Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi has warned against aggrieved party members against dragging the party to courts of law. He described the actions as wayward behaviour and said it should stop in the best interest of the party.
Balopi said this at the backdrop of swelling number of party members running to the courts for remedy when they feel aggrieved by decisions made by the party. Recently, Kamal Jacobs went to seek relief at court following his controversial defeat by Thapelo Matsheka in the Lobatse constituency parliamentary primary election which he insisted was marred by irregularities and therefore outcome unacceptable.
In his court case Jacobs is challenging the legitimacy of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in appointing any party structure including that which falls under the Central Committee, especially the appeals’ committee. His contention is that in terms of the BDP constitution, Masisi is not yet BDP president but that former president Lt. Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama still is, as there was no vacancy created.
In another case Member of Parliament for Tati West has also taken the BDP to court on the bases that there were also irregularities in the primary elections which he lost and therefore requested for a re-run but was turned down. Another BDP activist who took the party to court was none other than the son of the founding father of the party, Sir Seretse Khama, Serowe North West legislator, Tshekedi Khama who challenged the inclusion of Moemedi Dijeng as a contender in the primary elections arguing that he campaigned before the party ordered so therefore flouting the party rules and regulations.
In light of the mounting cases pitting members against their party, the BDP Secretary General told Weekend Post this week that the trend is disturbing and putting the party in bad light; adding that the matter is spiralling out of hand hence members maybe forced to tore the line. “The trend is not going to help the party or those that have conflicts with the party. The solution is not putting the party at risk. This is not good for the party. First members should be concerned about the party, how they will hurt it, before they can consider themselves,” Balopi fumed to such party colleagues in an interview with this publication.
He stressed that “it might be a trend that some party members enjoy but it will stop at some point.” According to Balopi, once you bring parties that are fighting in a court matter and bring those issues with third parties (court) you automatically bring the party into disrepute. Balopi’s main concern is that, as a member you don’t give up on the institution without having explored all internal processes you have to go through in the institution which he said the members failed to do in that regard. “You know we have conflict resolution processes in the party but they failed to utilise them,” he emphasised.
He however acknowledged that of course every Motswana has a right to ask for a remedy at court within the confinements of law. But if you belong to an institution like the BDP which has values, rules and processes, then a member has to fully comply with such, he added. He gave an example about a recent prominent case when the party was taken to court to challenge the legitimacy of Masisi as president which he said was ill advised.
“People should always remind and familiarise themselves about party constitution, rules and regulations, before embarrassing themselves,” the BDP SG pointed out. He continued: “there is one thing that I always say, if somehow one wants to challenge the constitution saying President Masisi is not a legitimate BDP leader to appoint a BDP committee – then it is done in bad faith.”
According to Balopi, in terms of the constitution, when the BDP is in power, the Vice President automatically becomes president of Botswana. The BDP constitution further says VP takes over as president of the party, he said. Balopi emphasised that although Jacobs was free to go court route but he failed to engage the party on the matter. “That one is malicious,” Balopi told Weekend Post point blank.
Balopi further explained that “my argument is that there is a way to sought interpretation from the party without going to court to avoid putting party into disrepute. Like I always say, BDP is bigger than all of us.” He said however that the party will not be in a hurry to take action against the individuals who have been dragging the party to court because as a party they “should understand the motives of those members first. We shouldn’t hurry to take action. We won’t act impulsively from the media or other people.”
On whether Tshekedi has not set a bad precedence by being a key figure to take the party to court and action not taken against him like in the same manner in which it was exerted on the late Gomolemo Motswaledi who took the then president Khama to court, but was punished, Balopi could not be drawn into the discussion. “I am not privy to such information. I don’t understand it. So I would not want to respond to it,” he said.
Information reaching this publication suggests that the failure by the party to discipline Tshekedi Khama after he dragged the party which was founded by his father, to court has given some party members a nerve to do likewise going forward with the intention to see if double standards will be applied to party none entities, unknown faithfuls and novices.
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.