Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness and Tati West legislator Biggie Butale has made claims that there is a plot being orchestrated by the intelligence organ to assassinate political opponents of President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
As the battle for the soul of BDP intensifies in the run-up to Kang Congress in two weeks’ time— Masisi is determined to consolidate his power, but he being criticised for playing dirty. The junior minister in his cabinet, Butale allege that the political opponents of Masisi in the party presidential race, live in fear of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) because of apparent assassination plots on their part.
The ever outspoken Butale, who has made it clear that he is not in favour of Masisi’s leadership, said his government vehicle had tyre bursts six times but under the same circumstances. He said on all the occasions they found a shiny spiral screw on the tyre that looks like it was strategically pinned to flatten the tyre while the car is on high speed and turn it over. In a more recent incident Butale said he was driving from home passing Palapye when two police officers directed a stray bull to the middle of the road and hit it but left with no injuries.
He said the case is before his lawyers and action will be taken appropriately. Butale is seen as a threat to Masisi’s favourite Simon Mavange should he contest as an independent candidate in Tati West. Sources indicate that the team opposing Masisi believes he is using state apparatus to fight his political battles and consolidate his power. The claim has been validated by secretary general aspirant and leading campaigner for Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Samson Guma who fled the country claiming that his life is in danger.
The BDP politician who has a lot of business acumen and interests in different industries across the country is a wanted man by the BURS. Following their recent raids on top government officials, the Masisi government is praised for fighting corruption following on individuals who are evading tax.
PLANNED RAID ON KHAMA PUT ON HALT?
Sources indicate that there is a planned operation by members of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) in conjunction with Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) to raid former President Lt Gen Ian Khama, his associates; Samson Guma, Biggie Butale, Kamal Jacobs, Foster Seretse and three other unnamed persons. The operation which was to be executed last week was reportedly halted by Guma’s radio interview with local radio station Duma FM where he spoke at length about his ally, Venson Moitoi who is running for the party presidential elections with President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The controversial Guma who is seen by many as the party’s strategist was rampant and praised Venson-Moitoi’s campaign in a heated and emotional interview in the station’s morning show. The video clip from the interview went viral on social media. It is believed that Guma who is feared by many within the party for his robust campaign strategies in order to win elections is a big threat to President Masisi’s party presidency. He is currently Venson Moitoi’s chief campaigner and analysts say where Guma is involved anything can happen.
With his interview making waves it is reported that the raid team then halted their best laid plans fearing that the raid might be linked with his radio interview and look dirty in the public eye. Sources within the DIS reportedly tipped one of the victims who then called Khama to warn him about the planned raid. Khama who has stated that he has nothing to hide at some point during his interview with WeekendPost, said he was eagerly waiting for them but the raid never materialised.
Khama was heavily criticized for addressing the international media on the state of democracy in Botswana and ridiculing the current administration during his controversial trip to India where he met Tibetan leader Dalai Lama about a week ago. Last month during Colonel Isaac Kgosi’s controversial arrest and raid on a number of his properties Khama maintained that he is indeed clean and if they (BURS, DIS) want to raid him they are welcome but said he is not sure how he will react if at all they harass him.
He maintained that if due process is not followed he will approach the courts of law. Another individual in the matter Kamal Jacobs lost to Thapelo Matsheka in the BDP primary elections in Lobatse and had his complaint turned down. Jacobs would later take president Masisi to court challenging his legitimacy as party president but he lost the case with costs.Jacobs who has the intentions of vying the constituency as an independent candidate is viewed as a threat to the party’s choice Thapelo Matsheka.
Allegations have been very rife in Lobatse that Jacobs was ousted by the party Secretary General Mpho Balopi to make way for Matsheka but Jacobs has a very large following in the area. Foster Seretse, an ally and family to former President is one of the 30 councillors who were served with disciplinary letters for attending the elders meeting in Serowe.
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.
BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.¬† BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.
The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.
Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC‚Äôs commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that ‚Äúthe annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown‚ÄĚ. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that ‚Äúthe donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC‚Äôs commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries‚ÄĚ.
He further stated that through this marathon, ‚Äúwe demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society‚ÄĚ. ¬†He concluded by stating that ‚ÄúBTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large‚ÄĚ he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that ‚Äúhe is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon‚ÄĚ. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the ‚ÄúCSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities‚ÄĚ, he said.
The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.
Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.
According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.
The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.
Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.
Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.
Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.
In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.
FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.
FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.
One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.
The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.
Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.
In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.
FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.
The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.