Botswana Congress Party (BCP), an affiliate of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has this week confirmed that they distance themselves from the ongoing preparation for the objections of the 2019 General Elections results.
In earnest BCP and their leader, Dumelang Saleshando accepts the just released results in which the party emerged with the highest number of seats amongst the umbrella affiliates; Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP). The BCP moved from a paltry three seats in 2014 General Elections, to a whopping 11 seats (in UDC), as opposed to the BNF’s 4, while BPP failed to win a parliamentary seat.
In the just ended elections, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), vanquished the opposition parties combined, by achieving a resounding victory that increased its popular vote from 48 percent to virtually 52 percent. BDP amassed 38 Members of Parliament while the opposition managed 19 seats in which UDC got 15, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) manged 3 while Alliance for Progressives (AP) trailed behind with 1 seat.
Therefore, in terms of the objections, the BCP having achieved a great performance feels they are fine with the results, especially in the North side of the country. “I am fine with the results. We have accepted the election results. In Maun, there is no issue that warrants any protest with the High Court against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC),” Saleshando told the WeekendPost this week.
But the BCP leader emphasised that, it does not mean however that they can stop those especially the BNF with issues on the other side of the country, to pursue their petition with the court within the mandatory 30 days. “Election petition is allowed in 30 days after elections. All have a right to file petition. We allowed candidates to talk to lawyers of the party,” he observed.
Asserts he won’t count his chickens before they hatch in terms of LOO
Although Saleshando who is the leader of BCP with majority opposition seats in parliament under the umbrella, and by virtue of him being the Vice President of the UDC, says he cannot reveal his plan, vision and main agenda as the presumed Leader of Opposition elect because he cannot count his chickens before they hatch.
On BCP taking over the leadership of UDC from the BNF
Saleshando has put it in the hands of those who call for exchange of leadership from the BNF to BCP of the UDC on their belt. “It’s not for me to say, people will decide on who takes over the UDC at a later stage and time. There is a procedure if there is need to be and the delegates will decide,” the UDC VP pointed out to this publication.
Saleshando grills Masisi for thinking BCP is dead after their recruitments
According to the Maun West elect, Masisi said they killed the BCP after recruiting the likes of BDP Gaborone region Chair, Lotty Manyapedza and others “but we proved them wrong.” In the Southern part of the country, he highlighted that the BCP/UDC did not do well and therefore lost some constituencies where they were incumbent. “As such we have to find out about this in our final report.” He stressed that the UDC launches looked good with good numbers in attendance and there was no early warning bell or red flag to illustrate they may be losing them come election day.
He explained that there is a possibility that in terms of the fight between Khama and Masisi; maybe Masisi supporters were fighting for fellow Southerner in the election. In the last three of four elections, the BCP President pointed out that their numbers have been growing steadily and this is easy to explain in statistics. In addition he mentioned that the BDP split to form BPF also made their job easier, as it worked for the UDC.
He believes the old days of people staying long in parliament is over
The MP, who comes back in a different constituency after losing Gaborone Central in 2014, pointed out that the parliament is wiser with relatively new legislators. “To the extent that most MP’s are new, it’s good for institutional renewal, the old days of people staying for long in parliament is over,” he stressed out. He however said although the BDP is bringing people who are new to politics, the opposition on the other side are highly experienced.
Priority to Maun West and not the country per se
My mind is to have a Maun constituency plan, Saleshando pointed out. “In Gaborone Central, people were told that I only excel on national issues and therefore I will jealously prioritise Maun first and Ngamiland on a second level, then country later” he concluded.
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.