Gaborone mayor Harry Mothei was yesterday re-elected unopposed during mayoral and council committee elections held in the Gaborone City Council (GCC) chambers.
Mothei was nominated and his candidature endorsed by councillors from all the parties - the Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), and Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
Naledi Central councillor Ephraim Mafunga is the new deputy mayor after a bruising battle with government ward councillor Kgomotso Mogapi of the BDP. Mafunga polled 14 votes against Mogapi's 13 votes.
Although the BNF holds most of the council seats, the party's victory in this election did not come easy. In a last minute bid to retain control of the City Council, BNF councillors did some horse trading exercise with the BCP's three councillors, after it emerged that BNF's Nelson Ramaotwana, outgoing deputy mayor Ezekiel Dube and Lemme Kgopa were absent.
BCP councillors Molefe Mosothwane and Ephraim Mabengano of Segoditshane ward will chair the all important Finance and General Purposes Committee and Education Committee respectively, as a reward. Another BCP councillor, Themba Bawe, is to be a deputy chairman on one of the committees.
In all, GCC has 35 councillors but with the recent passing away of BNF's Kabo Masole, the number stands at 34. Odirile Motlhale, the BDP's specially elected councillor, was reported to be outside the country on official business. Motlhale's vote could have perhaps saved Mogapi's tussle with Mafunga.
However, Mogapi has indicated that she does not accept
Mogapi feels that procedure had not been followed when deciding on the 'spoilt vote, which could have resulted in a tie between her and Mafunga. In a tie, a toss of the dice normally decides the winner.
In an interview with Mmegi, Kgopa said he did not turn up for the elections because he was not feeling well but indicated that he was against Mothei's re-election because of the way he had handled the hawkers' issue. "Those who were fit did manage to vote, but I am against Mothei and it's not personal," Kgopa said.
And former mayor Ramaotwana said he was totally against Mothei's re-election. "But this is an issue only the leadership of the party can handle," said Ramaotwana.
He indicated that he had long told the party and other councillors that he was not interested in standing but stressed that he was against Mothei because he was in the habit of blocking questions and motions raised by BNF members to appease his BDP friends. The BNF election strategist Mmoloki Seosenyeng, has particularly thanked BCP councillors for their support in this election.