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Masisi heralds a new BDP Govt

With only three days left before the much awaited general elections on Wednesday, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has revealed how he intends to reform this country and indeed confirmed he is what the doctor has ascribed for this nation. Masisi’s promises remains unchanged, be it either at political rallies and or Kgotla meetings. His modus operandi is underpinned on five main factors which he strongly believes they could herald a new Botswana under his BDP. A BDP which has ruled since independence 53 years ago

MASISI SAYS NO TO CORRUPTION

Masisi since ascending to the nations’ top post in April last year, has proven to be a new broom that sweeps the mess linked mostly to his predecessor Ian Khama. He has come out clear that he has zero tolerance for corruption and he distastes it with vigor and will do everything that Botswana remains a corrupt free nation, should he get a fresh mandate on Wednesday. “The main thing that hinders progress is corruption and you are going to be fighters in elimination of corruption” he has in the past specially told this to his cabinet ministers. “If anyone among us is corrupt we will deal with them.

If you have done something that was not deemed corrupt in the past, now it is, stop it because we will deal with it. Right now, there are no drugs at hospitals all these are attributed to corruption. It is not about money only, but rather inefficiency, claiming overtime that you didn’t work, lying that you dispatched tablets to hospital while you did not. The executive is supposed to direct all these and they should be sophisticated in dealing with this. If you are ministers don’t try to be a Permanent Secretary (PS), lenna I mustn’t want to be Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP),” he warned with passion.

BDP PROMISES COMPREHENSIVE CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW

For a long time now, various quarters have called for the constitutional revision and Masisi has also joined the bandwagon; but that could only be achieved if he is given a new mandate, he has reiterated this at his consultative Kgotla meetings.  This, Masisi has also shared with his party candidates that as a party, plans are underway to revise the constitution as it has been demanded. He has asked his parliament candidates to tell voters that the constitution will soon be revised. “Manifesto is linked to the constitution and we will have a comprehensive constitutional review, that’s the promise you should tell people.
 

But it will be done when given new mandate so that we can argue at length and all the stuff. The review should be orderly and purposeful and from all Batswana.” He has also cited example of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, saying some feel they are not included arguing that everyone should be equal. “The intention is not to break anyone but rather unite us as Batswana.”

MASISI ON THE JOB CREATION QUESTION

The latest statistics has showed that Botswana has 17.90% unemployment rate with the youth especially graduates mostly affected by this disaster. The party through its leader has made it their priority to ensure that most Batswana are employed in the next five years as Masisi continues to source out Foreign Direct Investments and luring in investors to check the local environment. He has decided not to commit as to how many jobs he would have created if given mandates.

“I know that you have appetite on the number of jobs we would have created in five years. We shied away from doing that, deliberately so. And that doesn’t make our creation of job any lesser. There are lots of variables that come with job creation or committing to such. What do we do when South Africa stop our container import, what do we do? Wage bill going up without any returns coming in.”

President Masisi has upped the tempo in ensuring that the youth are empowered by introducing the President’s Initiative. This week two youths were roped in by Steve Harvey’s Family Feud show as interns. Not only that; his commitment to ensure most youth are employed has seen him inviting businessman Strive Masiyiwa, where they both agreed that they will sweat until at least 3000 youth are employed. This he says will be anchored on the ICT as it has proven that it is the only tool that could emancipate the youth from trenches on joblessness.  “Before the next five years elapses, Rwanda will be behind us.

But we need political commitment and it should be Batswana running these ICT projects not underhand deals of tenders. We will have to involve them (youth) in town hall meetings just like we did with Masiyiwa some years back. Will be carrying out another one where we are expecting 6000 youths.” He said further reiterating that, “Government does not create jobs but rather create enabling environment. We want to open this economy and this need us working together”.

To further demonstrate his call Masisi through his government has Botswana submitted a bid to host the Forbes 2020 under 30 summit billed for April next year. “As part of president’s initiative the government is negotiating with Forbes to host a summit that brings together 600 of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs and game changers including 200 from the host country and 200 of the best under 30s from around the world.” This summit according to Masisi would place Botswana at the center of entrepreneurship and incubate the local setup scene which will assist most of the budding business minds.

CITIZENS TO PARTICIPATE IN TOURISM ECONOMY

The lament that locals are pushed to the woods when it comes to the meaningful participation of the economy especially the multimillion tourism sector is another matter that will be pushed and implemented by Masisi’s led government should he succeed. “The BDP government is also concerned by the way Batswana are participating in tourism and we will implement Citizen Empowerment law and Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) law”. President Masisi says this is for the locals to be included in the economy of this country.

We will have citizen participating in tourism economy and we will also push for economic diversification law, we want them to buy and sell what is produced locally. We cheat our fiscals by supporting people who are not helping the locals.” In his meeting with the locals he has echoed the same sentiments pushing Batswana to show interest. “We will re-possess those concessions and we will offer you Batswana ba Sekei opportunity to own them. Now you should start forming clusters or cooperatives so you can work together,” he said this recently in Maun, the country’s tourism hub.

DECENTRALISATION OF SERVICES (WATER &HEALTH)

Shortages of drugs and medications in public clinics and hospitals which have been going on will have to be seriously corrected if Masisi is to win. This according to the President, will call for the decentralization of management. “We are also about to decentralize the health system. We want to decentralize management of the health services, so that decision could be taken at a local level and they are capacitated by a budget. So when we prepare for that we will ensure we include that with my competent cabinet and it looks like they will agree with me.” He said there should be no shortages of medications as that tarnish the BDP and it will be a thing of the past in the coming months. “Re rogakwa ke batho mo dintshong mo, gotwe ga gona dipilisi tsa high-blood, this should stop.”

In a kgotla meeting in Mathangwane and Mogodistshane this week he added; “We want to do the same (decentralization) for water, lea bokolla ka metsi mo go lebaneng. But we will be very sensitive to the budget implications. Because in reality part of failures with water, is procurement. PPADB Act needs to be reviewed. Information is leaked; and this is corruption! What do you want to achieve when you leak information about the multimillion tender? That must stop! Some of you who leak this I know you. This will also not grow our private sector.  We might amend WUC Act, to allow Council to pump water so that we can have water in our taps, but you should know that water is a scarce resource”.

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Mascom, Letshego partner to deliver the MyZaka instant loan

31st March 2023

Letshego Botswana has recently partnered with Mascom to launch the Mascom MyZaka Instant Loan, a customer focused mobile money microloan service designed to provide customers with swift and convenient access to funds, driven by the underlying theme of “Ithuse” meaning “help yourself”

The loan is said to have been developed through a partnership driven by a deep customer focus with the key objectives of access, convenience and flexible financial support to customers of Letshego Botswana and Mascom through instantly disbursed short-term loans from P50 to P1 500 over the period of one month.

Letshego’s head of transformation, Molebogeng Malomo highlighted that working through agile methodologies, the partnership was able to develop and be released as what they call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or solution. “In keeping up with the spirit of design thinking and agile methodologies, the experiences and viewpoints of both Letshego Botswana and Mascom’s customers will be valuable to inform further enhancements to the Mascom MyZaka solution,” he said.

He further noted that the partnership and the development of the MyZaka instant loan will provide both the organizations to diversify their offering and customer base, while also offering the customer more choices and flexibility to initiate and be in control of their loan requests through the self-service mobile based application.

Mascom’s Chief Executive Officer, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni also alluded that their origins, priorities and initiatives are firmly rooted in Botswana and in the success of all Batswana, and that their strategy and intent is supported by embracing innovative problem-solving.

“The speed with which Letshego has grown over the years gives us confidence that we have partnered with the right service provider. Their expertise and most of all, innovation, a value we both share, will be beneficial to MyZaka Mobile Money for growth and for the convenience of our subscribers,” she concluded.

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DCEC granted warrant to arrest Khama twins

29th March 2023

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has been granted permission to apprehend the former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, and his twin brother Anthony Khama.

Information gathered by this publication suggests that the DCEC is actively searching for the Khama brothers, this is in connection with events that transpired whilst Tshekedi was Minister of Environment. The duo is currently in exile in South Africa together with their elder brother, and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.

Approximately two weeks ago, the corruption-busting agency discreetly filed for an arrest warrant that was approved by the Broadhurst Magistrate Court for the two to be taken into custody, according to a highly placed source within the government enclave.

DCEC is also said to have filed an affidavit signed by a high-ranking officer known to this publication. Reports indicate that after being presented with details of the case, the Broadhurst magistrate issued the agency an arrest warrant.

It is also believed that the agency has been conducting extensive investigations into the supposed suspects for quite some time. Furthermore, Weekend Post has it on good word that the DCEC has been looking for methods to summon the two for questioning but has been unsuccessful.

According to unconfirmed reports, DCEC met with attorney Victor Ramalepa, who refused to accept the summons, saying that he is not their attorney. Furthermore, it is believed that DCEC has enlisted the assistance of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) in flagging the suspects’ names in the International Criminal Police Organisation INTERPOL.

Responding to WeekendPost enquiries, DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said, “I am not in good position to confirm or deny the allegation,” adding that such allegations may fall within the operational purview of the DCEC.

When contacted for comment, Ramalepa briefly stated that he is unaware of the purported arrest warrant. “I know nothing about the warrant and I haven’t been served with anything,” he said.

Meanwhile, former president Lt Gen Ian Khama recently issued a statement stating that DIS is intensifying the harassment and intimidation of him, family, friends and office employees.

“It is reprehensible for state officials and agencies to abuse government resources to terrorise their own citizens for personal gain,” said the former president in a statement.

He also stated that his brother TK’s staff and security were ordered to falsely implicate him. “Their desperate tactics will never work, it only serves to motivate me more to pursue regime change and free Botswana from tyranny,” he said

This comes after the corruption busting agency wants to interview the alleged suspects as they are still hiding in South Africa since last year.

Despite the hostility between government and Khama family going unabated, last month, Masisi extended an olive branch to Khama in political rally, indicating that he hopes the two of them settle their differences, of which the former responded by welcoming the gesture.

Khama further said his brother, Tshekedi, will facilitate the reconciliation of his behalf. Many have indicated that Masisi did not say what he said in good faith, and was only scoring political brownies since he was in Khama’s territory in Shoshong.

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DCEC’s Tshepo Pilane still has his mojo

29th March 2023

Tshepo Pilane silenced his critics after being named the head of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in May of last year and served his opponents humble pie. Many believed he would only last for a month, but almost a year later, he is still standing.

Pilane, a trained soldier whose appointment surprised both the general public and some officers within the DCEC walls, has never glanced back in his duty to steer the DCEC ship forward.

It is alleged that immediately after his appointment the man embarked on a nation-wide trip touring the DCEC offices across the country in order to confirm and reaffirm the DCEC’s mandate. Sources from inside the DCEC claim that Pilane won the hearts of many DCEC employees due to his humility and plain message; “people at the top of the DCEC will come and go but the mandate of the DCEC remains relevant and unchanged.”

Pilane was appointed the Acting DCEC Director General at a time when the organisation was undergoing turbulence through court proceedings in which the suspended Director General Tymon Katlholo had interdicted the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing the DCEC premises. At the time, the DIS had raided the DCEC offices in the absence of Katlholo claiming to be looking for high profile corruption cases allegedly held by Katlholo.

At the time Pilane was Head of the DCEC Intelligence Division holding the position of Senior Assistant Director General reporting directly to the Deputy Director General Operations Ms Priscilla Israel. Contrary to his detractors, Pilane who is a reserved and humble person by nature won the support and backing of many DCEC officers due to his unassuming nature.

In a recent questionnaire sent to the DCEC regarding Pilane’s term in office, the DCEC was resolute on its commitment towards the fight against corruption. When quizzed on allegations of rife corruption since he took over, Pilane through his Public Relations (PR) office stated that the corruption landscape in Botswana remains unchanged as the DCEC continues to receive reports on allegations of corruption with sectors such as procurement (tenders and supplies), Transport (licensing and certificates), and land (dubious allocation and collusion) still leading issues reported. This trend has been consistence in the DCEC database for more than 10 years.

When further quizzed on accusations that suggest that due to the infighting at the agency, particularly at the top management, Investigations of cases has dropped significantly the DCEC claimed ignorance to the matter, stating that they are not aware of any “infights” at the DCEC “at the top management”, further stating that, investigations of cases has increased significantly, contrary to the allegations raised. “The DCEC is currently seeking new ways of expediting the investigations in order to fast track its enforcement role,” said the DCEC Head of Public Relations Lentswe Motshoganetsi. He further stated that the DCEC is in pursuit of high profile cases involving money and assets valued over P900 million. Three companies are involved in the scandal and two cases have already been committed to court while on one, investigations are about to be completed.

When WeekendPost inquired about Pilane’s roadmap, the DCEC stated that in the past, anti-corruption interventions were reactive, particularly in dealing with national projects that involve large sums of money. It was further started that in most instances investigating such matters takes a long time and in most instances, the money looted form Government in never recovered. As a result, the DCEC has taken a deliberate stance to attach its officers from the Corruption Prevention Division to be part of the implementation of these projects before, during, and after implementation.

The DCEC cited the Economic Stimulus Programme which, although meant to grow the economy and uplift Batswana from poverty, yielded incidents of corruption and poor workmanship. To date, the DCEC is still grappling with cases as some projects were not done, or were completed with defects beyond repair. Currently the DCEC is involved at the Ministry of Education conducting project risk management in the Multiple Path Ways Program at Moeng College and Maun Senior School. This intervention will spread to other sectors of the economy as part of the DCEC’s corruption prevention strategy.

Of recent, the DCEC has been in the media for all the wrong reasons following leakage of high profile cases and allegations claiming that the executive management is at war with each other more particularly with some within the agency harbouring ambitions to dethrone Pilane from the Directorship.

Although the infighting was denied by Pilane’s Office, he acknowledged that leakage of information is a problem across Government and stated that it is a pain at the DCEC. He however stated that Staff has been cautioned against leakage of investigation information and that they have roped in the Botswana Police to assist in investigating incidents of leakage. He further stated that they have increased continuous vetting and lifestyle audits for DCEC employees in order to enforce discipline.

Pilane’s term comes to an end in May 2023 after serving the DCEC for a year on acting basis. It will be in the public interest to see who will be given the baton to continue the anti-corruption journey if Pilane’s contract is not renewed. The DCEC has seen arrival and departure of Director Generals having alternated the top seat five times in less than seven years.

 

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