FRANCISTOWN: Hardly three months into office, Francistown West Legislator, Ignatius Moswaane had a public run-in with some of his civic leaders in what has the potential to tear them apart.
Although it is only normal for people including politicians to differ, matters reportedly came to a head last Sunday at the Tandurei Restaurant at the Galo Mall, when Moswaane and the councillors exchanged salvos in the open.
Moswaane had invited his seven councillors for a dinner at the restaurant to bid them farewell, as he prepared himself for the February 2 resumption of Parliament.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was an issue that was reportedly raised by Kanana councillor Cornelius Gopolang.
He (Gopolang) allegedly informed the Sunday team building effort that “councillors were not united and it’s our MP who is the source of our disunity.”
Instantly, Moswaane allegedly started accusing Gopolang of being a ‘hyena in sheep’s skin’ who has been peddling untruths about fellow councillors.
“Moswaane claimed that Gopolang has told him that councillors Lechedzani Modenga and Gaethuse Ramolotsana of Moselewapula and Tatitown wards respectively, were the ones who recently delivered an obnoxious letter to a local newspaper detailing that Moswaane has not prudently accounted for the 2014 BDP general elections campaign funds and had to seek supplementary funds,” said an insider speaking on condition of anonymity.
Gopolang reportedly told his MP to his face that his machinations were designed to bitterly divide the civic leaders, a charge that Moswaane reportedly dismissed as a fallacy and an attempt to smear him.
Yesterday, Francistown deputy mayor Modenga said that the differences between the MP and his councillors became even more visible when Moswaane blatantly called Gopolang a liar and a meddler.
Modenga said a visibly angry Moswaane said: “You Gopolang, are the one who is responsible for splitting us in the constituency”.
Modenga said he even heard Moswaane swearing that he would never support Gopolang in any elections because of their differences.
Confirming his fair share of troubles with Moswaane, Modenga said he was worried that lately the latter has been on a smear campaign to pull him down.
“The MP accuses me of corruption. I don’t know what I have really done to convince him that I am corrupt,” declared Modenga.
He claimed that Moswaane was troubled by the reality that he (Modenga) wants to challenge him for the BDP parliamentary ticket for the 2019 general elections.
Contacted for comment, Gopolang confirmed the meeting but downplayed the matter.
“The MP has asked us basically to state the burning issues in our area and I take it that it was appropriate for him to have called us and I take it that in any meeting there will be divergent views,” said the Kanana councillor.
He said he did not find it awkward that at their meeting, “we agreed to disagree.”
He insisted that there was no fight amongst them.
Efforts to reach Ramolotsana were fruitless as his mobile phone could not go through and he was reportedly out of town.
Moswaane confirmed the private meeting with his councillors, but he said he was not ready to divulge its contents.
“I regard as confidential, issues that I and my councillors raised at our meeting. Whoever raised what we discussed at our meeting will be answerable to what they have raised,” Moswaane threatened in a telephone interview yesterday.
He explained that as an MP, the issues discussed were in-house matters and were never meant for public consumption.
Pressed further on the Sunday meeting, Moswaane indicated “basically mine was an issue to encourage my councillors to deliver on their mandate and make meaningful changes to the lives of the people they serve”.