Fresh information has surfaced this week that Minister of Investment Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo has last year rescued the reeling SPEDU from near ruin after their budget was cut by P10 million.
Since the youthful Kenewendo took over the reins of the Ministry, the budget for SPEDU stands at P43 million for year 2019/2020, the amount which MITI Principal Public Relations Officer Chandapiwa Baputaki also confirmed. An immaculate source who sits on SPEDU management told Weekend Post this week: “this year, it has been more than any other year, it is a first on the company’s history.”
An economist, Kenewendo was appointed Cabinet Minister responsible for the portfolio (Investment Trade and Industry) from 4 April 2018 following Mokgweetsi Masisi’s ascendance to the presidency of the Republic. Information reaching Weekend Post suggests that under former immediate Minister Vincent Seretse, the budget was cut down by close to 10 million. This, they believe it made it difficult to carry out some of the organisation mandate.
“He cut the budget by close to 10 million pula and this adversely affected our capacity to execute our mandate especially more publication, education and publicity on mandate and achievements,” the highly placed source said. It is understood that this transpired after strong suspicions from the Ministry authorities that SPEDU Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Mokubung Mokubung was going overboard in his mandate and extravagant.
“He was said to be making a lot of noise and in some instances, was said to be taking more than he can chew in his role at SPEDU,” the source at SPEDU top politburo further said. It is understood that he was as a result “reprimanded” by the then Minister of Trade, Investment and Industry. Sources at SPEDU hinted that Seretse told the SPEDU CEO to his face that he was “going off the rails” in his mandate and “should just chill.”
This comes at a time when most citizens when given a chance to pose questions for SPEDU during the organisation sponsored media tour recently in Selibe Phikwe raised the issue several times that they are “not really aware of SPEDU mandate and why it was set up” describing it as a cover-up for government spending spree. Approached for a comment, Mokubung confirmed that the budget of course has increased but would not be drawn into whether it was as a result of the new minister or it was a coincidence.
Recently, a weekend newspaper (Sunday Standard) revealed that SPEDU CEO Dr. Mokubung and his senior managers may be using SPEDU to enrich themselves and therefore reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). “SPEDU CEO and his senior managers have been reported to the DIS on corruption allegations ranging from receiving kickbacks for tenders, misappropriation of funds, and nepotism among other issues,” the paper stated.
Central to the DIS investigations is said to be a series of multi-million Pula tenders awarded without following proper procurement practices, and other allegations of abuse of office by the CEO. SPEDU is an investment promotion company owned by the Government of Botswana tasked to coordinate investment promotion and economic diversification in the SPEDU economic region.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.