Botswana Movement for Democracy’s Haskins Nkayigwa and Botswana Congress Party’s Ephraim Mabengano are set to take over the helm of the Gaborone City Council after the opposition coalition recently wrestled control of the Gaborone council from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.
Although the opposition caucus has not yet met to formally elect a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Sunday Standard has been informed that the two are currently favourites to take over the leadership of GCC.
Nkayigwa was Deputy Mayor when he defected from BDP to BMD, while Mabengano is a long serving senior councilor who has also served in many of GCC’s standing committees.
Mabengano is also councilor for Segoditshane Ward in Gaborone Central, and he has been an opposition firebrand since he joined politics.
The recent developments come in the wake of an exodus of BDP councilors to the opposition, which is set to end incumbent Mayor Veronica Lesole’s reign.
Lesole has never had it easy as GCC Mayor, as she faced open dissent even from some BDP councilors, who accused her of nepotism and lack of consultation. She recently survived a motion of no confidence, moved by opposition councilor, Ibo Kenosi, by a whisker. This was after the Attorney General ruled that specially-elected councilors can vote, contrary to normal practice.
Other councilors who defected from the BDP include Oabile Mafunga of Naledi Central, Marx Bobi of Notwane, Nunu Lekau of Marulamantsi and Gabonewe Ketumile of Sekgwa Ward.
BMD’s Kabo Morwaeng on Friday called for incumbent mayor Veronica Lesole of the BDP to resign with immediate effect to avoid embarrassment.
“We call on her to resign immediately and let fate take its course. It is evident that the opposition has taken control of GCC, and we wonder what she is still holding on for,” he said.
However, Morwaeng was cagey when asked to confirm who among the opposition councilors will be elected to the GCC political leadership.
“The opposition council caucus will meet before the September sitting to decide who they will elect into the leadership. At the moment I cannot comment on the issue,” he said.
Morwaeng said the recent takeover of the GCC by the opposition is an indication of bigger things to come.
The opposition currently controls the Francistown City Council, and Morwaeng is confident that they will soon take over control of Selibe Phikwe Town Council.
“People have lost faith in BDP’s internal democracy and their ability to lead this country going forward. Instead, they have found a home in the opposition coalition,” he said.
However, the BDP recently dismissed the defection of its councilors as a welcome relief, saying the councilors were divisive elements who were obviously opposition activists even during their stay at BDP.
BMD currently has 10 councilors in GCC, while BCP has 8 and BNF 1. This makes the total number of opposition councilors 19, against BDP’s 16. However, only 12 of the BDP councilors are allowed to vote, as 4 are specially elected.
In the opposition, 18 councilors are allowed to vote for the leadership because one of the BCP councilors is specially elected.