President Mokgweetsi Masisi is reported to be ‘seriously’ considering the idea to cajole Botsalo Ntuane to be the next Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General as the party readies for next year’s elective congress.
Ntuane is the immediate former secretary general, who lost to Mpho Balopi at last year congress in Tonota. The idea comes as some party loyalists continue to caution Masisi about the current Secretary Mpho Balopi. Sources say, Balopi misinform his principals especially president on a number of issues including the suspension and expulsion of some party members. It is said all these are done in bad faith as he wants to remain the only one close to Masisi and wield power.
The suspension of BDP’s Mogoditshane constituency candidate Tshepang Mabaila, biased primary elections hearing and other reforms including cancellation of the BDP Youth Wing Congress are hinted as typically example of Balopi’s ill-informed influences. Already it is said a contingent has met with Masisi and sold him Ntuane’s name. The basis of the concerned group is Ntuane can be the unifying factor for the party which its divisions are reaching crescendo.
“By the time he left the post he did nothing wrong and even in the past congress he was preaching unity. He despised factions and for that, we should make him our SG,” one of the concerned group mates revealed. Before suggesting Ntuane who is reported to be reluctant to take the post, the party members came up with Samson Moyo Guma to be considered. It was immediately thrown out of the window because of trust issues. “It seems they are not eating from the same plate and His Excellency was at pains accepting the name until Ntuane’s was presented,” said an informant on Thursday morning.
Though it is not clear as to why Masisi could not accept Moyo who is one of the opinion leaders in the party, a source says, the conflict emanates from the latter’s silent decision to break ranks with Masisi’s camp after being left out of cabinet in April this year. Masisi himself is said to have seriously considered the advice to have Ntuane as his right hand man especially that the party is headed to the crossroads. “It is not like he committed to the advice but it is quite clear that he somehow blessed the idea subject to negotiations with his peers,” added a source.
Information shared to this publication depicts Ntuane as an undecided man who can take the offer but also reluctant under the current circumstances. It is said, Ntuane who headed the Secretariat office under ex-president Ian Khama wants to be formally approached with convincing reasons why he should come back to that position.
“Again trust issues come into play, remember the last congresses Ntuane decided to contest for the same position a sena lekgamu. He preached unity and how would the same people who opposed him want him, strange isn’t it? But to be honest he is open to negotiations but one thing he wants is trust and honesty, he doesn’t want betrayal,” another source told this paper. Balopi is said to be under immense pressure from the democrats with some of his supporters in last year’s congresses sweet-talking Jacob Nkate for the same.
This is a sign that Balopi could be an unwanted man at the Tsholetsa House. Another candidate is Guma Moyo who is said to be contesting from a parallel faction. All these now leave Ntuane as the strong candidate-should he agree to take the seat.
I AM ON SBATTICAL LEAVE- NTUANE
Ntuane has however indicated to this publication that he is not aware of the proposal to have him back as party secretary general, indicating that following his loss at last year’s congress, he has decided to keep low profile and not seek re-election anytime soon. “I have never been approached, formally or informally and I am not even aware of the talk of having me back,” Ntuane said Thursday night. “I am not interested and I have no intention of contesting for any central committee position at next year’s congress. I am on sabbatical leave.”
MASISI WARNS AGAINST SELF INFLICTED PAINS
At last weekend’s Women Wing meeting President Masisi is said to have bluntly told democrats to desist from tearing the party down, saying all the current divisions and unrest is because of the members who claim to love the party. A particular reference he made according to those who attended the meeting held in Mogoditshane, the president lamented more about members dragging the party to the courts of law. It is said Masisi was emotional such that he even threatened to resign if the party diehards decide to create instability.
The case in which his legitimacy as the party president has been challenged more than once irk him the most; first it was predecessor Khama and this week Lobatse primary elections losing candidate Kabal Jacobs challenged Masisi’s presidency before withdrawing the matter. Coming back united next year is one of the resolutions Masisi is praying for. This will ensure the party enters the much anticipated 2019 elections as united force ready to win the election and correct a less than 50 percent popular vote.
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.