A serious power struggle between councilors and the members of the council management is playing itself out at the Sowa Town Council (STC), The Patriot on Sunday can exclusively reveal. Impeccable sources say councilors and council management have of late become sworn rivals fighting for various reasons. The councilors are accusing council management, led by the town clerk Ogaufi Molelo, of undermining them and have as such flexed their muscles to the extent of not approving some of the recommendations made by the executive without their involvement. Councilors have rejected the council budget of P40 million which the council management compiled without following laid down procedures, sources said. STC is made up of eight specially elected councilors drawn from different constituencies in the northern part of the country. And the current STC mayor is George Maphane from Nata/Gweta constituency. “The attitude of the council management members towards the councilors leaves a lot to be desired. We are treated as trash just because we were specially elected,” fumed one councilor who refused to be mentioned.
The councilor said the council management has been always looking down upon the councilors when it comes to decision-making. “But the council’s ex-official members and advisory committee forgets that there is nothing that can be implemented in the township without the approval by the full council,” said our source. The power struggle, they say, has spilt over from just differences into a serious muscle flexing battle. Almost seven months into the 2017/18 financial year, STC is yet to be granted with its annual government grant because the full council is yet to approve it. Botho Ntirang, the STC Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) Committee chairperson confirmed the development. However, he refused to say the differences between the ex-official members and advisory committee has reached a level of power struggle. “It is true that the ex-official members and the advisory committee compiled the budget for the current financial year without the involvement of the political wing. And eventually the just ended full council session rejected the budget,” said Ntirang.
Under normal circumstances, Ntirang said budget proposals are collected from the council departments and handed over their respective committees for recommendations before the full council approves or disapproves. “However, this simple procedure was never followed. And the development resulted in the councilors rejecting the budget before ordering for the procedures to be followed,” said Ntirang, adding that the development has resulted in the delayed release of the annual grant. When contacted for a comment, Molelo requested for a questionnaire which she had not yet responded to by press time.