FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillor for Kalakamati in the North East, Israel Samu (64) has died, paving the way for a second by-election in the region.
The usually reserved councillor died on Thursday night. Samu, who was in his first term as councillor, has been battling an undisclosed illness for a long period of time.
He died after spending two weeks in an intensive care unit at Nyangabwe Referral Hospital (NRH). At the time of his death Samu was also BDP chairperson for the North East region. In addition he was the chairperson of the Finance committee for the North East District Council (NEDC).
His wife, Segomotso, confirmed his death but would not provide further details. “We will avail more details about the funeral during the week,” she said.
NEDC vice chairman, Dikitso Mandevu who was among those close to the late councillor, said the death of Samu is a great loss to both the NEDC and the BDP.
“He was among the elders within the city council. He provided wisdom and counsel to the young councillors. At party level he was a hard worker and ensured that the party maintains its vibrancy in the North East. Honestly speaking, he was the party’s pillar of strength in the North East,” a clearly shaken Mandevu, who is also a staunch
Samu, a father of four, contested and lost the 2009 as well as the 2004 general elections but enjoyed a rare triumph at the 2014 polls.
In all three occasions, he contested the Kalakamati ward against the Botswana People’s Party (BPP). At the 2014 polls BPP contested under the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Samu has often been credited for his spirited campaigning over the years, which resulted in him wrestling the Kalakamati ward from the hands of the BPP, which enjoys a big following in the area. At the 2014 elections the BDP garnered 556 votes against the UDC’s 434 votes while the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) could only amass 219 votes.
The death of Samu means that there will be a by-election, which will be held within the next three months.
This year alone there have been three council by-elections in various parts of the country. The three by-elections were held in Sekoma, Phillip Matante East with the most recent in Kelemogile ward. The BDP, UDC and BCP have each recorded victory in the three previous by-elections.