The interim leader of newly formed political party, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), Biggie Butale has made revelations that they are aware of a conspiracy by the ruling party to collude with Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to tamper with the voters roll in order to influence the 2019 general elections outcome.
Butale who left the ruling party amid protracted acrimonious relationship with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leader Mokgweetsi Masisi, said they can authoritatively reveal that such plans have been put in place by the ruling party because of their fear of losing elections. “We have credible intelligence, that some people have been approached at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to fiddle with the electoral roll especially during the transfers’ period. For now I do not know which constituencies are being targeted; and how many people are going to be moved around,” Butale told WeekendPost on Thursday.
“You all know that a senior BDP official did register people with IEC in their absence. He was sending the people’s names and ID numbers and people were registered in their absence.” Butale said if there is already a case which point out that BDP officials interfered with the IEC registration, nobody should have confidence that the 2019 general elections will be free and fair. “We are watching and we will not accept any kind of rigging. We know what they are up to. We hope they will not alter the voters roll in any way that will be prejudicial to any political party. We will not accept that,” said Butale.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MOTSEPES
The have been reports that the newly formed BPF is being backed financially by rich individuals such as South African billionaire, Patrice Motsepe. Motsepe, who is close to the Khama family has however denied his involvement in Botswana politics after being accused of interfering with Botswana’s politics with the intention of effecting regime changed.
“For now they [Motsepes] are not funding us. But I always see people implying that if they did fund us, it is illegal or it is immoral. We will source funds everywhere,” said Butale. “Talking about political funding, a lot of business in Gaborone are being intimidated so that they do not fund us. But we will source funding from wherever. It does not mean this will strangle us.”
GUMA WILL JOIN THE PARTY
The Tati West legislator also revealed to this publication that the self-exiled Tati East legislator, Samson Moyo Guma will join the BPF in near future. “Guma Moyo is still with us, though he has not communicated when he is going to be back in the country,” assured Butale. Guma fled the country in March this year, alleging that he had been tipped by security sources that his life was in danger. He has reportedly been staying in South Africa. The outspoken legislator is believed to have been working behind the scenes in ensuring that the party found its feet.
BPF, just like any other political formation has the responsibility of revealing to potential voters what they stand for. Although BPF split from BDP, Butale believes ideologically, the party differs with the ruling party. “We stand for social justice. We believe in equal opportunities for all citizens. Equal opportunities in terms of distribution of wealth.”
MASISI LEADERSHIP SPLIT THE BDP
The former junior minister in both President Lt Gen Ian Khama administration and Masisi’s, believes the latter acted in a manner that led to the split of the ruling party. Butale said Masisi failed to ensure fairness and acted in a manner that promoted favouritism, corruption and regionalism.
“If Masisi had fought corruption genuinely, without amassing farms and other properties for himself overnight ever since he became president. If he had made appointment to senior positions on merit; not on where somebody comes from; if he had not been appointing old people to ambassadorial positions. If he had been running the party effectively. If he was not supporting gays, if he was not removing Religious Education from the syllabus, they would have been no need to form a new party,” said Butale.
“A lot of things happened. We have been thrown into a chaotic dispensation by the current president. I think he [Masisi] is grossly incompetent, and he must go, as soon as yesterday.” Butale who lost Tati West in the party primary elections believes BDP voters roll was fiddled with in the run-up to the elections, and that those who were targeted were made to lose elections.
He noted that when Tsholetsa House postponed elections amid reports of meddling with the voters roll, the conspirators used that opportunity to tamper with the voters roll, therefore interfering with the outcome of elections in various constituencies. Butale lost his constituency to Simon Mavange, the party Youth Wing leader believed to be Masisi’s favourite.
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.
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.”
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.