The announced and election of his six Specially Elected Members of Parliament by President Mokgweetsi Masisi and National Assembly respectively, for the 12th Parliament has caused an uproar as favourites for the posts were left out.
Many had anticipated that the youthful Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, who was head-hunted from Ghana, Bogolo Kenewendo and former Sefhare-Ramokgonami Member of Parliament, Dorcas Makgato, will make the cut. The snubbing of Kenewendo has caused a stir in Boteti, a development which may cause unrest for Vice President Slumber Tsogwane.
Kenewendo was tipped to succeed Tsogwane as Boteti West MP in 2024. Kenewendo who is an internationally celebrated and acclaimed economist, had relocated to Ghana, but was recalled by then President Lt Gen Ian Khama, at the recommendation of Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi. It is alleged that the coming of the youthful Minister was a calculated move to replace Tsogwane who had indicated that he will not be contesting the 2019 general elections.
Masisi would later upon his ascendency to the highest office-in a strategic move- appoint Tsogwane his Vice President and convinced him to contest the 2019 elections for his last term before paving way for Kenewendo in 2014. Tsogwane had initially scheduled to retire from politics at the end his fourth term, but was coaxed to stay further while the apparent heiress to the throne, Kenewendo, was being groomed. It is reported that in his recent campaigns, Kenewendo was used as the face of Tsogwane’s campaign, a move that saw him win with a slim margin against Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Sam Digwa.
Last week Masisi announced his six Specially Elected Members of the 12th Parliament which compromised of; Philda Kereng, Kgotla Autlwetse, Unity Dow, Beauty Manake, Kefentse Mzwinila and Peggy Serame. On the eve of the nominations, Kenewendo wrote an emotional sending off message on her Facebook profile signalling the end of her three year political career.
It is alleged that, influential residents of Boteti have met and expressed their dissatisfaction to their Dikgosi on how they have been tricked by Tsogwane and Masisi, into believing that Kenewendo was the future MP of the area and the she will be retained in cabinet. A close source told WeekendPost that all Dikgosi met to map a way forward regarding the matter. A very close source also reported that Kenewendo’s father is not a happy man. The old man who came to bid her daughter farewell when she left for Ghana on Tuesday, felt that Botswana government ‘used’ her daughter and dumped her.
When contacted for comment, Kgosi Diane Jacob of Rakops told this publication that indeed they met with unhappy members of their community last week who want to petition Tsogwane. Kgosi Jacob however denied allegations that they met as Dikgosi and resolved to summon Tsogwane over the Kenewendo matter. “What I can confirm is that people are not happy. At the moment we are awaiting elders from Mopipi including Bogolo’s parents to lodge a complaint with us and we will take it from there,” he said.
Kgosi Jacob did not rule out the possibility of calling Tsogwane to come and account to Morafe on the decision that President Masisi took to not to include Kenewendo as SEMP as they have been made to believe. Efforts to contact Bogolo’s father proved futile as his mobile phones rang unanswered. Kenewendo was one the youngest Ministers in the world and she also served as the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, Security and Foreign Affairs.
She is a member of the UN Secretary- General’s High-Level Panel on digital cooperation Chaired by Jack Ma and Melinda Gates, founder of Molaya Kgosi Trust, a women’s empowerment initiative and one of Botswana’s first youth delegates to the United Nations General Assembly. Her decorated educational background boosts of MSc in International Economics from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. Kenewendo received the prestigious Chevening Scholarship in 2012.
She is the beneficiary and Alumni of the US President’s Young African Leaders Initiative for young women. Bogolo is the 2012 recipient for Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) award by JCI Botswana; 2016, recipient, Botswana Change Makers Award in Business and leadership; 2016, recipient, Formidable Woman award; 2016, honoured through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office International Leaders Program; 2019, she was named one of Chevening’s 35 Global Change-makers. In Parliament, her voice was associated with inclusivity; inclusivity in development and ensuring services reach the people in a timely manner as their share of the national cake. Aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal message of “Leave no one behind”.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.