Former Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) President Kagiso Ntime has revealed reasons that have led to him dumping the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in favour of his old political home.
Ntime, in an unexpected turn of events in 2012, resigned from BNF, during the mass exodus occasioned by disagreement relating to BNF’s involvement in opposition cooperation talks, as well as President Duma Boko’s leadership style. In his parting shots in 2012, Ntime ruled out the possibility of opposition winning power because of lack of seriousness on their part. Ntime said BDP was a credible organisation, also stating that as member of the ruling party he had a better chance of influencing change as compared to when he is in the opposition. Although he was welcomed amid fanfare, soon after he was relegated to the periphery and later glided into political obscurity.
Farmed and nurtured in the BNF’s leftist ideology, Ntime found the going tough in the conservative BDP which has little tolerance for vocal activists of Ntime’s nature. In an exclusive interview with this publication, Ntime revealed that going back to the BNF was a decision he had carefully thought about. He stated that when he joined the ruling party, he thought he would be able to speak openly on issues that concern the country at large but was rather put into a corner and his voice was never heard for six years.
He said even being elected a councillor, was not enough to help him to openly share his views. “I felt I was bottled up, the ruling party did not give me the opportunity to fully utilise my capacity as far as speaking for the people is concern,” Ntime said. Ntime told WeekendPost that he comes from a background of radical, evolutional and militant politics because they are politics focused on the betterment of the lives of the people. He further said he was unable to achieve all these radical transformation agenda which seemed to be scaring some in the BDP.
“I don’t practice yes-men politics, I realised the culture of where I was coming from and where I was were two different political cultures,” he explained. Ntime explained that he tried to stay and adapt to BDP’s organizational culture and failed. He said despite several attempts to stay, he failed dismally and realised it was time to go back to his roots. Ntime candidly said that he felt he needed space and the BNF was the only place he could be offered an opportunity to speak ‘on behalf of the people.’
He however, pointed out that he could form a party if he would but described it as tedious and expensive hence retracing back to his previous political home. “I know going back was a wise decision to make, the BNF uses social, democratic program which I feel fully subscribes to me and will get me back on my feet again,” Ntime clarified. Ntime said when he left the BNF he was against the way the party leader [Boko] wanted to run things and felt the model would never work. He said what he had anticipated six years ago is what is happening today.
“Six years ago, what is happening today is what I had anticipated. Today the BNF & BCP are working together, that is what I had wanted. I wanted BMD subjected to test first. So as long as BNF and BCP are together, I am happy,” he pointed out. Prior to his resignation from the BNF in 2012, Ntime had made it clear he was uncomfortable with Boko’s leadership style, when asked how they were going to work together, Ntime said the differences between him and the party president have been resolved.
“There were contentions, but those were not personal but ideological. That is why at some point when I felt it was personal, we went to the courts, but we also settled out of the courts. Boko and I are brothers, at some point he even asked when I was coming back to the BNF,” Ntime said. Ntime dismissed the allegations that he left the BDP because he had wanted to topple Gaborone City Council mayor, Calvin Thutlwe.
“People wanted me to stand for mayor, I refused, I wanted him to account first, I even tabled a motion to have the council cleansed. The mayor needs to account, I am not after his position,” he clarified. Ntime said he went back without any promises given to him. He further pointed out that he would not be surprised if the party insists that he stands for the elections amid rumours that he has been promised the Molepolole South constituency. “The fact of the matter is I am back, what happens next will happen,” he said.
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.