With the capital village of Kweneng District Council (KDC), Molepolole, being one the largest traditional villages in Africa with a population of over 70 000, the newly elected KDC chairman Motlhophi Leo has shared his fiver-year vision which is primarily focused on bringing basic services to the residents of the region with industrialisation as a secondary objective.
In an interview with WeekendPost this week, Leo is clear that he wants everything good for the district. He says this is achievable as his own Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) managed to take all the eight parliamentary seats in the area. “Out of 82 council seats only nine are for opposition, so this means as a party we should also work as there is no excuse. We have the numbers and we should push for motions that would be centric to the inhabitants of the district,” he said.
In his script to transform a district which is closer to the capital city, Leo has decided to call a leadership retreat in Manong Lodge next week where captains of various sectors will map the way forward for the district. Among the stakeholders expected to attend are all the eight legislators, councillors, traditional leadership, police and other interested parties who are advocating for the development in the region. As of 2011, the total population of the district was 304,549.
“We need developments in our area especially in our headquarters (Molepolole) which is also the third largest populated area in the country. For a long time the people have been crying about shortage of water and we thought that was over when the Ga-Mononyane mini station was erected unfortunately it has detoured its pipe. So this is one area that we need to priorities as the district leaders,” said Leo who was the KDC chairman from 2009 to 2014.
Another ambition that the chairman wishes to see it through during his five-year term is to ensure that big villages within the district have sewerage system. This he says is disappointing for a region as vast as KDC not to have the system despite being so populated and sophisticated. “It is very disappointing to say the least,” he lamented before continuing. “This should be another priority that should be fought at all the structures including council and parliament so that it can be put in national development agenda.”
It has been long since the Molepolole storm water drainage was included in the national development grid but up to now nothing has materialised. Last year’s rainstorms which put the village to a standstill was a wake-up call for the leaders to draw a master plan of the storm water drainage infrastructure.
“We should show the government the need for this [storm water drainage] in our area. Imagine people who mostly commute from here [Molepolole] to Gaborone for work stranded on the other side because of a two hours rain,” Leo who is also a councillor for Loologa Ward in Molepolole South constituency expressed his dissatisfaction. Leo has also allocated roads in the district a chapter in his script. According to Leo, roads are not only easing movement of people and goods but poor roads also account to many mortalities in the region.
“It is an area of concern, if you can see how congested our roads (A10, A12) are in the mornings and evenings you would not like it. So all the concerned parties should speak for that in every fora available so that our people get the best. Look at Thamaga- Molepolole road, it is dilapidated, and Molepolole-Lentsweletau worse. But I have engaged the Minister of Transport and Communications about this and he has assured me that he will do all he can to remedy the situation,” said Leo.
He has also highlighted that he wants the internal roads prioritised to ease the movement of people within the villages. With the whole country under petty crime siege, the new chairman wants Molepolole Police Station to be upgraded. This, he says will help in curbing of crimes like smash and grab and burglary. However, interim interventions will be discussed at a retreat to be held next week.
Kweneng just like other districts has been recording unsatisfactory results across all levels. This is giving the new chair headache. Leo promises to fight with everything at his disposal to ensure that results improve during his tenure. This will include regular meetings with head-teachers, teachers to understand the root cause of this and come up with ideas to improve the education in the area especially in rural areas lying in the western side of the region.
“In Molepolole alone we have 91 primary schools and you will find that some of these classes are taught outside and in these modern days that has been overtaken by events and we should advocate for more classes so that students are taught in a conducive environment, it could be the reason why we are recording poor results,” he said.
BUSINESSES SHOULD SET UP IN KDC
KDC chairman is on record conceding that it will be difficult to lure investors in the region while they are still grappling with challenges like poor roads network, sewerage, drainage and crime. He will however soon convene a meeting with some investors to get from the horse’s mouth why they are not expanding and to others why they are not setting up in the KDC despite its proximity to the capital city.
“We have a lot of human resources that could do any job and our closeness to Gaborone should be an advantage because raw materials would take short time to arrive and operation start,” he advocated. He is also concerned about the business community in the area which he says is not giving back to the societies which they operate in. “Another thing is our investors are not giving back to the community as the government encourages. They can help us to achieve better results in education and other sectors. We will meet with them so that they can share with us why they are not giving back to the community,” Leo concluded.
DID YOU KNOW?
Kweneng is the only district without a foreign border. It borders Central District in northeast, Kgatleng District on the east, South-East District in southeast, Southern District in south, Kgalagadi District in the west, Ghanzi District in the north.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.