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How late Modenga became Francistown’s deputy mayor

FRANCISTOWN: After the 2014 general elections, there was talk that the councillor for Moselewapula ward, the late Lechedzani Modenga had greased the palms of his Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) colleagues in order to become the city’s deputy mayor.

By then, there were even allegations that Modenga had bought suits for his colleagues in order to persuade them to choose him as Francistown’s second citizen.

Nobody by then expected Modenga to become Francistown deputy mayor. Some councillors and even voters were of the view that the position will not go to a political greenhorn like Modenga.

It was expected that the BDP will endorse a veteran politician to occupy the deputy mayor’s seat. The veterans were plenty, including those who were elected during the 2014 elections and those who were nominated by the minister to become specially elected councillors. 

But against all odds, Modenga managed to curry the favour of his colleagues.

Modenga’s fellow democrats voted him during a BDP caucus that was held for the party’s newly elected councillors in Francistown on December 2, 2014. Modenga was contesting with Cornelius Gopolang of Kanana ward for the same position.

On December 3, 2014, Modenga’s dream was realised after he was voted unopposed to his dream position during a full council session.  Likewise, the city’s current mayor Sylvia Muzila - who recently survived a coup scare - was also voted unopposed to her position.

Three years after Modenga ascending to the number two seat of the city, before he was unceremoniously ousted from the position and after his demise recently, the skeletons came out tumbling from his closet at his memorial service.

Modenga’s BDP ally Lesego Kwambala let it slip when he was the master of ceremonies at Modenga’s memorial service last Friday at the Civic Centre Hall where his body was lying

in repose for the public to pay their last respects.

Opening the lid on the once and highly secretive manner of how Modenga was elected to his position, Kwambala said Modenga used money to influence his BDP apparatchiks to endorse his candidature for the position of the deputy mayor.

He openly stated that not only Modenga was eyeing the post of the city’s deputy mayor, adding that Gopolang was also having an interest in the seat.

Gopolang, Kwambala noted, even took his BDP colleagues out for tea at one of the lodges in the city in a bid to influence them to endorse his candidature.

“Modenga initially pledged to pay the councillors P150 to vote for him but when he heard Gopolang’s plan, he increased his pledge to P1,000 and we ended up endorsing him as the next deputy mayor,” said Kwambala to hooting of laughter from the mourners.

He added: “Honourable Gopolang is also here and he can bear testimony to what I have just said”.

But Modenga did not complete his term as the city’s deputy mayor.

BDP and opposition councillors unceremoniously toppled Modenga during his absence.

The civic leaders’ source of concern about Modenga was that his numerous absence from council duties due to ill health were negatively impacting on the development of the city.

The debt-ridden Modenga, who until his last days was frequenting the courts charged with swindling unsuspecting people of their monies amongst other things, did not take that lightly saying that his unseating was motivated by malice. He passed away a broken and controversy ridden man.




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