Dust is refusing to settle in Molepolole South between the area MP Kabo Morwaeng and angry Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillors who accuse him of being a divisive figure. They now allegedly want him out.
Cracks appeared between Morwaeng and the councillors when he decided to summon the councillors to his residence for consultation purposes – a move that left the councillors fuming.
According to councillors, it was not good for Morwaeng who is also the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration to call a meeting to discuss official business of the constituency at his private residence, reading intimidation into the development. What raised eyebrows at the meeting was the notable absence of former Kweneng Council Chairman Jeffrey Sibisibi, who sources claim was the only councillor in Molepolole South who was not invited.
Many ascribe such a development to growing factions within the BDP in the constituency. Although he has refused to answer questions about his political ambitions, it is an open secret within the constituency that Sibisibi will challenge Morwaeng in Bulela Ditswe ahead of 2024 elections.
Information gathered by this publication is that Morwaeng intentionally snubbed Sibisibi as he views him as a potential threat to his parliamentary seat going to the 2023 BDP primary elections.
The councillors are said to have complained about the meetings being held in private place but Morwaeng emphasized that he selects where he finds convenience to host constituency meetings.
An invitation letter sent to one of the councillors seen by this publication was singed by the Senior Administration Officer in Morwaeng’s office, Thabo Nnanaakoko.
Reached for comment on Thursday, Nnanakoko said he could not be drawn into discussing the matter, noting that he is a public servant and therefore said he cannot comment on BDP affairs. He referred this publication to Morwaeng who didn’t answer his phone after several attempts.
The Council chairman Motlhophi Leo confirmed the meetings with Morwaeng at his residence. He said he was invited to the meeting just like any other councillors, adding that he has no powers to direct the area MP where or when to hold meetings with his team of councillors. “I attended the said meetings with the MP and some of the councillors were not present over the reasons known to them hence they are the ones who may be complaining. This is just all petty politics and they would delay progress. I didn’t connive with MP on anything,” he added.
Political and Administrative Studies (PAS) Lecturer at University of Botswana (UB) cum political analyst (UB) Mokaloba Mokaloba said the developments are a classic case of civil servants meddling in politics. Morwaeng doubles as the minister responsible for the public service.
Mokaloba said there should be a clear line of demarcation between public administrators and politics at any level noting that if not, civil servants run the risk of bias in delivery to the populace.
He observed that there has been a clear indication of bad blood between Morwaeng and his councillors for some time. “This is definitely a hefty challenge that he has to deal with. The councillors are the first force on the ground and a bad blood with them equates to political suicide. It may harm him at both primary elections. And if it evades him then, it can harm at national elections level,” he added.
Since being elected to Parliament in the 2019 elections, the MP – according to sources – has not been in good relations with his team of councillors as some vow to topple him as the area MP. “The MP is not respecting us as the councillors and he divided us. He has got his own favourites that include Kweneng Council Chairman Motlhophi Leo. He summoned us to his private residence and this was a calculated move to intimidate the councillors whom he hates,” said one upset councillor.
Last year during independence celebrations, Morwaeng suffered humiliation in the hands of the constituents in Lephaleng ward as they rejected his gifts, accusing him of neglecting the constituency. The constituents led by some of the upset BDP councillors at a time noted that Morwaeng neglected the issues affecting the constituency.
Some of his councillors accused him of favouritism. To that end, the furious councillors vowed to punish Morwaeng as he has decided to take them for granted despite having fought tirelessly to campaign for him during 2019 General Elections.
But Morwaeng at the time maintained that he has good relationships with all councillors and voters. The disgruntled faction of BDP councillors is said to be mooting plans to topple Morwaeng at BDP primaries, replacing him with Sibisibi who is deemed to be popular and experienced democrat.
Sibisibi is the immediate former Kweneng District Council (KwDC) Chairman. He currently serves as the president of the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA). Repeated efforts to reach Sibisibi proved unsuccessful as his mobile phone was not available.