Former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama has finally cut ties with his long-time ally, Tshepang Mabaila who is contesting Mogoditshane parliamentary constituency as an independent candidate.
In a new development, Khama will now back Bruce Nkgakile who announced his defection from the beleaguered Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) last week to join the Khama linked Botswana Patriot Front (BPF). Khama left Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the party founded by his father and regrouped with his close associates as they facilitated the formation BPF, believed to be his brainchild.
Since the formation of the new party expectations were high that some of Khama’s close associates, including Khama’s brother Tshekedi, Mabaila and Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi will be the first to join. However, with only two months left before the general elections Mabaila has made his mind to contest the constituency as an independent candidate. Khama’s unsuccessful bid to coax Mabaila to join BPF has seen the party recruiting Nkgakile from the BMD. Nkgakile was first spotted at BPF launch last month, raising suspicion that he has closed ranks with the new party.
Nkgaile will now under BPF colours face, Mabaila, Alliance for Progressives (AP)’s Sedirwa Kgoroba, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Tumiso Chillyboy Rakgare as well as Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Mozambia Dibe. Reports indicate that Khama is scheduled to launch Nkgakile as BPF’s Mogoditshane preferred candidate. Khama has however said, he has not made any pronouncement with regard to who he will launch and support in Mogoditshane.
“The decision on who to launch and not, rests with the interim leadership of the party [BPF]. So far, nothing has been decided with relation to that constituency. I do not want to pre-empt anything and make assumption on who are I am going to launch,” Khama told WeekendPost this week. “It has been resolved that, in a scenario where the party is not contesting, we will support opposition candidate.”
While officially bidding Bangwato farewell at a consultation meeting in Serowe on 25 May 2019, the former President told tribesmen that he will no longer support the party that has backtracked as a result of its new policies under the current leadership. Khama assured Bangwato that he will instead join hands and vote with the opposition in helping remove the BDP from power.
At the recent inaugural BPF press briefing Khama assured members of the media that he will be working with the newly formed party and shall be launching their candidates at some constituencies where they have decided to contest. While addressing multitudes who thronged Kanye at their launch, Khama said their intention is to remove BDP from power thus in some constituencies where they are contesting they will support the UDC. That technical meant the former President will not be launching some independent candidates leaving them with only one option, to join the newly formed BPF or face competition.
“Khama has been advised against some hypocrites who are trying to use him to win elections but will later remain members of BDP or will re-join at a later stage. People like Mabaila have been clear that after serving his suspension he will re-unite with the BDP, thus there is no use supporting him,” said a source close to the development. Last year, in purging of candidates supposedly linked to Khama, President Mokgweetsi Masisi slapped Mabaila with a five-year suspension from the party.
Prior to five-year suspension, Mabaila served a two months suspension pending disciplinary hearing for allegedly committing offences against the rules and regulations and General Code of Conduct of the ruling party. He was also accused of ‘behaving in a grossly disorderly and unruly manner that might put the party’s name into disrepute contrary to General Code of Conduct number 11 and sowing seeds of discord in the party, using regionalism, tribalism or factionalism contrary to General Code of Conduct number 6’.
Mabaila was alleged to have conspired and tried to persuade MPs; Dr Alfred Madigele and Sethomo Lelatisitswe, to support Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko’s motion of no confidence against Masisi. Mabaila an ally of Khama since his military days dating to 2003, says he has made his mind to contest Mogoditshane as an independent candidate. “I will not be joining the new party, that is what the people of Mogoditshane wants,” said Mabaila.
Asked about his current relationship with Khama, Mabaila said he is not aware of any development, implying that Khama is fully behind him. “We are always talking and he never mentioned anything to that effect,” he said.Mabaila who will be launching at Mogoditshane on 7th September said he has invited Khama at the event. Observation shows recently Mabaila has come out on social media praising President Masisi and attacking his former master in what observers outlined as a cry for sympathy by the youthful politician.
A source within the BPF said Mabaila is not the only candidate on Khama’s target, another Khama’s favourite Kamal Jacobs who is contesting Lobatse as an independent candidate will face BPF’s Patrick Kebailele whose roots can be linked to Bangwato royalty. Khama’s decision not to support independent candidates, is a setback for Lerala-Maunatlala legislator, Prince Maele who was suspended from BDP and will be contesting the constituency as an independent candidate. Ironically, Maele was suspended for declaring his support for Khama at a Kgotla meeting, but Khama will not support him for refusing to join BPF.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.