Former President, Lt Gen Ian Khama has continued to express his resentment towards the current President of United States (US), Donald Trump for his style of leadership and his incessant revulsion for African countries. Khama recently clashed with government following his remarks on Trump recently at Serowe Kgotla.
A statement released by Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation said, Khama’s words maybe misconstrued to represent the position of the government of Botswana. Khama has however refused to be apologetic about his stand on Trump, a position he has held about the US president since 2016 when the latter run for office. Khama openly supported Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
“This government shutdown affecting about 800 000 workers, it’s all due to the fact that he wants to build the wall between United States and Mexico to keep people out and that the ruling by the division that he is doing,” Khama told WeekendPost. “ I would have thought that its clear to everybody at that time [when he stated criticizing him] even before that time and since that time, Donald trump has continued to display the arrogant behaviour towards other people and United States is far the worst place that it has ever been because of that and its dragging the world into a bad place because of his behaviour.”
Khama said, naturally, US, as a should be speaking against countries such as China, which he feels oppresses its citizens based on religions, alleging that Christian and Muslim leaders are being persecuted based on believes. “This is whereby you expected the United States like it was, all its different political administration over the years, and one thing that they have constant, whether Democratic or Republicans, to have actually taken a leadership position on this kind of issues and Trump has just totally abandoned those principles and he just goes around insulting everybody,” said Khama.
“Just look at the number of people leaving in his administration, the very senior people because, even if they may be the same party-political credentials but they have just realized that here they are dealing with a loose cannon, unguided missile in way of his approach in day-to-day events.” Khama said owing to the behaviour of Trump he is disappointed that government went ahead to defend him in recent government statement.
“I just think it’s not something that we cannot ignore and people needs to speak out and to defend him, the way it was done recently through that press release, I just think it’s extremely disappointing that we are now slimily abandoning the democratic credentials that we have built up many year since our independences,” he said. Khama said during his presidency, he deliberately ensured that Botswana’s position is well known on issues concerning human rights violations.
“Back then when I was still in office, we took a strong stand when it came to Mugabe in neighbouring Zimbabwe. We took a similar decision about Syria, which has the leader there, the government have continued to seriously brutalise their people, murder their people with the assistance of allies like Russia,” he said. “We have seen that during that time there was an effort to bring about resolution that would end war in Syria, but it was blocked by countries like Russia and China. That is not surprising because they are countries with very poor human rights credentials.”
Khama said his administration also we criticised countries like North Korea, Saudi Arabia and countries like Venezuela. He contended that Botswana as a member of international community must take a stand and avoid keeping quiet, because if she keeps quiet those kinds of situations perpetuate themselves.
“I have met with the heads of states, foreign ministers and the diplomats who will come and tell the press how much they admire Botswana position concerning our stand on this kind of issues and they were encouraging us, to make even specifically, many African diplomats when they came to present the credential, they will say Botswana is just a shining light for African continent and we will really like to follow that example and be like you guys,” he said.
“So you could see that it makes a difference people listen even if it may not make an immediate impact, if it may not change people mind there and there but at least you have planted the seed in the minds of what is it the right thing to do, the right approach to take concerning those issues.”
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.