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No talks between Masisi, Kgafela yet

Despite President Mokgweetsi Masisi‘s consistent remarks that he will fight with every weapon available to ensure that Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela paramount chief, Kgosi Kgafela  Kgafela II returns back to Botswana, his Mangana regiment has dismissed these statements saying they are just political gimmicks.

In the run-up to 2014 general elections, Government was at loggerheads with Kgosi Kgafela II, resulting in the latter fleeing to South Africa on self-imposed exile. BDP had plethora of problems in 2014, among them a standoff with public service trade unions as well as acrimonious relationship with various chiefs in Botswana. The situation also saw Batawana paramount chief, Kgosi Tawana Moremi II ditching the ruling party in favour of opposition, with Barolong paramount chief, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II following suit in 2015.

In an audio leaked, Masisi who was addressing the BDP parliamentary candidates retreat workshop in May was heard saying a lot of tribal leaders were unhappy with the past administration, an anomaly that will be a priority on his agenda. “A lot of tribal leaders were also unhappy with us. The other even went to an extent of dumping Botswana for South Africa, Kgafela of Bakgatla. And we know very well that our country is not complete without our tribal leaders. We must accept this reality,” Masisi is heard saying in the clip to thunderous applause from his audience.

“I will not rest until Kgafela is back home. I will not, I will not,” he added. BDP is treading carefully this time around to avoid provocative issues to the tribes in the build-up to elections and acknowledges that the institution of Bogosi in Botswana, like in many countries still plays a major role in the political landscape. History has shown that chiefs are still very influential figures in their communities. In Botswana all the vocal chiefs’ constituencies are under opposition and an examination of previous developments show that all the tribes whose chiefs have expressed disgruntlement with the government have been voting for the opposition.

This past weekend when officially opening the 38th BDP congress in Mochudi, Masisi again reiterated the statement. "Mmusi Kgafela is from the royal family and it shows that as the BDP we respect the institution of Bogosi. And as BDP we will do everything to ensure that his brother is backing home. I mean his real home. I will do everything to ensure that he enjoys the warmness of his home. Home I mean here,” Masisi said

However, for their part Mangana regiment’s Matshwenyego Ramotswetla said as far as they know, they are no talks Kgosi Kgafela II and President Masisi relating to return of the Bakgatla chief. “I would not know if there is any but we would be aware if there were any negotiations. What we are aware is Kgabo [Kgosi Kgafela II] said he will only come here when the government has changed and during Khama’s era we once told that Tsogwane [Slumber] was in talks with Kgabo to come back but then nothing materialised,”
Another Mangana regiment member who preferred anonymity told this publication that what Masisi is doing is trying to score cheap political points.

“There has not been anything tangible. We are concerned that the President wants to get political mileage from this because he is not serious about it. If he was, he could have contacted Kgabo and talked to him, but for now there has not been anything to that effect. It is just talk,” a very concerned senior member of the regiment said in an interview on Thursday morning. UDC parliamentary hopeful for Mochudi West, Tona Mooketsi has also blasted President Masisi for using the name of Bakgatla Paramount chief, Kgosi Kgafela II as a campaign tool for the upcoming elections.  

"There is no way Masisi’s remarks can be true. He was just campaigning," said Mooketsi, adding that Masisi is just looking for sympathy votes from the disgruntled Bakgatla who lost their chief due to the conflicts with the government.  Incidentally, Masisi formed part of government as he was a minister at the time. “We are very surprised about Masisi who is now pretending to be Messiah to Bakgatla. He was there when Kgosi Kgafela was being harassed and today he is pretending to be a good man. He won’t fool Bakgatla and he must stop using our Kgosi Kgolo as campaign weapon,” he warned.

Mooketsi believes Kgosi Kgafela II will not by any means be excited by Masisi’ empty promises; “He is a man of his word and I can assure you that he will not be tricked by the sympathy tactics of getting votes by BDP. He once made it clear that he doesn’t want the BDP government. Bakgatla will also not be tricked.”

Bakgatla, Batawana, Balete, Barolong who have been having quarrels with the government have been voting for the opposition and changes in circumstances herald a fluid and unpredictable upcoming election. Bakgatla have fielded Kgafela’s brother, Mmusi in a bid to change its fortunes.  Batawana and Barolong chiefs, Kgosi Tawana II and Kgosi Lotlaamoreng who are serving as Members of Parliament now will not be seeking re-election. The Balete land saga still persists and they have taken the government to court. There are other tribes with other issues like Batlokwa and many others that are fighting for recognition.

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Opposition Will Never Achieve Anything- Nkaigwa

8th April 2021
Haskins Nkaigwa

Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms.  “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.

“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.

“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.

“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”

Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner.  He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.

Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.

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Botswana benefits over P100 million in grants from Japan

7th April 2021
Ambassador HOSHIYAMA

Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.

The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).

“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.

“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”

Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.

From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.

“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.

“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”

In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.

TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.

“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”

Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.

“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.

“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”

Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.

Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.

According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.

“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).

“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.

“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”

The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.

 

“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”

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Magosi pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

6th April 2021
President Masisi

Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.

The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.

This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.

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