddance because in all the time that she was councillor, she failed to discharge the duties of her office in a diligent manner.
“The people of Dibete and Phala Road complained bitterly about her. I tried talking to her myself imploring her to take her duties more seriously but to no avail. I cannot think of anything she did for her constituents during the time that she has been councillor. For the women’s movement, this is a major setback because when we advocate for the inclusion of women in decision-making bodies, we are talking of people who can deliver on their mandate. Just being a woman is not enough,” says Tshireletso, adding that Mabua’s commitment to the party itself was questionable. “If she was half-BDP, she might as well go.”
Mabua has indeed come under attack for neglecting her duties. About two years ago she was embroiled in a row with some of her constituents in Phala Road who complained that she was shirking her responsibilities as an elected representative. The constituents complained at a kgotla meeting that she never addressed a meeting in the village and never gave them feedback about the outcome of full council meetings. While her explanation was that she had not been able to visit the village because of ill health and having been in confinement, Mabua ultimately apologised to Phala Road residents. She also claimed to have intelligence about a plot being hatched to have her replaced with somebody else. She was right.
At the time of this controversy, plans were underway to replace her with Abdul Bosekeng, a former Gaborone City councillor who transferred his party membership from Gaborone West North to Mahalapye East. He beat her in the primaries and is the BDP candidate for the Dibete/Phala Road ward. Mabua says that she went into the primary election well aware that the odds were stacked against her.
She has served two terms as councillor. During her first stint her ward was in the Shoshong constituency but following the rezoning of constituencies, fell under the new constituency of Mahalapye East. It was this transfer, she claims, that spelt doom for her political career as the leadership of her new constituency sidelined her.
“I wasn’t even invited to meetings,” she says.
Mabua plans to stand as an independent if only to never regret not having taken the chance. She follows in the footsteps of Gaomotho Selato of Mahalapye North in the Mahalapye North constituency who resigned last month. Both are unhappy not only over circumstances under which they lost in the primary elections, but also about the manner in which their appeals were handled by the party leadership.