Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) politburo is against its patron former President Lt Gen Ian Khama endorsing any candidate from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), including his younger brother Tshekedi Khama.
Khama has publicly announced that he will launch everyone he sympathises with, even members of the ruling party and his younger brother Tshekedi still remains a member of BDP. A splinter movement from the BDP the BPF has since become a thorn on the ruling party’s flesh. Many have left the BDP for BPF but curiously Tshekedi remains with the ruling party, something that does not go well with the newly formed movement.
In its routine meeting, BPF party leadership has recently resolved that Khama should not launch any of their opponents as that will give its rivals advantage against them. Khama had unleashed an election hit list against some of the ruling party candidates as he revealed that he will launch and endorse some of the BDP candidates who he said are sympathetic to him.
Information reaching this publication is that after a series of meeting with the BPF leadership, Khama has agreed to the party’s decision of not launching BDP candidates. He will only launch BPF candidates, according to information received by this publication. “President Khama is a member of the BPF and will not launch opponents (including BDP candidates),” BPF interim President Biggie Butale told this Weekend Post this week.
Butale could however not be drawn into discussing whether Khama can launch Tshekedi. But according to his sentiments, Butale does not want Khama to launch Tshekedi either as he is still a BDP candidate. Khama also announced that he will endorse main opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). However the decision on whether Khama should give UDC candidates blessing for the 2019 elections is yet to be taken pending BPF’s elective congress which is slated for next week in BPF. UDC and BPF are currently mulling the idea of two parties joining hands in the October general elections and they are to decide on the cooperation model they could use in order to topple the BDP 50 year rule.
Tshekedi is contesting for a parliamentary seat for the Serowe West constituency and BPF is said to be looking for a candidate to represent the party in that area. Tshekedi who is also the Minister of Youth Empowerment Sports and Culture Development was supposed to be launched last weekend in Serowe but the launch never materialised. BDP is yet to explain why Tshekedi’s launch failed.
Selling the card of blood is thicker than water, it is reported that Tshekedi was urged by his uncles and some of the Ngwato royal family elders to leave BDP for BPF, joining his brother. However after that request, sources say, Tshekedi never came back to the elders to give them a decisive action plan as to whether he will leave the BDP and join BPF. Surprisingly, last month Tshekedi defied his family by saying he is still a BDP member in good standing.
Other ruling party MPs who are said to be sympathetic to Khama and expected to benefit from the ‘Khama Magic’ endorsement include, Master Goya, Philip Makgelemele and Buti Billy among others. “It will be naïve for us to launch our rivals because they will gain twice. It will give them advantage; first from BDP, then from our patron and that would give them cheap political points at our expense. What we have decided is there will be (BPF) candidates in some of the constituencies who will be launched by SKI,” a BPF councillor candidate disclosed to Weekendpost on Tuesday.
The party has now started planting candidates in a number of constituencies like Palapye. James Kgalajwe has been marked to contest Francistown East against BDP candidate Buti Billy. It is reported that BPF plans to challenge Polsen Majaga with Joe Linga for the Nata Gweta constituency. More BPF candidates will be revealed next week in Palapye’s elective congress, according to Butale. “Yes, it will depend on who of our members show interest followed by what we agree with UDC eventually, remember we will work with them in the elections,” he said.
KHAMA TO CAMP IN CENTRAL DISTRICT HELPING BPF CAMPAIGN
It is revealed that the BPF patron Khama will camp in the central district where it is believed he will build a war room for the new comer’s campaign. Khama is expected to move around the place believed to be BPF stronghold canvassing votes for the party. Central district is the largest by area and has 18 constituencies which are primarily targeted by BPF. Khama is the Paramount Chief of Bamangwato of Serowe, a village where the central district councils are headquartered. Furthermore Khama enjoys much following in the central district area.
“He will launch and endorse UDC candidates but the main plan is to deflect the BDP vote to BPF. In this case it would see UDC being the biggest winner as their votes will not split as compared to that of their arch-rival, the BDP,” says one party member. Among the constituencies targeted by BPF in a mission to cause a setback to the BDP is Sefhare-Ramokgonami, Lerala-Maunatlala, Shoshong, Boteti East and the two Mahalapye constituencies. BPF believes with the ‘Khama Magic’ they stand a better chance of winning some constituencies in central district or at least ensure that they are taken by UDC not BDP.
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.