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BDP man wants his P200 million Cut

As the million Pula deals start to vanish from the Khama associated clique, those coming into the picture are already tussling in the courts over deals gone sour.

Stoic and fearless Monametsi Kalayamotho has dragged a giant Chinese company, Huawei Technologies Botswana and the Botswana Police Service and another local information technology company to court over failure to honour an agreement related to the P200 million valued Safer City Solutions project.Kalayamotho’s Moon Stone Capital is demanding close to P11 million (USD 1, 046, 640.00) as at the date of judgement from Huawei technologies and Dynamix Ltd, jointly and severally one paying the other to be adsolved, as damages for loss of profits suffered as a result of the two’s repudiation of the Agreements entered into.

The then Ministry of Transport and Communications had issued Expression of Interest (EOI) for the provision of Safer City Solution. Kalayamotho’s Moon Stone and Huwaei Technologies agreed to jointly respond to the Expression of Interest, the Huawei technologies being the lead partner, while Moon Stone was the main citizen owned subcontractor and Huawei International Pty Ltd being the plaintiff’s non-citizen subcontractor, with a view to further jointly respond to the tender and to jointly execute it in the event their Expression of Interest was successful and in the event that their tender offer will be successful (the first agreement).

Kalayamotho represented Moon Stone in his capacity as Director and Chief executive Officer, while Huawei Technologies was represented by Abel Dengfeng as its Managing Director, this was in December 2014. “The first agreement was oral, alternatively tacit and further alternatively contained implied terms.”  In this Agreement, Huawei Technologies was to be awarded the tender and was to subcontract 30% of the work to Moon Stone.

To demonstrate the breach of the First Agreement and Alternatively the Second Agreement, Kalayamotho and Moon Stone allege that Huawei Technologies, subsequent to the award of the tender, had substantively allocated the work originally allocated to the Moon Stone in terms of the “Responsibility matrix to Dynamix thereby precluding Moon Stone from executing the tender as agreed and receiving the remuneration for the work which was carried out by the Moon Stone.”

Kalayamotho further states that by Dynamix by colluding with Huawei Technologies Botswana to exclude Moon Stone from execution of the tender, this demonstrates conduct which evinces an intention to repudiate the Agreement therefore he is seeking damages. Moon Stone is also demanding interest amounts at the rate of 10% per annum calculated from the date of full and final payment.

The provision of Safer City Solution tender, which Huawei Technologies Botswana through Kalayamotho’s company Moonstone won, is valued at approximately P200 million and had been put on hold since 2015 until early this year when President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi took over as the President of Botswana.  

About 200 companies had applied for the tender and later shortlisted to 50. The companies were then cut to five local companies, partnering with international companies being Moonstone, Noroc, Defence Concepts, Botswana Telecommunications and Seleka Springs which is owned by Khama brothers, Tshekedi and Antony.

At one point Kalayamotho was one of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s trusted allies. As a renowned tenderpreneur Kalayamotho is one of those who help finance Camp Dubai in 2017 which pushed the election of Masisi as a party chairman.  The controversial tender award has also attracted strong opposition from the United States Embassy owing to the involvement of Chinese Multinational, Huawei Technologies

Contacted for comment Monametsi Kalayamotho confirmed to WeekendPost that indeed he entered into a consortium with Huawei and another local company ICT Dynamix. He said the idea to bring on board ICT is because there was a requirement for IST, and they were awarded the tender together with Huawei as the main bidder and others as sub-contractors.

THE SAFER CITY PROJECT

The Commissioner of Police Mr Keabetswe Makgophe and the Managing Director of Huawei Botswana Mr Ren Fujun commissioned the project by signing a two year contract ON January 2018.

Speaking after the contract signing ceremony then, Commissioner Makgope said the project was necessary for the police’s delivery of effective policing to Batswana through the use of advanced and world-class means like surveillance cameras.



The police boss added that through the project Batswana will realize crime free streets and improved security in general. Commissioner Makgope noted that as Botswana develops and advances economically and becomes part of the global world it also becomes vulnerable to high profile criminals and organized criminal undertakings therefore the Police as the custodians of every day security and safety must also up their standards of policing in order to keep the city safer.



Botswana Government took a deliberate decision to turn Gaborone into world-class premier city of investment and international trade and package it as a Diamond City following the relocation of De Beers Global sight holders centre to the Botswana. Makgophe also revealed that the safer city project will after implementation in Gaborone later proceed to Francistown in the 2018/19 financial year.

Both Gaborone and Francistown, being the country’s premier cities house two special economic zones being the diamond &investment enclave around the Sir Seretse Khama Airport area and also the Northern Transport & Logistic hub respectively.

“These are multi Million pula projects and they intended to keep Gaborone and Francistown cities much safer and secure by virtue of being the major centres of development and economic drivers for the country,” said Makgope.

“We intend to roll out the project to other parts of the country in future if it proves to be sustainable and effective as well as if funds permit,” he added. The managing Director of Huawei Botswana, Mr Ren Fujun underscored that his company was more than delighted to be part of a national project that intends to keep Botswana safer and contribute to economic growth by ensuring security of investment & trade undertakings.



He said Huawei Botswana would deliver a world-class network, “We will honour the agreement and make sure the project is completed on time,” he said. International Police Science Association (IPSA) and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) announced in their World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI) that Botswana Police is Africa’s best and the world‘s  47th. The index ranked the Rwandan police as Africa’s second best (with global position of 50th) followed by Algeria (58th), Senegal (68th) and Tunisia (72nd) in that order. Completing the top 10 for Africa were, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Ghana, South Africa and Mali respectively.

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Botswana gets P2.750 billion loan from World Bank

14th June 2021
Peggy Serame

Botswana’s efforts to accelerate key economic reforms got a boost following the approval of a $250 million loan by the World Bank today. The Programmatic Economic Resilience and Green Recovery Development Policy Loan (DPL) will support the implementation of Botswana’s Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan and is designed to strengthen COVID-19 pandemic relief while bolstering resilience to future shocks.

This DPL is also designed to support reforms to strengthen private sector development and promote green recovery. It is the first-ever World Bank budget support operation for Botswana and the first of two planned operations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a great burden on the country’s economy, its people, and firms. With this operation, the World Bank will support the government’s reforms to ensure social spending reaches the poorest and assists Batswana who are most affected by the Covid-19,” says World Bank Country Director for Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly.

“This operation will also support reforms to attract private sector investments, contribute to diversification of exports, and increase job opportunities towards a green economy”. The operation provides both financial and technical support for government reforms to implement a Single Social Registry and to improve targeting of social spending on the most vulnerable while strengthening systems for future shocks.

It will also help strengthen the business environment for increased SME-led job creation and economic diversification through improved access to finance for individuals and small and micro enterprises (SMEs). Furthermore, the program will help Botswana to build the foundations for sustainable, “green” growth by supporting reforms to increase production of renewable energy by independent power producers, promoting and regulating rooftop solar energy generation, and embedding climate change considerations in environmental assessments.

DPLs are used by the World Bank to support a country’s policy and institutional reform agenda to help accelerate inclusive growth and poverty reduction. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a real gross domestic product (GDP) contraction of 7.9 percent in Botswana in 2020 – the largest in the country’s history.

This has also led to a depletion of existing fiscal buffers and has constrained revenue collection, reduced Government’s capacity and resources needed to accelerate the implementation of structural reforms and threatened to reverse progress in poverty reduction.

World Bank Group COVID-19 Response Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has committed over $125 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history.

The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery. The Bank is also providing $12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.

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UB employees protest against Vice Chancellor

11th June 2021
Professor Norris

University of Botswana Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, has lost support of the university staff, with four unions joining forces to demand his removal from office.  

When he was appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana in December 2017, by the then Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Alfred Madigele, Professor Norris was hailed as an angel sent from heaven.

Professor Norris succeeded Professor Thabo Fako, after the latter led the University during turbulent times — with the university experiencing financial challenges and dwindling enrolment numbers.

Four years down the line, Professor Norris’ presence at the University nauseates many. Academic staff together with manual workers want Norris shown the door as soon as yesterday.

University of Botswana Academic Senior Support Staff Union, (UBASSSU), University of Botswana Staff Union (UBSU) and University of Botswana Manual Workers Union, in a petition submitted to Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Douglas Letsholathebe, called for the dismissal of Norris. The unions said that under the leadership of the Professor, UB staff members suffered immeasurable pain, agony and frustration, and their welfare is entirely overlooked.

The unions petition Professor Norris on a number of issues: blurred roadmap, inflationary adjustments of salaries, security services, corporate governance, teaching and learning resources, deteriorating infrastructure, staff victimization as well as appointment of staff undemocratically.

In their entreaty, staff members say that Vice Chancellor has failed to provide a clear roadmap to guide a wide range of operations within the University. Prior to Norris’ arrival, they say, UB had developed a strategy using its own scholars, led by Prof Thapisa and Prof Moahi respectively.

“They executed the assignment efficiently with intricate insider knowledge of the institution and a global academic outlook. The result of the process was later subjected to external review by consultants, even though the process was later abandoned at huge cost to the University. The Vice Chancellor is three years into this post, but he has done nothing to show, and always blames staff or his predecessors for the problems at UB,” the unions said in their petition.

The petition signed by UBASSSU President, Motsomi Marobela, acting on behalf of Manual Workers Union President, Oneile Mpulubusi and Ghadzani Mhotsha (Staff Union President), argue that Norris relishes grand standing and cheap rhetoric to project a positive image of the University to outsiders while the institution faces monumental challenges.

“Even the so-called new strategy was imposed on the staff, since unions were never consulted. Staff in faculties were threatened and bullied into submission whenever they revealed flaws in the strategy. In short, this strategy lacks the critical ‘buy in’ from those charged with implementation, something which is crucial for any new strategy to succeed.”

Professor Norris, a renowned scholar, has been fingered in being reluctant to advance staff salaries, something which has been done four years ago. Unions claim that despite several shots to alter this status quo, efforts proved vain.

“The Vice Chancellor has dismally failed to bring about any meaningful action to ascertain that staff remunerations are adjusted to mitigate the effects of inflation, despite his attention being drawn to the erosion of the buying power of University staff. UB staff salaries have not been adjusted for a duration of four years, despite numerous attempts by the trade unions (UBASSSU, UBSU and Manual Workers Union) to appeal on behalf of the constituents for his intervention,” reads part of the petition.

University management are said to be relaxed when it comes to the security of the organization, petitioners claim. They stress that this has happened several times in recent years whereby management has allowed private security contracts, which augment the in-house UB security, to lapse before they can float a new tender.

The loan schemes that the University gets into on behalf of employees, is said to be another dare giving staff workers grief, perpetuated by Vice Chancellor Norris.

“It has happened several times that the contract between the financiers and the University lapses before anything is put in place for employees to continue getting financial assistance. Quite recently, it was communicated by a memo from Staff Welfare and Benefits Office that the loan scheme with FNB is coming to an end on the 30th April 2021 and this communication was made on the 29th, just a day before the end of such contract. This again shows lack of proactiveness on the part of management which is led by the VC,” said the petition.

The Vice Chancellor is said to be overreaching in UB administrative structures. Professor Norris, who chairs the Staff Appointment and Promotion Committee (SAPC), hosts illegal Pre-SAPC meetings, which are usually attended by Human Resources and Executive Management, and make decisions on who to appoint, promote or whose contract to renew before the substantive meeting of SAPC.

The Vice Chancellor, disgruntled petitioners say, uses SAPC to rubber stamp the executive decision – this amounts to corruption. “Three years in the institution he has virtually run the university alone. The core and critical Deputy Vice Chancellor posts of Academic Affairs; Finance and Administration; and Student Affairs, have not been filled. Instead he has appointed people on acting positions and he is shuffling them around as he pleases. Those he prefers have been acting for over two years, which is contrary to the Employment Act.”

Professor Norris is a researcher and lecturer, having served in different capacities in Botswana, the United States of America and South Africa.

Prior to joining UB, he was Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST), a position he held since 2016. He is the sixth Vice Chancellor of UB.

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Gov’t slashes P16 million from YDF budget

11th June 2021
YDF

Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has announced the return of the Youth Development Fund (YDF), after it was put on suspension by Government last year.

The fund however, has been slashed from P120 million to P104 million with the total number of projects expected to shrink. The YDF programme was temporarily suspended last year due to shortage of funds.

The programme introduced in 2009 by government, was a way of improving the lives of the youth as well as helping to fight unemployment.

When addressing the media, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare said the ministry has resolved to start receiving applications for 2021/2022 Youth Development Fund from 09 June 2021 to 10 August 2021.

Rakgare said government was worried about the high numbers of unemployment hence the resolve to restart the YDF programme even in the midst of the pandemic.

He however revealed that due to budget challenges and the continued restrictive environment imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, there would be some modifications to the implementation of YDF.

“Due to budget challenges the allocation for the fund in the current financial year has been reduced from P120 million to P104 million. Constituencies will thus be allocated less than the usual P2 million, which means that the number of funded projects will be significantly reduced,” he said.

He further said priority for funding shall be for businesses with the potential to create a higher number of jobs and those that address key government priorities.

The sectors to be prioritized include; Manufacturing, Agriculture, Tourism, Technology, Digitization and Innovation. Moreover, the threshold for YDF financing remains at P100 000.00 for individuals and P450 000.00 for youth industries or co-operatives.

In addition to funding youth projects, the Minister said P14, 393,066.77 will be reserved for completion and implementation of Special Projects such as development of Land-banks, mentorship partnerships and trainings.

All changes to the YDF programme are to apply only for this year while a comprehensive review is undertaken. The target is to have the revised programme implemented in the next financial year.

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