Boko speaks on BMD court case, Pilane, AP
Despite the anticipated outcome of the ongoing court case between the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), the UDC has maintained this week that they will be contesting the impending 2019 General Elections -without the besieged BMD in its fold.
Subsequent to the expulsion of the BMD putting it in the cold, UDC remains with the affiliates Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). “What should be clear at this point is that we are not going to 2019 General Elections with the BMD. Especially with the beleaguered leader Pilane,” Advocate Duma Gideon Boko told Weekend Post in an interview this week. According to UDC President the BMD in the matter essentially plead with court to mediate and rule to bring the embattled party back into the UDC.
“I know that some people are confused about the court matter. Let me set the record straight. The case is simply saying nothing other than that the party (BMD) appeals to court to intervene in the UDC decision to expel them and want to be brought back to the UDC fold,” Boko stated. However come rain or sunshine Boko stressed to this publication that they are not admitting them back and that there is no how the BMD can use the UDC symbol – in case they dare do so – in the next elections.
It’s a non-starter and/or impossible, Boko said while stressing that the court case does not in any way link or relate to the UDC symbol and therefore that it (UDC symbol) will not be touched. The Gaborone Bonnington North law maker also explained that the case is like a woman going to court to divorce her husband because she no longer loves him as he has turned into a rebel and then the husband rejects or contends the divorce citing he still loves the wife and want to be with her.
In such a case like that of divorce Advocate Boko said even if the court can mediate for argument sake and say the couple should go back home and continue their loving affair and staying together they might end up killing each other as there is no longer love between the duo like it is a case with UDC and BMD’s Pilane.
“So this is the case with BMD and the UDC. BMD’s Pilane, we don’t hate him but we cannot work with him at all. We are clear on this. We don’t need rebels in the UDC. We are heading into the 2019 General Elections and we don’t want characters such as that of Pilane. They don’t have an ear for leadership,” he said. The UDC leader added that if the court can rule that the UDC re-admit the BMD but the UDC still does not want the BMD, there is no how the court can force or impose the BMD on UDC.
“The court can’t force us to work with BMD when we don’t want,” the Havard School of Law graduate maintained adding that “if the court rules that we cajole the BMD back, we will respect the court decision and do that but we will then later call a special congress to re-call the BMD again because we do not want it at all in its form and shape.” According to the BNF President, the problem with BMD is that it has spoiled, tainted and soiled the opposition politics with its ego and stubbornness.
Boko said part of Pilane’s misdeed was simply going against the laid processes and procedures of the UDC. “He was also going against the leadership consensus of the UDC and that is not allowed. There can never be too many spokespersons of the party. So if you always breaching all these we release you from the party,” he justified. Among others, Boko also accused Pilane of stating on separate media platforms that another UDC affiliate BCP is not part of the UDC although having been admitted subsequent to 2014 General Elections.
The decision was taken by the UDC leadership which Pilane was also part of although he went against it, Boko pointed out while adding that “so what is that? We need people who are tolerant people in leadership.” Boko, who is an Advocate continued to point out that the BMD’s contention that they were expelled un-procedurally and want to be brought back will however not see the light of the day as UDC are decided on them.
“We do not want the BMD/Pilane and we do not seek to work or associate with it anyhow. Not because of what others have said about him (Pilane) but of what we have witnessed and experienced of him. We spoke with him about it, we spoke with his organisation of his behaviour which became their behaviour as well, as they could not distance themselves from it.” Boko, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament justified that people don’t want the BMD under the leadership of Pilane and they have made that clear and that has to be respected and Batswana understands this thing.
On that the UDC has always been warned of Pilane by Alliance of Progressives (AP) he said “we didn’t want to pre-judge. We brought him to the UDC so that if he is human enough he should build himself and become trusted again. We gave him the platform to show case particularly as he was labelled buttered beyond redemption – but he failed.”
He said the UDC couldn’t take action on him back then or bar him into entering the UDC as they wanted to see if he cannot change into a man of repute. He observed that, because he is stubborn he continued to do so and that the people labelled him as he failed to redeem himself and that’s why he do not want him as well. Boko: AP’s pre-conditions outrageous: no talks with AP now
On the AP, Boko stated that there are currently no talks because the AP is demanding too much on their pre-conditions. “Well with AP, there are no talks. At least at this point. At things stand now we are going alone without AP in the next elections,” the UDC leader highlighted.
Boko highlighted that they wrote to the AP suggesting that they should come to talk and they replied them with some demands and preconditions that they want before the two parties could start the negotiations.
“They have put pre-conditions to us saying we should finish with the case currently before court. We have not finished the case. We have no control whatsoever over the timeline of the court case. So if you put that as a precondition then it becomes impossible as that precondition cannot be met, we haven’t met it and we don’t know when we may. But in the meantime the clock is ticking and it this just becomes difficult,” the UDC leader said.
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Mascom, Letshego partner to deliver the MyZaka instant loan
Letshego Botswana has recently partnered with Mascom to launch the Mascom MyZaka Instant Loan, a customer focused mobile money microloan service designed to provide customers with swift and convenient access to funds, driven by the underlying theme of “Ithuse” meaning “help yourself”
The loan is said to have been developed through a partnership driven by a deep customer focus with the key objectives of access, convenience and flexible financial support to customers of Letshego Botswana and Mascom through instantly disbursed short-term loans from P50 to P1 500 over the period of one month.
Letshego’s head of transformation, Molebogeng Malomo highlighted that working through agile methodologies, the partnership was able to develop and be released as what they call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or solution. “In keeping up with the spirit of design thinking and agile methodologies, the experiences and viewpoints of both Letshego Botswana and Mascom’s customers will be valuable to inform further enhancements to the Mascom MyZaka solution,” he said.
He further noted that the partnership and the development of the MyZaka instant loan will provide both the organizations to diversify their offering and customer base, while also offering the customer more choices and flexibility to initiate and be in control of their loan requests through the self-service mobile based application.
Mascom’s Chief Executive Officer, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni also alluded that their origins, priorities and initiatives are firmly rooted in Botswana and in the success of all Batswana, and that their strategy and intent is supported by embracing innovative problem-solving.
“The speed with which Letshego has grown over the years gives us confidence that we have partnered with the right service provider. Their expertise and most of all, innovation, a value we both share, will be beneficial to MyZaka Mobile Money for growth and for the convenience of our subscribers,” she concluded.
DCEC granted warrant to arrest Khama twins
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has been granted permission to apprehend the former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, and his twin brother Anthony Khama.
Information gathered by this publication suggests that the DCEC is actively searching for the Khama brothers, this is in connection with events that transpired whilst Tshekedi was Minister of Environment. The duo is currently in exile in South Africa together with their elder brother, and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Approximately two weeks ago, the corruption-busting agency discreetly filed for an arrest warrant that was approved by the Broadhurst Magistrate Court for the two to be taken into custody, according to a highly placed source within the government enclave.
DCEC is also said to have filed an affidavit signed by a high-ranking officer known to this publication. Reports indicate that after being presented with details of the case, the Broadhurst magistrate issued the agency an arrest warrant.
It is also believed that the agency has been conducting extensive investigations into the supposed suspects for quite some time. Furthermore, Weekend Post has it on good word that the DCEC has been looking for methods to summon the two for questioning but has been unsuccessful.
According to unconfirmed reports, DCEC met with attorney Victor Ramalepa, who refused to accept the summons, saying that he is not their attorney. Furthermore, it is believed that DCEC has enlisted the assistance of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) in flagging the suspects’ names in the International Criminal Police Organisation INTERPOL.
Responding to WeekendPost enquiries, DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said, “I am not in good position to confirm or deny the allegation,” adding that such allegations may fall within the operational purview of the DCEC.
When contacted for comment, Ramalepa briefly stated that he is unaware of the purported arrest warrant. “I know nothing about the warrant and I haven’t been served with anything,” he said.
Meanwhile, former president Lt Gen Ian Khama recently issued a statement stating that DIS is intensifying the harassment and intimidation of him, family, friends and office employees.
“It is reprehensible for state officials and agencies to abuse government resources to terrorise their own citizens for personal gain,” said the former president in a statement.
He also stated that his brother TK’s staff and security were ordered to falsely implicate him. “Their desperate tactics will never work, it only serves to motivate me more to pursue regime change and free Botswana from tyranny,” he said
This comes after the corruption busting agency wants to interview the alleged suspects as they are still hiding in South Africa since last year.
Despite the hostility between government and Khama family going unabated, last month, Masisi extended an olive branch to Khama in political rally, indicating that he hopes the two of them settle their differences, of which the former responded by welcoming the gesture.
Khama further said his brother, Tshekedi, will facilitate the reconciliation of his behalf. Many have indicated that Masisi did not say what he said in good faith, and was only scoring political brownies since he was in Khama’s territory in Shoshong.
DCEC’s Tshepo Pilane still has his mojo
Tshepo Pilane silenced his critics after being named the head of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in May of last year and served his opponents humble pie. Many believed he would only last for a month, but almost a year later, he is still standing.
Pilane, a trained soldier whose appointment surprised both the general public and some officers within the DCEC walls, has never glanced back in his duty to steer the DCEC ship forward.
It is alleged that immediately after his appointment the man embarked on a nation-wide trip touring the DCEC offices across the country in order to confirm and reaffirm the DCEC’s mandate. Sources from inside the DCEC claim that Pilane won the hearts of many DCEC employees due to his humility and plain message; “people at the top of the DCEC will come and go but the mandate of the DCEC remains relevant and unchanged.”
Pilane was appointed the Acting DCEC Director General at a time when the organisation was undergoing turbulence through court proceedings in which the suspended Director General Tymon Katlholo had interdicted the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing the DCEC premises. At the time, the DIS had raided the DCEC offices in the absence of Katlholo claiming to be looking for high profile corruption cases allegedly held by Katlholo.
At the time Pilane was Head of the DCEC Intelligence Division holding the position of Senior Assistant Director General reporting directly to the Deputy Director General Operations Ms Priscilla Israel. Contrary to his detractors, Pilane who is a reserved and humble person by nature won the support and backing of many DCEC officers due to his unassuming nature.
In a recent questionnaire sent to the DCEC regarding Pilane’s term in office, the DCEC was resolute on its commitment towards the fight against corruption. When quizzed on allegations of rife corruption since he took over, Pilane through his Public Relations (PR) office stated that the corruption landscape in Botswana remains unchanged as the DCEC continues to receive reports on allegations of corruption with sectors such as procurement (tenders and supplies), Transport (licensing and certificates), and land (dubious allocation and collusion) still leading issues reported. This trend has been consistence in the DCEC database for more than 10 years.
When further quizzed on accusations that suggest that due to the infighting at the agency, particularly at the top management, Investigations of cases has dropped significantly the DCEC claimed ignorance to the matter, stating that they are not aware of any “infights” at the DCEC “at the top management”, further stating that, investigations of cases has increased significantly, contrary to the allegations raised. “The DCEC is currently seeking new ways of expediting the investigations in order to fast track its enforcement role,” said the DCEC Head of Public Relations Lentswe Motshoganetsi. He further stated that the DCEC is in pursuit of high profile cases involving money and assets valued over P900 million. Three companies are involved in the scandal and two cases have already been committed to court while on one, investigations are about to be completed.
When WeekendPost inquired about Pilane’s roadmap, the DCEC stated that in the past, anti-corruption interventions were reactive, particularly in dealing with national projects that involve large sums of money. It was further started that in most instances investigating such matters takes a long time and in most instances, the money looted form Government in never recovered. As a result, the DCEC has taken a deliberate stance to attach its officers from the Corruption Prevention Division to be part of the implementation of these projects before, during, and after implementation.
The DCEC cited the Economic Stimulus Programme which, although meant to grow the economy and uplift Batswana from poverty, yielded incidents of corruption and poor workmanship. To date, the DCEC is still grappling with cases as some projects were not done, or were completed with defects beyond repair. Currently the DCEC is involved at the Ministry of Education conducting project risk management in the Multiple Path Ways Program at Moeng College and Maun Senior School. This intervention will spread to other sectors of the economy as part of the DCEC’s corruption prevention strategy.
Of recent, the DCEC has been in the media for all the wrong reasons following leakage of high profile cases and allegations claiming that the executive management is at war with each other more particularly with some within the agency harbouring ambitions to dethrone Pilane from the Directorship.
Although the infighting was denied by Pilane’s Office, he acknowledged that leakage of information is a problem across Government and stated that it is a pain at the DCEC. He however stated that Staff has been cautioned against leakage of investigation information and that they have roped in the Botswana Police to assist in investigating incidents of leakage. He further stated that they have increased continuous vetting and lifestyle audits for DCEC employees in order to enforce discipline.
Pilane’s term comes to an end in May 2023 after serving the DCEC for a year on acting basis. It will be in the public interest to see who will be given the baton to continue the anti-corruption journey if Pilane’s contract is not renewed. The DCEC has seen arrival and departure of Director Generals having alternated the top seat five times in less than seven years.