Khama warns councillors to leave Muzila alone

  • Says their conduct is worse than that of rural bumpkins


Outing President Ian Khama has issued a strong warning to BDP councillors in Francistown to desist from attempting to oust Mayor Sylvia Muzila.

“It should be the last time that I am told that there is no peace in Francistown,” Khama said when he officially opened the Tonota-Francistown dual courage road and a crossroads that is popularly known as ‘spaghetti’ on Saturday before calling on the councillors to respect the Mayor as their leader.

“Botswana is a peaceful country and the status quo should be maintained,” he added. “My message is directed to politicians: Being a politician does not mean that you should always stir trouble. I have been told that Francistown is also called the city of all things precious. Even the Mayor is precious (and) therefore you should respect her. You must behave as if this is the second city.

He said their conduct was unworthy of leaders of a city of the status of Francistown and worse than that of their counterparts in the countryside.

The President was responding to a desperate plea from the Mayor who had used her welcoming remarks to bring Khama’s attention to infighting in the council chambers.

“During the celebrations of Francistown’s 120 years of existence last year, we conferred on you (Khama) the Freedom of the City,” she said. “We wish that you to continue to visit us. If we have internal fights, do not hesitate to intervene and (to) punish the perpetrators.”

Since 2014, more than three times Francistown councillors have attempted to dethrone Muzila by means of no-confidence votes but without success. The civic leaders question the former District Commissioner’s leadership skills and accuse her of bias during council proceedings.

The last attempt to oust her was spearheaded by the Councillor for Kanana Ward, Cornelius Gopolang and Specially Nominated Councillor Andy Boatile. In the scheme, Gopolang was to become deputy mayor once Musila was out of the way.

Mayor Muzila was saved by BDP central committee member Slumber Tsogwane’s intervention during an internal party meeting. Tsogwane reportedly pleaded with the councillors to prioritize party unity ahead of the primary elections slated for August this year.

Muzila’s detractors are of the view that she has failed to expedite economic development projects since she assumed the mayoralty after the 2014 general elections.