Gaborone City Council reconvened Thursday, after a forced adjournment two weeks ago, following protests by Councilors against the expunction of motions which had been noticed for debate.
While other councillors kept their peace, the outspoken Marulamantsi Ward (Phase 4), councilor Sergeant “Yellowman” Kgosietsile took on the full might of the GCC command, sticking to his earlier position against the vetting of motions. The dispute will now move from the council chamber to the courtroom.
Council business had to be suspended for two weeks after scores of councillors went up in arms because some of their motions noticed for debate during the full council meeting of 05th October 2016 had been cancelled without consulting them.
The Executive Committee comprised of the Mayor, his deputy, town clerk, some councilors and some of the executive council members took a unilateral decision to remove 25 of the 30 motions noticed by the Councilors. In defense of the decision taken by the Special Executive Committee, City Mayor, Kgaiso Thutlwe argued that the Committee was empowered by the Local Empowerment Act to remove the motions.
Councilors however differed with the Mayor`s position. They argued that the decision taken by the Executive Committee contravened the Council Standing Orders and the Botswana Councils Handbook. The two documents acknowledge the Full Council as the supreme body with the power to take such a decision.
Following the adjournment of the council as a result of the tension between the Executive Committee and the councilors, the council reconvened Thursday with councilors anticipating that their motions had been reinstated. But lo and behold, their motions had not been included in the agenda for debate during the full council.
Area Councilor for Marulamantsi ward (phase 4), Sergeant Kgosietsile queried why his motions were not reinstated. In his response the town clerk, Mpho Mathe quipped that the Council had taken a decision to defend itself in court because Councilor Kgosietsile has instructed his lawyers J.J. Matomela to issue a statutory notice to Gaborone City Council for reinstatement of his motions, failing which “legal proceedings against the G.C.C. will be taken.”
Information gathered by this publication is that other councilors are said to have given ÔÇô in to the decision taken by the special executive committee, to vet out motions.
During a side interview Councilor Kgosietsile revealed that a day prior to the full ÔÇô council meeting, the UDC Caucus for a preview of the council agenda. “It is at this meeting that we were informed by the deputy mayor, Kagiso Tshekega that UDC had sought legal advice on the removal of motions by the special executive committee. Tshekega told us that UDC legal experts told him that it was illegal for the executive committee to remove councilors` motions from the notice paper. In essence they are in consent with the legal opinion from my lawyer J.J. Matomela, that removal of motions was done without any legally acceptable reasons.”
Councilor Kgosietsile further revealed that on the same day, he was invited to a meeting by the special executive committee. At the meeting “I was asked to defer my motions which had been removed, to the December 2016 full council meeting. I turned down the suggestion and instead proposed that a compromise be struck to include at least two of my five motions that have been expunged. The Executive Committee agreed to include my two motions. To my surprise, I found out that the two motions were not included during the proceedings of the full council. That is when the town clerk mentioned that the Council had resolved to defend in court its position to remove the motions.”
Councilor Kgosietsile further said, “The town clerk and the executive committee have failed to demonstrate the responsibility to apply intelligence and requisite knowledge on council policies, rules and procedures. With due respect to the mayor and his deputy, they lack a deep understanding of best practices of council functions. Little do they know that by pursuing the court route, they are just embarking on a false ego trip. They just want to show the public how tall they can stand on their ignorance and this does not reflect well with the values, attitudes and norms of UDC, which include but not limited to integrity, embracing diversity and dedication to the cause. They are however, at liberty to choose to learn the hard way.”