Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Members of Parliament have asked party President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and his Vice President also party chairman, Slumber Tsogwane to desist from favoritism as it will fuel the ongoing raging inferno of divisions within the party, WeekendPost has been told.
In a no blows barred party meeting to close the year this week, backbenchers took the war to Tsogwane and gave him an ultimatum to stop favoritism lest divisions balloon into something severe. One thing they made clear is that should “apparent bias” continue, they will form their own faction which will prioritise their needs.
The meeting according to sources was characterized by complaints from party members. Tsogwane is said to have given the MPs audience “as he wants a better shaped party next year and the members did not disappoint”. An issue which dominated from the floor was alleged nepotism by Masisi and Tsogwane, sources say. The members say the two (Masisi and Tsogwane) are travelling around doing star rallies at their allies’ constituencies while leaving out other members. “Divide and rule will exacerbate the already visible divisions,” Tsogwane was told this week.
For now the party has staged five star rallies in constituencies other members say are pro Masisi. “There has been these kind of rallies in Chobe, Maun East, Ngami, Okavango, Tonota and other constituencies while others are ignored despite making calls for the same arrangement. So MPs believe that the leadership is prioritizing their cronies while sidelining others,” shared an informant within the party. It is said the decision to stage those rallies was taken looking at the contributions made at party meetings and parliamentary sessions.
Konstantinos Markous (Maun East), Bagalatia Arone (Okavango), Machana Shamukuni (Chobe) are believed to be close to the current regime and also ‘yes sir men’. Thato Kwerepe (Ngami) is also hinted to be a ‘yes sir man’ who is also handled with kids’ glove. He is said to have requested the same rally in an effort to erase Jacob Nkate from the scene. “He is afraid Nkate can still come back and having rallies with the leadership is the only way to legitimize him to electorates,” added another source.
The angry MPs argue that this arrangement is the breeding space for factions like ‘imagined New Jerusalem’ as they feel abandoned. “It should be clear we belong together, if not, we can also stage our parallel rallies because this is not right. We should be left to have our faction that will be clear with its mandate and it should not be deemed as indiscipline,” added another source on Wednesday.
The disgruntled legislators are already mobilizing to have a patron that could be in a position to launch them since only new ministers are getting that privilege. As of now, the name of former president Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama has been on the lips of many but others do not agree. “Of course he can be, but others want someone like Kedikilwe (Ponatshego) but then he lacks charisma possessed by Khama so it is yet to be decided. Mind you it can only be concluded if the status quo continues.”
MASISI REBUFFS BDP RETREAT
Calls for a retreat are said to have been dealt a blow after President Masisi decided that those with issues should rather see him individually. Tsogwane was tasked with finding a date that will be accommodative to all MPs and the President who has a very busy schedule. The retreat was expected to be held early next year to tackle burning issues with primary elections set to dominate proceedings. But as things stand the President will only meet MPs individually. “A number of members including Vincent Seretse and Biggie Butale are irate as to how the whole primary elections were conducted and it has been agreed that this should be dealt with at a retreat with all the sub-committees present,” revealed a source.
LOTTY, NCHI DIVIDE BDP
It has also cropped at the party gathering that the MPs are at pains with new members getting priority over the long serving members. It is said Lotty Manyapedza and Kentse Nchi Rammidi have been travelling around with the leadership addressing rallies and briefing regions about the party status with Masisi. “What do they know about BDP? They have just defected from the opposition. They should take a back bench,” one MP told this publication.
This, MPs say, is strategic positioning by the new members to be given some posts after elections next year. “We know they want to be rewarded at the end of the day especially when it comes to nominations or specially elected positions,” another MP briefly said. Party Chairman Tsogwane however is said to have pleaded with the democrats to accommodate new members. “We should show them that they are welcome in the party and it should not be interpreted otherwise. Let us be united and be welcoming to whoever joins the party,” he asked the MPs who were taking none of it, according to insiders.
Already there are reports that Rammidi may contest for the position of party secretary general, something which irks some BDP insiders. Next year is a busy schedule for the ruling party as there are a number of activities on the calendar – with the party congress and general elections are the highlights.
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.