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Bangwato rejected Masisi, Khama truce at 11th hour

Truce efforts between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama were last week dealt a last blow when Bangwato tribal leadership advised the former President against meeting his successor. A date had been set for the two to meet.

Weekendpost informants disclosed that after Masisi initially rejected a proposed reconciliatory meeting arranged and organized by Spy Chief Peter Magosi because he was not ready and had long asked for the meet, he had now decided it was high time he met the man who gave him the baton.  All logistics for the meeting were sorted, with Magosi still the main organizer until the Bangwato traditional leadership dismissed it.

When Magosi made a somehow unusual call to Khama asking if it would be possible for him to meet with Masisi, it is said he (Khama) gave it a thumbs up. But he had indicated that he was in Serowe preparing for his scheduled meeting that was to be held on Saturday.  The agreement now was the meeting (private) be held on Wednesday at around 9pm in Serowe, Masisi and Magosi did not mind time and venue anyway and it was set that the two warring leaders will meet in Serowe.

Sources say with Masisi and Magosi not disputing the venue; it was demonstration that they wanted to iron out their differences with Khama. It is understood that President Masisi concedes privately that this feud has the ability to dismantle the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) going to the elections. Khama, while on the one hand agreeing to meet Masisi via phone calls with Magosi, is reported to have been locked in another meeting with his ‘Uncles’ and advise-givers but did not share with them what the frequent calls were about. Few minutes later after finalizing the meeting with Magosi through another call, it is then that he decided to disclose to his ‘uncles’ what the calls were about.

Informants say his announcement was met by strong resistance from the uncles who were already preparing for a weekend meeting and made it clear that Khama should leave the BDP. “Khama returned a call to Magosi cancelling the agreed meet. He did not reveal more details of which Magosi did not question further too, but deep down Khama knew he wanted the meeting but could not disappoint his uncles who have been traversing the path of trials and tribulation with him,” narrates a source on Tuesday this week.

Khama was told after revealing that Masisi wants to meet him that, “What, ware who? We are not with you on that one you could go ahead with it but you will be on your own,” allegedly said one member of Khama’s regiment of Malwelakgosi. Further, another uncle added, “he can come but he won’t be accorded neither any protocol nor security that the president deserves and we will not give him any recognition, so you may go ahead. But still know that Saturday we are on because we cannot fool Bangwato. They want to know what you will present to them and if he sweet-talks you, you will see how to address the tribe at the weekend.”

This was the turning point that called off the meeting but Magosi was not aware of whatever was said by the tribal leaders. The meeting by Khama and his mentors held at an unknown place in his home village of Serowe was plotting an ambush of how Masisi and the BDP should be scattered in Serowe and the central region. Further it was influencing Khama to leave the BDP and seek a refuge where he will be free and not be accused of interfering with Masisi’s presidency. Masisi was left frustrated and left the peace pipe effort hanging by a thread with a meeting between the two looking more unlikely. Contacted for comment this week, regent Kgamane said; “I am not in a position to say anything,” he said briefly.

KHAMA’S UNCLES PRESSED HIM TO REVEAL POLITICAL FUTURE

After dismissing the meeting and agreeing on the weekend agenda, which was for Khama to dump his own party. Everything went according to the script which was to disclose intentions to leave the BDP and endorse those who are sympathetic to him as per the South African based research consultancy firm. “After Biggy (Butale) made that presentation and Khama followed, he was told thereafter to go back to podium to tell Bangwato where he is going as he leaves the BDP.

And that is where they lost it; they were over-excited especially after the arrival of Butale. Khama was asked to tell the tribesmen the next destiny, “ga o kake wa bitsa batho o bo o sa ba bolelele gore ba ya kae. Ba tshwanetse go itse gore tsela pedi ba tsaya efe phuthi,” one uncle allegedly told Khama inside that white tent on Saturday. It is from there that Khama went back to the podium and cleared the air: "I don't recognise this party anymore, ke kgaogana le party e mme ke tsile go thusa ba bangwe mo dipartying tse dingwe ba ba naleng boamaaruri. Ke tla tsamaya mo dikgaolong tsotlhe, mme ke taa nna patriot ke dirisana le Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).”

Reports say the mood in Serowe main Kgotla is so volatile to the extent that the traditional leadership has already hatched a grand plan to eradicate the party in the village. “BDP is no longer wanted in Serowe. Magosana are going to be mobilized to influence other tribesmen not to vote the BDP in the three Serowe constituencies because the party leadership has humiliated Kgosi Kgolo. It will be a demanding exercise but the traditionalists are upbeat that at the end of the day the plan will pass,” says a source very close to the dynamics.

A study compiled by a South African firm on the relationship between the two has also painted a muddy picture on the two Presidents reaching a point of reconciliation saying it is as good as impossible. However, it is said Khama was following the same script from the study which encouraged them to meet despite the circumstances. “Attempts to bring them together to reach a truce have failed and they seem to be heading to the cliff edge. With that, Khama should try by all means to meet Masisi personally or through emissaries. This is for a truce to be negotiated in the interest of both men and for the sake of the party,” highlighted the report.

In the past Khama had made it clear that he would like to meet Masisi privately. This was after many attempts by Masisi to engage his predecessor through the BDP elders committee which the former leader deliberately rejected. The SA firm research says with Masisi having registered a hollow victory at Kang congress last month, achieved through the price of manipulation, intimidation and abuse of state resource and assets, he may be amenable to a settlement in order to turn his attention to the general elections.

“A big question mark is would Masisi’s conciliatory stance be genuine or only meant to buy him peace for purpose of the election after which he will return to haunt Khama. Our analysis is that for Masisi’s project to become a success, Khama and his associates must continuously be vilified and portrayed in the eyes of the nation as the perennial enemies of the nation,” the study observed.

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State forged Kgosi’s arrest warrant

22nd July 2021
FORMER DIS BOSS: ISAAC KGOSI

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.

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UDC parties discuss by-elections

22nd July 2021
UDC

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.

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DIS infiltrates Police fingerprint system

22nd July 2021
Makgope

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.

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