The Botswana National Front (BNF) has suspended the mayor of Jwaneng and his deputy for allegedly defying the party caucus.
The move comes after BNF officials in Jwaneng/Mabutsane constituency wrote a letter to the party central committee requesting that the mayor, Tsietsi Oodira-Kwenje and his deputy Kuruka Chepete be expelled.
The two BNF politicians stand accused of working with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to sidestep the BNF caucus’ decisions.
Sources said the BNF caucus had agreed that Bankinya Motsiemang should be the mayor with Obert Monkge as his deputy. As per caucus rules, the BNF expected that its councillors would vote for Motsiemang and Monkge as agreed.
Insiders said the caucus decision appeared to rub Kwenje and Chepete the wrong way and they defied the party to grab the top council seats. “Numbers would never lie.
If the two did not vote with the BDP, why didn’t they decline the nominations? This is a serious betrayal from our party members,” a source said.
Following their victory in the council elections, Kwenje and Chepete have apparently been barred from attending BNF meetings. The development has reportedly created a gulf between the mayor, his deputy and BNF councillors. “Efforts by the party leadership to try to broker peace amongst councillors have failed,” an insider said.
“Others members want the two councillors to be expelled or suspended for their deeds. Kwenje was warned about his intentions when he first started discussing them with other party members.”
BNF secretary general, Tapiso Kgosikoma said the party was still talking with the mayor and his deputy. “I cannot discuss internal party matters with the media. We are still in talks with the mayor and his deputy. Why can’t you wait for our negotiations to finish first,” he said.
Like Kgosikoma, Kwenje was not willing to talk about the reported suspensions. He told Mmegi that he was not prepared to discuss party issues over the phone. Efforts to obtain a comment from Chepete were unsuccessful as his mobile number was off.