Vice President of the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has poured cold water on suggestions linking the opposition coalition with ex-president Lt Gen Ian Khama in the campaign towards the impending 2019 general Elections.
There have been reports that Khama may be roped in the UDC campaign in an endeavour to unseat the “common enemy” which is referred to the incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi and his administration. The move also saw Khama confirm at the recent contentious Serowe kgotla meeting that he will be on a rampage to de-campaign some ruling party potential law makers while assisting some opposition UDC candidates.
Speaking on the developments, Saleshando told Weekend Post this week that, “we don’t have any agreement with Khama, whatsoever, and we will not arrange any. There are no plans for joint campaigns with Khama.” The UDC VP continued: “I can confirm that UDC has even not approached Khama, and the party will not approach Khama to assist us with the coming national election campaigns. We want to take over government so he cannot be part of the equation.”
According to Saleshando, this is a BDP battle alone and Khama should not use UDC to score cheap political goals against his arch-enemy, Masisi. “Khama has fights with the BDP and we cannot, as has never before, think that we share any values with them,” the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) president lashed out. He also explained that the BDP is not necessarily fighting with Khama alone but many others like Prince Maele, Biggie Butale and Moyo Guma as evidenced by their suspensions and expulsions.
“So the issue is not about BDP fighting Khama but BDP fighting itself. BDP is party ruining itself and a party in turmoil,” Saleshando highlighted. The UDC VP reminisced that BDP blamed Khama for corruption but Khama’s record is a record for BDP. “They are totally inseparable,” he said. However, the Maun West MP candidate further told this publication that if Khama or anyone, can tell electorates to vote for UDC, “we will welcome that. Its Khama choice to campaign for the UDC. But we are not going to enter into any agreement with them.”
According to the ex-Gaborone Central two time law maker, If Khama is using his power as a paramount chief of Bangwato, to lure and influence voters to elect UDC, at his own volition, then let it be. Moreover, Khama’s time in politics and government as a key political player is over, Saleshando said while adding that “he should just accept it and move forward.” Meanwhile, it is not clear if Duma Gideon Boko, the UDC leader, shares the same sentiments with that of his Vice President.
In the past, Boko was linked to providing legal representation to both Khama and his close associate and Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) boss Isaac Kgosi before. Khama had also said at the debatable Serowe meeting that people should not be amused should they see him in Boko’s hired helicopter which he promised he is likely to request a ride in.
UDC denies BDP, AP invitation to its party manifesto
According to Saleshando, the UDC will not invite other political formations for the launch of their party manifesto scheduled for next weekend (18 May 2019) at Maun. This is notwithstanding that another opposition Alliance for Progressives (AP) has invited both UDC, BDP as well as the beleaguered Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), and only the orange liberal party turned up. On the other hand, BDP also at its manifesto recently held in Gaborone and they had invited UDC, AP and the BMD and none rocked up.
However, Saleshando justified why they not inviting the other parties to their manifesto: “we are not inviting the other local political parties; BDP, AP and the like because we fundamentally disagree with them.” He continued: We are selling our manifesto, why invite them?” he asked rhetorically. “BDP doesn’t believe in creating jobs but we do. We want the constitution that embraces everyone.
We want jobs back to Botswana while the BDP wants tourism that’s foreign controlled. So clearly we are at variance.” He said they will only invite Civil Society Organisations like Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO), trade unions, Botswana Network on Ethics law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), Business Botswana and diplomatic community and/or embassies.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.