President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has finally found a relief from the threatening motion of no confidence against him after he approved the increment of Members of Parliament (MPs), a gesture which left them all in smiles this week.
In a week full of startling revelations, MPs across political divide unanimously agreed to increase their own salaries by 15 percent, a development which has attracted mixed feelings from the public. For the first time, a rare occasion parliament witnessed the essence of collaboration amongst MPs as they debated and threw points as to why they need to have their salaries hiked.
Masisi had proposed a total of 15 percent adjustment for legislators (4 percent salary hike) while 11 percent was a result of de-linking legislators from the public service. The constituency allowance is also proposed to be increased at 50 percent, while former legislators will get 20 percent of living allowance. Despite disapproval from some sections of the public, MPs threw aside their partisanship to join hands in defending their decision. With an emphatic victory in Kang, and 15 percent salary increment for MPs and other benefits, Masisi knew he had won the day.
The same week, President Masisi flew abroad for a two day trip for the first time since 16 January 2019. Masisi had been weary of travelling abroad after being warned that, about 12 MPs from the ruling party were planning to collude with opposition MPs to pass a motion of no confidence against in parliament. Owing to the threat that President Masisi faced from hostile MPs from rival faction, Ministry of International Cooperation cancelled planned abroad trips.
The first attempt to remove Masisi from power was made in July 2018, when Leader of the Opposition Duma Boko, supposedly working with the disgruntled ruling party MPs, moved on urgency, a motion seeking to pass no confidence against government of the day. The motion however did not garner enough support as majority of the BDP MPs voted against the motion, while Alliance for Progressives (AP) MPs abstained from voting the motion.
While Masisi had survived the motion, reports indicated that as polarity within the party in the run up to Kang Congress intensified, rivals were planning to bring back the motion, through opposition benches as it was the case in the first motion. The plan even forced Masisi to regularly attend parliament in the run up to Kang Congress, with observed indicating that the plan was to intimidate BDP rival MPs, therefore disrupting their best laid plans.
This publication earlier reported that the 12 MPs allegedly to be aligned to then party presidential candidate, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi had planned to resign from the BDP in order to collapse Masisi’s government. According to insiders, the rebellious MPs had planned to execute their plan when Masisi was away on international trips. The plan became futile after Masisi cancelled international trips, with majority of them developing cold feet.
With Masisi having secured his candidacy as BDP president in Kang last weekend, observers indicate that there is huge possibility of having a snap election, a development which will be the first of its kind since independence. The constitution of Botswana empowers a sitting to dissolve parliament at any time. According to section 90 (3); whenever parliament is dissolved, a general election of the elected members of the assembly shall be held within 60 days of the date of the dissolution and a session of parliament shall be appointed to commence within 30 days of the date of that general elections.
IEC is scheduled to complete its final registration on the 28th of April 2019, a date which may allow Masisi to dissolve parliament subsequent to conclusion of the process. Reports indicate that Masisi is yearning to get a fresh mandate from the general populace owing to instability which has threatened his transitional term. However, Masisi victory in Kang have seen new development, with some MPs reportedly expressing their desire to close ranks with him.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.