Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has on his numerous requests to source finances to support his allies on the upcoming elections managed to get at least P100 million for that purpose, WeekendPost has established.
This publication is reliably informed that Khama has been on constant talks with his associates around the world seeking financial assistance to support his preferred candidates during the elections. His toils have been rewarded with P100 million which his sponsors want to be used to win an intense battle with his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s desired contestants on certain constituencies.
WeekendPost sources disclose that Khama was financed mostly by his business allies who have developed interest in the ongoing animosity since the end results could leave them with unimaginable repercussions. Most of the business community’s concentration is on tourism and mining sector, which are all the biggest contributors to the country’s GDP.
While the feud has been described as a party affair or a two man show, it has now escalated to the international level. Khama is reportedly enjoying support from South Africa. “He has backing that side (South Africa), that is why he was even accorded protocol earlier this year by their government despite Botswana government having made it clear even to Botswana embassy there not to avail protocol to him but the SA government went against that,” highlighted a source this week. This development relates to Khama’s trip to India which was not sanctioned by the government and consequently directing other governments not to give him protocol.
Asked about election monies on Thursday morning at his office, Khama said: “I went to South Africa last week and as to what I was doing there is very personal, therefore I cannot disclose what I do with my friends with any third party.” Khama was last week confirmed to have travelled to South Africa where he is alleged to have met his associates including President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Motsepe family.
Not only are the South Africans offering financial support, it is also indicated that the Western countries are rallying behind Khama, with their interest solely on the two sectors (Mining and tourism). It is said Khama just like the Europeans is irked by a looming global dominance by China which threatens Western control on African countries. “He met with them when he visited Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and made arrangements as to how they can assist one of their own,” clarified a source on Wednesday this week.
From the P100 million which was received last week, it is said, at a meeting held on Wednesday night this week, it was decided that the chunk of it should focus on the intended purpose. It is then that a unanimous decision was reached that P70 million be solely for elections campaign to those preferred by the former President Khama.
The contestants that have received blessings are across political divide with the main intention being to break Masisi’s votes. “The plan is to assist at least 20 parliamentary hopefuls. From his own BDP Khama is expected to work with close to ten members (names known to this publication) who he believes are not hostile to him. As it stands he has another seven independent candidates who are vying for parliamentary seats and will also give them moral and financial support to win their seats (most of them were either suspended or expelled from the BDP).
With the total number of Khama’s members reaching 17, Khama will next weekend reveal plans of how he is going to work with the main opposition UDC. Already informants say four members from the party have been anointed by Khama with the number expected to rise as the dynamics change. He will also endorse candidates representing Alliance for Progressive’s (AP) with Brigadier Kgokgothwane licking lips to get endorsement from the former President.
“They want to kill the magic number of 29 then it means there won’t be an outright winner after the elections. And from there it is possible to negotiate governance with whoever is there but of course not the BDP, not with Masisi as the president, possibly we could gravitate towards the UDC or any opposition party that would have done well in the polls,” shared a highly placed informant.
The expectation from Khama’s inner circle is, if he can succeed with his 17 candidates then UDC pushes more of its contestants then the BDP will be gone. “So for this to happen there should be investments that is why this money is important. I understand more of the funds are still sourced this shows that it is very serious,” added a source.
The plan at the end of the day is to form a coalition which if prosper will be the first of its kind in Botswana. Political observers say chances of this being a success are very high. “It is very much possible to succeed. Look Boko is a narcissist and if he is diluted by others it very easy to restrain his excess and that is how this could work wonders. Chances are Khama will not be a member of the UDC; he will come with his resources to show them his contributions.
He is a man who likes to be praised and if he joins the UDC it will be unclear as to whether he is a member or super member so he will chose to come with his informal movement for better bargaining,” says an observer who did not want to be named. Khama will on the 25th of this month reveal plans to form a ‘Democracy Movement’ that will endorse selected candidates in a bid to wrestle power from the current administrators.
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.