A renowned author, businessman and politician, David Magang will next year release a new book that will chronicle how the ‘historic’ friction between former President Ian Khama and the incumbent Mokgweetsi Masisi began and the way forward for Botswana to not only progress but prosper.
The book which will be Magang’s third, following the release of Magic of Perseverance and Delusion of Grandeur Volume one and two, will also focus on other highlights. The October General Elections which were highly anticipated will also get their share in the book, he says. Magang also points out that the media, which plays a critical role in a democratic dispensation will also be zoomed in the book especially before the elections and at a period when the two leaders (Masisi & Khama) were trading fists.
“Of course I will be publishing the book. I have not started writing, I’m still doing some research, as you know the book needs time as to how many copies to produce and the number of pages but I am working on it,” Magang confirmed on Wednesday morning in an interview. He continued; “the focus of the book will be on history. This will include the vendetta between the two (Masisi and Khama) it is historic isn’t it? So we will have to see what instigated the feud up until now. Remember we write for future references, so the research as to what happened is being done.”
Magang, a former Minister who missed the chance to become the country’s Vice President (VP) and possibly the President in the late 90’s, has been playing an active role in trying to smoke the two a peace pipe. His VP ambitions in 1998 were then shattered by Ian Khama who was recruited from Botswana Defense Force (BDF) as a BDP strategy to unite the then disconnected party by becoming VP. By then BDP advisors told President Ketumile Masire that, Khama, the son of the party’s founding President Seretse Khama would be the panacea to the BDP woes.
Magang’s reconciliatory meetings since last year were as a request from the party as he is one of the BDP veterans who also sits on the Elders’ Council. Article 24.2 of the BDP constitution says the mandate of the Elders Council include investigations, arbitration and reconciliation of differences and disputes where necessary within the party structure and or members.
A meeting between Khama, Masisi and the veterans frantically collapsed early this year. The meeting was to be convened by the party elders including Patrick Balopi, David Magang, Dr Gaositwe Chiepe and Ponatshego Kedikilwe, among others. Former President Festus Mogae was also expected at the gathering. Following that failure in which Khama reported clear that he does not want Magang as part of the team, the latter said these to Weekendpost. “We haven’t met with the two because as you know Masisi is out of the country.
But surely we will meet once he arrives. For now, I cannot say when we would meet. My relationship with him (Khama) is okay as far as I know, but you will never know gore monnao o akantse eng ka wena. If he doesn’t want me I will visit him ko lwapeng. Akere le ene o tlaa tla kwa gaetsho nako nngwe.” Magang’s first book, Magic of Perseverance detailed how he had to sweat to secure the land in Phakalane to develop a residential business.
The second one, Delusion of Grandeur slammed the country’s figment of imagination that since 1966 up to this date, Botswana has only progressed but failed to prosper like the Asian tiger, despite being endowed with plethora of natural resources. The upcoming book will not only focus on the personal vendetta between the former allies, but it will look at other issues of national interest such as the elections. “I am also going to zoom in on the past elections and scrutinize them as you know they were very historic and peculiar,” he said shying to dwell much on the details.
The 2019 elections were highly anticipated but saw BDP managing 38 seats, followed by the UDC with 15. Khama’s Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) garnered 3, while Alliance for Progressives (AP) got only one. As is, there are 29 petitions at the courts of law with opposition parties claiming there were irregularities building to the election and strongly believing that BDP has rigged the elections. This is an interesting factor that Magang will look to include in his chronicles.
The volume will also look at the role the media played in the build up to the elections and the tone of the media at the height of their (Masisi/Khama) battle. It is the second year running with the two not sharing a shade, efforts to mediate them has never seen the light of day and it becomes unlikely with each passing day.
“I will look at the role you played as the fourth estate prior to the elections and during them. Media is a powerful tool in a democratic dispensation like ours, so their role will be well captured in the book. I will also analyze and critic how the media reported about the friction between these two men, sometimes there was a lot of sensationalism and it will be looked into,” Magang said.
DIKGOSI ALSO WANT FEUD DOCUMENTED
Earlier this year Dikgosi also unanimously agreed that the war between the two needs to be documented for future reference. The motions was presented by the then specially elected member of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Thabo Maruje III of Masunga who said that the dispute between Khama and Masisi is largely owing to the deficit of a presidential museum which should define dialogue.
“A presidential museum will define dialogue. Currently there is a hot dialogue in which people have divergent views (between Masisi and Khama). This is largely because we have a deficiency of a process where anytime we can declassify material which is outdated,” Kgosi Maruje observed. To add onto Kgosi Maruje’s sentiment, Tswapong Region's Kgosi Galeakanye Modise also said the presidential museum is essential and surely could be providing an answer to the current disagreement between Khama and Masisi.
“But if there is a process that is well packaged, even the dispute between Masisi and Khama that is happening now, that presidential museum could provide an answer,” Kgosi Modise pointed out while stressing that, “it could provide clear references for the dispute.” According to Kgosi Maruje, if this nation can undergo through such a crisis, the nation will hold dikgosi accountable in terms of where they were during such current crisis like that of Masisi and Khama.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.