Botswana Defence Force has explained why former President and former Commander Lt. Gen Ian Khama was not invited to the commemoration of the Fallen Heroes held at the Three Chiefs Monument earlier this week.
In an enquiry by WeekendPost the Director of Protocol and Public Affairs, Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Colonel Tebo Dikole confirmed that they were aware that the Former President was not invited. He established that attendance of BDF events by Former Commanders are strictly by invitation. Dikole explained that Khama’s designation as ‘Former President’ precedes that of Former Commander hence the reason he did not receive an invitation by the BDF despite having invited all Former Commanders to the ceremony.
“Yes, Former Commanders were invited to the Fallen Heroes Commemoration albeit Former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama was not invited as his designation “Former President” precedes that of a Former Commander,” Dikole said. Dikole said it is worth noting that since the inception of the Fallen Heroes Commemoration in 2011 it is worth noting that since the inception of the Fallen Heroes Commemoration in 2011 when it was dubbed Lesoma Commemoration to date, no Former Presidents have been invited to attend the ceremony.
Precedent has been set where the invite is extended to the current President and his Vice President as was the case on the 27th February 2019. He however indicated that in the past they have had serving Presidents attending with their Vice Presidents (Former President Lt Gen Dr SKI Khama and the late Former Vice President Lt Gen MS Merafhe, Former President Lt Gen Dr SKI Khama and Former Vice President Dr PHK Kedikilwe, Former President Lt Gen Dr SKI Khama and Former Vice President MEK Masisi), and in 2019 His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi and His Honor the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane were in attendance as it has been the norm.
Khama’s snubbing has polarised the public with some questioning why former president was not invited yet he was the Commander of BDF at some point and that most Fallen Heroes died under his tenure. Khama served as BDF commander from 1989 until his retirement in 1998 to take up a role in politics.
Dikole explained that it is not the discretion of the BDF to control who lays a wreath or pays tribute to its heroes and heroines who are laid to rest in various towns and villages of this country including extension 14 cemetery therefore what Khama did was not erroneous. “Please note that the 14 members who are laid to rest at Extension 14 cemetery perished in 1978 during Former Vice President Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe's tenure as the Commander of the BDF while at the time Former President Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama was his Deputy.”
After receiving the invitation Khama, accompanied by Botswana Democratic (BDP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Nata-Gweta constituency, Polson Majaga, laid a wreath at the Extension 14 cemetery in Gaborone. Masisi had already laid a wreath at the Three Chiefs Monument earlier that day. Speaking to this publication Khama seemed to be surprised as to why he did not receive an invitation from the BDF, stressing that as former commander he had expected to be invited.
“I was not invited, I do not understand why I was not invited because as Former Commander of the BDF it is within my right,” Khama said. Khama, however said not being invited could not stop him from commemorating the “Fallen Heroes” as this is what he usually does every year. “I am doing this because not being invited should not stop me from commemorating the Fallen Heroes. It is what I do yearly and will continue doing,” he concluded.
This event which was known then as Lesoma Commemoration Day was first commemorated in 2011 at the Extension 14 cemetery where the remains of the fifteen (15) deceased members of the BDF lie entombed. After careful introspection it was changed to Fallen Heroes so as to include other members of the BDF who passed on in the line of duty.
While in Gaborone this commemoration takes place here at the Three (3) Dikgosi monument, other commemorations are also being observed today at Thebephatswa Air Base, Francistown Donga Camp, Lesoma Village and Eastern Military Garrison in Selibe Phikwe to recognize the fallen heroes in different parts of this country.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.