6 June 2018

Botswana: Financial Audit Delays Ward Committee Elections

Francistown — Pelotelele, Area S, Monarch West, Monarch South, Monarch East and Selolwe Ward Development Committees (WDCs) elections have been delayed due to auditing of committee financial books by the Francistown City Council (FCC).

Speaking in an interview with BOPA on June 5, the chairperson of the WDC Umbrella for the wards, Mr Eric Mabengano said the elections were supposed to take place on the May 31, but were put on hold due to the audit.

"Our financial books were taken for audit on the 1st of May 2018 and we were told by City of Francistown auditors that their scope of work would cover all our financial dealings for the period of our three-year term," he noted.

Mr Mabengano said the current committee members should have completed their term on May 31, but were given an extension from June 1 to 31 to allow the auditing team to complete its work before new WDC members could be sworn in.

However, at the Tuesday meeting of WDC chairpersons, they were told that they should prepare to hold fresh elections on June 14, a move that many committee chairpersons rejected as being too early and inconvenient.

In that regard, Mr Mabengano noted that they had requested an urgent meeting with the city clerk and mayor to present their grievances as they would like to have the elections postponed to allow the audit team to conclude its work and present its findings.

He said it made sense that WDC elections be held after the audit because once new members are elected, nobody would be in a position to answer for the previous committee's dealings to the auditors if they ever sought any clarity.

"The auditors have promised to contact us whenever they need any information.

Also, just because we are under audit does not mean our job to serve the people has stopped.

When we need to access our finances, we inform the auditors who give us permission to do so," he said.

On another note, Mr Mabengano blasted those whom he said joined WDCs for monetary gain, charging that it was now a trend for some committee members not to pitch for ordinary committee meetings, but always attend scheduled meetings, which are paid for.

He said this showed their clear motive of benefitting out of WDCs and not working to bring developments to residents.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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