Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Advocate Duma Boko has revealed that his party has rejected and will continue to snub local businessmen who pledge to assist the party financially ahead of the highly anticipated October general elections.
Boko told the media this week that he has been approached on numerous occasions by the local business community volunteering to help the UDC with funds. However, according to the UDC leader, this financial help either comes with expectations or it is done in bad faith. This, he says, he deliberately and unashamedly rejected because their help comes up with conditions which he cannot abide by.
“Most of their assistance comes up with conditions and I will never accept anything from them. I will traverse the world seeking assistance from international donors, not sponsors because they do not want anything after assisting you. Besides when you ask them their monies are regulated by international authorities,” Boko told media in press briefing this week.
The UDC leader said, in some instances, the donors give millions to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) only to offer UDC peanuts, a gesture which Boko believes it is done in bad faith. The UDC for now through Boko, will continue with their last elections formula of sourcing funds from international community to assist in wresting the BDP out of power. Already the party has agreed on centralising sourcing of fund with Boko as the face of the project.
The party believes should they get assistance from the local businessmen it will compromise their governance post October should they win. “There are conditions from them that is why even the BDP is failing to crack the whip because they were assisted by the same. And as the UDC we want to sanitize this country after October so we want to do so freely. We want to get rid of corruption and we don’t want to be compromised in situations when we ask someone to account for his wealth, No,” Boko said.
For now Boko said he is aware of a number of businessmen who are flocking to assist BDP, threatening to reveal their names. “We know a lot of things including who is being assisted by whom and by how much, if we want to reveal we can, but we as the UDC we want to remain clean of this mess,” he said.
BOKO LAUNCHES CRUSADE AGAINST DWINDLING DEMOCRACY
The UDC leader who also made it clear at the briefing that he supports former President Ian Khama’s decision to grant international media interviews — which some believe tarnish the image of the country— says he is going to do the same. “There is no crisis in Botswana and Khama has the right to freedom of expression. I did the same interviews in the past because we were not given opportunity on state media and even this time around I will continue to. So there is nothing wrong with what Khama is doing,” he said.
Boko continued to add that he is not happy with the way state apparatus are being used to frustrate democracy, something which is at variance with the country’s reputation. “IEC for example is a useless body. Go and tell them that. It is either they are incompetent or complicit in what they are doing and not only them but whole others. Soon I will be going to USA and I am going to tell them about the deteriorating democracy levels in Botswana. From there I will visit Westminster democracy foundation at the United Kingdom to also preach the same message,” he said.
UDC ENGAGES EXPERTS ON LIFTING OF THE HUNTING BAN
The ongoing hot potato of lifting the hunting ban which has attracted much commentary and criticism across the globe has called the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) to call experts to give fair appraisal. “Hunting ban does not give us a durable solution. UDC will engage experts to this issue to find a sustainable and durable solution to this challenge,” president Boko told journalists.
However Boko believes that whoever is attacked or threatened by an animal should defend themselves as the constitution dictates on Section 4 which talks about protection of life. “Government should also compensate to the full quantum of loss in case a wild-animal demolished crops or any other damage.”
UDC TO RECONFINGURE PARASTATALS, MINISTRIES
The UDC NEC has also agreed to form a transitional team as the party cannot “inherit incompetent institutions dominated by corrupt BDP cadres post elections.” The idea of forming a transition team is to reconfigure the executive arm of the government which Boko says is bloated. “18 ministers and 10 assistants for a 2 million population? He asked rhetorically and added, “We have executive larger than the backbench and that is subversion of democracy.”
The team will propose a linear, more dynamic, efficient and agile cabinet for UDC. “It will also re-organise public service by advising on the size of cabinet and names of different ministries.” According to Boko, ministries will be run like corporate entities where there would be CEO, COO and HR manager to ensure efficiency of the ministries.
The transitional team will comprise of skilled personnel determined by the three presidents of UDC’s constituent parties who will also advise on the composition of the team.“Some of the team members will be revealed while others will not because they are embedded in the high civil service and naming might compromise their jobs,” he said.
NO FORMAL AGREEMNENT BETWEEN UDC, KHAMA
Boko also disclosed that as the NEC of the UDC, they have not had any formal agreement with former president Khama. “I have met with him. I wanted to remind him what I told him in 2014 when I became the leader of opposition. But there was nothing formal [agreed],” he said. ‘He expressed his desire to have me representing him in court against government. He did so because he believes in my capabilities,”
Boko continued; “People value interaction as it is a part of socialization and if he (Khama) comes with soup to my constituency I will encourage and assist him. He was able to understand this dynamic of dealing with people at that level and it is not cooperation but interaction.”
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.