A South African forensic investigator has called for a re-run of Botswana 2019 elections following rigging claims. Speaking in Johannesburg, South Africa during a press briefing the investigator Paul O’ Sullivan advised Botswana opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko to carry an independent audit of the just ended elections.
“Our recommendations to Advocate Boko is that there needs to be a proper independent audit of the elections and it needs to be formed urgently,” he stated. He cautioned that the audit itself should be properly overseen by an independent body, somebody that has no interest in the outcome of the audit. “We saying if our findings are confirmed by the audit, and we expect the findings to be confirmed by the audit, the results of the elections should be nullified and criminal charges preferred against the leadership of the BDP for engaging in election rigging,” the auditor pointed out.
He insisted that the new elections should then take place with a proper oversight and the full use of electoral voting paint at all stations. Apart from the leadership of the BDP, Sullivan observed that there were other persons involved like the DISS and they need to be investigated to see what role they played, how he cash was withdrawn, and moved, and criminal sanctions should be applied against all of them, and those involved in vote rigging process should be allowed to participate in a new election that will replace the outcome of the existing election results.
“This should be all proven by an independent audit if what’s gone on in Botswana and we are hoping of this investigation and the court cases which Boko is launching today,” he added. According to the auditor, the cases will force the hand of the government and perhaps the citizens of the country who were involved in assisting in vote rigging to take a leave out of the book of the witnesses that were involved to come forward to confess that they realised what they have been involved in and that it was wrong and needs to be rectified.
Meanwhile when asked by an SA journalist if rigging only took place in constituencies that the UDC have lost and not others, UDC President Duma Boko said rigging took place in all the constituencies even those that his party won. “There was rigging right across Botswana. It differed only in scale. In certain instances there seems to have been a pattern which was to target certain constituencies mainly in southern parts of the country. Even though there was rigging in other constituencies it was not as massive as what took place in the other areas. And so in those constituencies where we won, we won in spite of the rigging, and the irregularities that were in those constituencies,” he said.
According to the former Gaborone Bonnington North legislator, in the areas where the UDC lost, it was outrageous and shocking. “Areas where the BDP had lost consistently over the years and all of a sudden the margin were 7 000. It’s an outrageous outcome, where the opposition has controlled the majority of Councils seats and the BDP suddenly wins all the Council seats with astonishing margins. There is something seriously wrong here. So, we say in a word that there was massive rigging in the Southern parts of the country but that rigging was all over the country,” Boko insisted.
When the same journalist asked Boko why are he is holding the press conference in South Africa and not Botswana he said the team doing forensic is based in the country so it was easier to do the presser on their side. “Firstly is because the forensic team, the team that was doing the investigations is based here in SA. The second is we could not bring them over to Botswana because of the over bearing involvement of the DISS – these are the law unto themselves in Botswana – they can arrest for any and no reason, and detain at will,” he justified.
And so, he added, “when you are dealing with a rogue institution that gets in matters that do not concern it, that deserves the institution of by law they are supposed to be operating in particular spaces then you have a situation where you can’t take chances. We can’t expose our team at this stage, to harassment.”
Boko also attacked the media of being captured
The third point why he held a press conference in SA, he said is, in the lead up to elections, they saw that the BDP in addition to purchasing and deploying cash to buy voters, had also bought the press. “Some of the main publications in Botswana, the Sunday Standard, a Sunday newspaper has been at the fore front of running a smear campaign against me in particular and the opposition in general,” he observed.
The UDC leader also mentioned that no paper has been printing Public Relations front for the BDP like another newspaper called The Patriot on Sunday newspaper which was also involved in the matter. “So when you invite a captured Press in a small country like Botswana and you want them to tell your story, in fact you want them to tell this story, not necessarily your story but report accurately and fairly, if you expect to get some of these reports from the publications, then your expectations are terribly misplaced,” he maintained.
So the ex-leader of opposition stressed that it’s better to deal with press that they believe is ethically, untainted and uncompromised and uncaptured as they expect them to tell the story as accurately as they can and not to favour anybody but to speak the truth. “And we cannot expect that from the bulk of the press in Botswana,” he emphasized. Following Boko’s comment, the forensic auditor Sullivan also added that Botswana, for it to be able to address the world, is very unlikely as they may not get the amount of attention needed on this hence why they opted for SA presser.
He also revealed that “I can also inform you as a results of what we found, we have already notified of our government, the SA government, I have already had meetings and I have passed the documentation to the government to be aware of the fact that our neighbour is being run by an illegitimate government.”
A heartfelt message of good wishes from Minister Mmusi Kgafela to his self-exiled brother and Bakgatla paramount chief, Kgafela Kgafela II, this week urged the latter to consider calls for his return to Botswana to visit his tribe and family.
“On behalf of our father’s people, your people, I wish to inform you that Bakgatla are thinking of you, and they miss you dearly. They request that you should find time to visit them. Please come to Botswana to spend some time with them, to see and greet them,” said Mmusi as part of his 50 years birthday message to Kgafela Kgafela II, who has vowed never to set foot in Botswana.
However, Mmusi Kgafela did not shed light on how his brother will deal with the arrest warrant, which triggers once he sets foot in Botswana.
The Bakgatla Kgosikgolo, who went on a self-imposed exile in 2012 to South Africa, faces a decade-old-plus warrant of arrest issued by the Village magistrate court after his non-appearance in Court over criminal charges relating to flogging of his subjects. Kgafela described the charges as ‘political persecution’ before jetting out to his second home in South Africa, Moruleng, where he is also a Chief.
Asked over his views on the complications around the warrant of arrest, Mmusi, a lawyer by training, said, “what people need to understand is that a warrant of arrest is not a prison sentence.”
He continued: “There is a need for reconciliation and discussions to put all these issues behind us. We need to move on. What I have also realized is that the state is not keen on pursuing the matter as they have not sought his extradition,” he said.
In 2017, the then Minister of Defence, Justice, and Security, Shaw Kgathi, told Parliament that the arrest warrant issued against Bakgatla Kgosi-kgolo is still valid.
“….because a Court order once issued remains valid and enforceable unless it is rescinded by the Court that issued it, in this case being Village Magistrate Court. It may also be revoked by a higher court being the High Court or the Court of Appeal,” Kgathi said.
As things stand, the Government will arrest Bakgatla Kgosi Kgafela II if he crosses over to Botswana, Parliament heard.
Kgathi responded to a question by the then Mochudi West Member of Parliament, Gilbert Mangole, who wanted to know if the arrest warrant imposed on Kgafela was still valid. Further, he wanted clarity on what it would take for the Government to trigger the removal of the warrant to enable Kgosi to visit his tribe in Botswana if he so wishes.
Could Mmusi be under pressure to facilitate Kgafela’s return?
Although Mmusi denies the claim, some royal sources opine that he (Mmusi) is under pressure to help President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi fulfill his 2019 electoral campaign pledge to the tribe. The President had pledged that he would “not rest until their chief, Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela II, is back home.”
Mmusi, however, says Masisi has not personally engaged him on Kgafela.
Kgafela’s former lawyer, Advocate Sydney Pilane, has in the past told this publication that he suspects that as the leader of the BDP, President Masisi hopes that if he brings Kgosi Kgafela back, BaKgatla may be grateful to the BDP, and benefits might accrue in consequence.
While Mmusi says the matter will need to be discussed and dealt with, private attorney Kgosiitsile Ngakaagae who was prosecuting Kgafela, warned that there is nothing to address or facilitate.
“There is no need for political intervention. Kgosi Kgafela is officially a fugitive from Justice. It’s for the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to issue a nolle prosequi (we shall no longer prosecute) to enable his return. Constitutionally the DPP cannot be dictated to by politicians. The matter is beyond the President unless he violates the DPP’s constitutional mandate,” charged Ngakaagae.
“An arrest is intended to bring someone to Court. Secondly, a party who has become aware that a warrant has been issued against them can apply to Court before it is implemented for it to be discharged.”
The only option for the state currently, which the state is reluctant to pursue, is to drop the charges and withdraw the warrant of arrest or decide on a deliberate non-enforcement of the warrant, according to lawyers who spoke to this publication.
In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa recently told his parliament that the deployment of his army to Mozambique had cost close to a billion rand, with the exact figure placed at R984,368, 057. On the other hand, the Botswana government is yet to say a word on their budget concerning the deployment.
In his National Assembly report tabled last week Tuesday, Ramaphosa said:
“This serves to inform the National Assembly that I have authorized the employment of 1,495 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for service in fulfillment of an international obligation towards SADC, to assist Mozambique combat acts of terrorism and violent extremists in the Caba Delgado province. This deployment had cost close to a billion rand, with the exact figure placed at R984,368,057.”
The soldiers, he said, are expected to remain there for the next three months.
Botswana, however, is yet to publicize its expenditure. Asked by this publication over why they have not and whether they will, the Minister of Defence, Justice, and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, said they would when the time is right.
“As you may be aware, nobody planned for this. It was not budgeted for. We had to take our BDF resources to Mozambique, and we are still doing our calculations. We also need to replace what we took from the BDF to Mozambique,” he said.
This week, President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Botswana government would share the sustainment of the Mozambique military combat deployment. SADC has given Botswana its share to use according to its needs.
The costs in such deployments are typically categorized into three parts-boots on the ground or handling the system, equipment, and operational sustenance logistics.
It is unknown how much combat pay, danger pay, or sustenance allowance the soldiers will get upon return. However, President Masisi has assured the soldiers that they will get their money.
Masisi has said deployment comes when the country is faced with economic challenges that have been exacerbated to a great extent by the COVID-19 Pandemic, which is inflicting enormous health, financial, and social damage to all nations.
Botswana has sent 296 soldiers who left on Monday to Mozambique to join the SADC standby force.
Parliament fumes over being snubbed
In the 1994 Lesotho mission, the Botswana Parliament was engaged after the soldiers were long deployed. A repeat of history this week saw members of parliament grilling the executive over snubbing parliament and keeping it in the dark about the Mozambique military deployment.
Zimbabwe pledges 304 soldiers
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has pledged 304 soldiers to the SADC Standby Force Mission in Mozambique to train an infantry battalion-size unit at a time, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has said.
In a statement to journalists, Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said the contingent would consist of 303 instructors and one specialist officer to coordinate the SADC Force Headquarters in Maputo.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said that in terms of Section 214 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Parliament would be informed accordingly.
During the Extraordinary Summit of the 16-member regional bloc held in Maputo, Mozambique, last month, member states resolved to deploy a force to help Mozambique contain insurgency in its northern provinces where terrorists have left a trail of destruction that also threatens regional peace.
Former director general of the Directorate of Intelligence Service, Isaac Kgosi has been awarded doctorate in International and Diplomatic Studies by a Slovenian institution-New University after successfully defending his doctoral dissertation last year.
The institution‘s website shows that in February 2020 Kgosi defended his dissertation titled ‘Southern African Development Community [SADC] Diplomatic Conflict Management Response for Enhancing Human Security: The Case of Mozambique.’
“Faculty of government and European Studies hereby certifies that Seabelo Isaac Kgosi born in Francistown, on 15th December 1958 completed all obligations of the international and Diplomatic Studies doctoral programme on March 22,2021. On these grounds the Faculty of Government and European Studies is conferring upon him the scientific title of Doctor of Science in International and Diplomatic Studies, abbr:PhD,” reads the institution’s conferment certificate dated O6 July 2021.
Kgosi’s thesis was a study of SADC’s mediation and diplomacy in the Mozambican conflict that is mainly between the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) government and forces of the National Resistance (Renamo) that was once mediated by the late former president Sir Ketumile Masire in 2016 when it re-emerged after a revival by Renamo in 2012, driven by several grievances including allegations of economic marginalisation, regional economic imbalances and breach of the 1992 Rome General Peace Accords which had ended the post-independence civil war fought from 1977 to 1992. The escalation of conflict in Mozambique in early 2016 resulted in displacement of citizens in affected areas whilst thousands of people crossed the borders into Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe as refugees.
Efforts to search for and locate the document were unsuccessful at the time of going for press.
Kgosi’s curriculum vitae suggests that he has a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Intelligence and Security obtained from Brunel University, a public research university located in Uxbridge, West London, United Kingdom. The latter qualification was obtained in 2007.
It is not yet known on whether Kgosi will use his qualifications to seek employment locally or internationally, or will decide to open a consultancy firm in line with his experience and academic achievements once the dust surrounding him goes way.
The former spy chief is currently fighting to clear his name in a series of cases against the state, which accuses him of owing the tax man, capturing images of the intelligence agents, as well as their identity between the 18th and 25th February 2019 as well as the identity cards of the officers engaged in a covert operation of the DIS. He is also accused of instructing Bank of Botswana (BoB) to open three bank accounts that were used to loot public funds amounting to over P100 billion together with former president Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Kgosi has countered on all the cases demanding the evidence which links him to the crimes levelled against him, all of which the state is currently struggling to submit before the courts. The state has lost and appealed the photographs case while the P100 billion case has been described as a big lie by various institutions.