Monday, August 8, 2022

Ramaotwana appeals to AG to stop BDP cllors from voting in mayoral elections

Gaborone Mayor Nelson Ramaotwana has appealed to the Attorney General to help stop some supporters of his challenger, Harry Mothei, from voting in the Gaborone Mayoral elections slated for Wednesday.
Should this bid fail, Ramaotwana is expected to apply for a court interdiction to stop appointed councilors from voting on Wednesday.
In a letter that has been passed to The Sunday Standard, Ramaotwana is asking the Attorney General, Athalia Molokomme, to give “a proper interpretation on the Township Act voting rights of appointed councilors during elections of mayors and deputy mayors in urban centres.”
As the 35-men city council goes for voting, the Botswana National Front council caucus endorsed Ramaotwana as the sole candidate to contest the mayorship. Ramaotwana, however, is likely to face his fellow party man and former mayor of Gaborone, Harry Mothei, who is rumoured to have the backing of all 14 BDP councilors, including the appointed 4 members. If combined with the BCP’s 3 councilors, Ramaotwana might lose by a one-man margin.
In the letter, Ramaotwana says that his urgent request for proper interpretation of the regulation is a result of “an erroneous advice given by one of the junior officers in the attorney general office who advises the city council.”
“After careful and repetitive reading of Moemedi Morwaagole’s advice we identified serious legal flaws that need to be straightened by yet another proper interpretation of the Act.”
Ramaotwana argues that the advice given to council focused on the right of councilors to vote in council meetings without noting that the issue at hand was that the regulation that was interpreted gave appointed councilors enjoyment of all the rights enjoyed by elected councilors including the right to vote in council meetings, except that they are denied the only and one right to vote a member of council.
“Councilors are unanimous that, together with the council Attorney, appointed councilors do not have voting rights of a member of council (i.e. appointed councilors do not have voting rights during elections of mayor and deputy mayor) as stipulated in regulation 6(4) of the township act,” reads the letter from the incumbent mayor.
Ramaotwana says other professors of law and private legal practitioners agree on the interpretation that appointed councilors have all voting rights on all matters that are discussed by council in its meetings and are only prohibited to vote members of council.
“We hope your esteemed office, Madam, will treat this request with urgency it deserves, since our expectations is that your advice will delve into the proper interpretation of the law as stipulated in the enabling regulations of the township Act (cap.40:02), and kindly assist us prior to the election of mayor and deputy mayor of Gaborone City Council to be held on the 24th January 2007,” reads the closing part of the letter.
If the dispute about voting rights of appointed councillors is not resolved, Ramaotwana is expected to apply for a court interdiction.


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