After the Women’s and Youth Wings of her own party distanced themselves from her candidacy, Dr. (Mrs.) Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has received support from far places, this week the African Youth Union Commission (AYUC) wrote to congratulate her on the Presidential bid and further encouraged her to continue bringing diversity to the democratic space like she did in her bid for the African Union Commission chairmanship.
The former Minister has expressed interest to challenge incumbent BDP leader, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi for the position of party president, a move that forced the President to drop her from cabinet. She has also been labelled a stooge sent by former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama to topple Masisi. Former President Khama has declared that he supports Venson-Moitoi’s bid for Presidency and said democracy should be allowed to take course.
In a letter addressed to Venson-Moitoi, the African Youth Union Commission (AYUC) notes, “We are hugely elated to have you here Madam, our very distinguished *Matron* extraordinaire of the African Youth Union Commission (AYUC).” “We cannot thank you enough for the moral support you have provided us, all reinforced in your interest in the young people of Africa; to be truly empowered and celebrated in their various fields of capacities. While as a Minister in the Present Cabinet in Botswana, we were satisfied by your commitment towards uplifting women and youth, particularly in your deliberate and conscious programmes that seek to address social and economic inequalities of Women and Youth in Botswana,” reads the letter penned by Dr Carl Oshodi, the chairperson of the AYUC .
Oshodi tells Venson-Moitoi that: “… as a Candidate for the AUC Chairperson in 2017, we also saw first-hand your Leadership and passion to take AFRICA to greater height through repositioning people oriented and pro-Africa reforms. This was adopted by President Paul Kagame as Chairperson of the African Union, a legacy and ideology you initiated. You are indeed a *Jinx* breaker and we at AYUC are proud to associate with you.”
Furthermore, Oshodi says as a Presidential nominee in the next Presidential bid in Botswana, they pray for the good people of Botswana to be passionate enough to see through pedestrian politics, into the passion Venson-Moitoi has for an economically viable Botswana, premised on the people as a critical components for democracy, good governance, economic sustainability and freedom.
LOCALLY SHE WILL NEED ALL THE HELP
But those close to Venson-Moitoi locally indicate that she will need all the help she can get. They note that she has worked for difficult and different people for a long time. “Her view is that she can no longer watch in the hope that things will improve. So much talk, promise and commitment in vain… action and good old fashioned hard work is what we all need to see. I know she is the best for this role. I believe many do too.
She has always stepped aside for the greater good of the party. It’s an open secret that she disproved of Masisi as Vice President, and former President Khama had to convince her and Cabinet. Too many times she has been over looked. As she should have been Vice President then. But the fear of the tribalism argument overcame sense,” said a close associate of Venson-Moitoi.
Venson-Moitoi is of the view that Botswana has suffered the most for this. She says Botswaba needs leaders with proven track records aligned to the youth and young leaders of tomorrow. According to Venson-Moitoi Botswana needs a leader who is already respected in Africa and does not need to waste energy finding friends. “We need a leader in Botswana who is not known to shy away from work, taking on big issues or tackling governance short falls head on… The BDP must have more leaders like this within its ranks.”
However some are of the view that the BDP struggles to attract and worse still to retain leaders. This is because any differing voice is met with anger and victimization. “So many issues are settled in court outside of the Party’s own systems… have we lost so much faith in our structures and processes?… this party is sick… however what is positive is that it is not Dead! It can recover under the leadership of a sensible and experienced leader… Mma Vee will be amazing as President given the chance,” said a supporter of Venson’Moitoi’s bid who preferred anonymity. Her supporters posit that if she is not successful in her bid she will certainly have shaken the cage. “Hopefully enough so that this BDP can introspect and reflect. It has to be better. Botswana needs it to be.”
THE AU COMMISSION BID
Venson-Moitoi, then Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Botswana bid for the African Union Commission chairmanship in 2017 on the grounds that she has the expertise, qualifications and experience in both private and public sectors to serve as the next AUC Chairperson. Dr. Venson-Moitoi said she decided to seek election as the AUC chairperson so as to serve the continent. She said, "Africa cannot expect to be developed by anyone else but by her own people. This is not likely to happen if we do not offer ourselves for tasks that we may feel and know we have the capability to do."
Her campaign team covered every region on the continent, canvassing for votes. Her team comprised of Botswana's former President Festus Mogae and other legislators who have been making some diplomatic offensive to ask other States to vote for her. At the time Venson-Moitoi said, "My 40-year track record provides SADC and Africa with someone who has both private and public sector experience to deliver on Agenda 2063. I have the proven experience and nuanced insight to be able to make a most meaningful contribution and bring to the AU and its member states all that is required within this role."
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.