SELEBI-PHIKWE: Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillor in the Sefhare/Ramokgonami constituency, Joseph Mafoko has handed in his letter of resignation from the ruling party to join the Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
Mafoko cited a poor working relationship with area Member of Parliament (MP), Dorcas Makgato as his reason for leaving the BDP. He said that Makgato does not consult with her councillors and sidelines those who supported former MP, Oreeditse Molebatsi in the party primaries.
He said that he and some councillors tried on many occasions to reach a compromise, but their efforts yielded no positive results.
“It is true that I handed my resignation letter in on Monday and I decided to join the BCP because it is already established in my area. It has direction because it supports a coalition of opposition parties that have a common mandate of unseating the ruling party,” Mafoko said. Mafoko added that he and some councillors were not even consulted when the party welcomed new members from the opposition in Sefhare and were not part of the event.
“The MP never communicates with area councillors. Instead she prefers her former campaign team to update her on the state of the constituency. We feel despised as it shows poor administration and lack of effective principles of good management,” he added.
He added that Moshopha/Machaneng ward has been an opposition stronghold, but he decided to contest under the ruling party ticket after he resigned from the army, which he never received any accolades for after winning. Contacted for comment councillor for Ramokgonami ward, Motsemeng Letswamotse concurred with Mafoko that the working relationship with their MP is not anything to write home about. He said that they have even written a letter citing their grievances to the branch committee.
“We wrote a letter last month and we are awaiting feedback within 14 days as the party constitution stipulates. It is unfortunate that Mafoko left because I feel differences must be addressed internally first. We should not defect, but (we must) address the issue first before considering some decisions,” he said.
On the other hand Sefhare ward councillor, Mothusi Sedimo said he had never experienced a good working relationship between councillors and an MP like the one he has with Makgato. He said that Makgato is the best MP and never sidelines any councillors.
“Mafoko never attends the MP’s, let alone, party meetings and has never addressed any kgotla meeting since he was elected in 2014, and that is the main issue,” he added.
Sedimo said Machaneng residents on several occasions complained to Makgato, which prompted her to summon him before some elders including dikgosi, council secretary and a district officer to address the matter. “It is a blessing in disguise that he left the party because it was really not working for us. There is no truth in what he is saying,” he said.
When reached for comment MP Makgato said: “If lack of good management principles consist of calling one to order for neglecting his ward by failing to hold even a single consultative meeting, let alone never being seen attending to normal councillor duties since being elected a year ago, counselling him with elders and colleagues alike for gross negligence of duties, then I am guilty as charged”.
Makgato even wondered if lack of good management skills entailed holding consultative meetings with councillors inclusive of opposition ones prior to her meetings with constituents, unless one is an absentee.
“I can confirm that we received his resignation letter as a party. We are going to meet as a party and then take it from there,” she said.
Branch secretary, Oscar Diboko said Mafoko resigned with immediate effect and said his main issue was the sour relationship with Makgato. He said that he is in possession of a letter from three councillors citing their grievances and they are yet to address it as a committee.
Diboko said he cannot deny that there is tension among the political leadership in the constituency that dates back before elections, but said the MP once addressed her councillors in order to broker peace. He added that it seems the meeting did not yield results.
He regretted that this puts the constituency in bad light and said a way forward must be sought to avoid more defections.
The BCP vice president, Kesitegile Gobotswang confirmed that Mafoko had joined their party.