Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has accused the leadership of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) of having an agenda against his protégé Tshephang Mabaila, who has been suspended from the party for five years, effectively barring him from contesting the Mogoditshane constituency under the ruling party.
Mabaila, who had won the party primaries for Mogoditshane constituency early this year, was suspended from the party in July, after being accused of having participated in a motion of no confidence tabled in parliament against President Masisi. Khama told this publication that the reasons advanced by the BDP in Mabaila’s case are baseless, blaming the party for failing to resolve the matter amicably. “I hear they are doing that because they believe he is my friend but that is not how democracy works. Their decisions shows that they have an agenda,” said Khama.
Last week the BDP resolved to uphold their judgement in a case where Mabaila, a parliamentary aspirant appealed his five year suspension from the party. On 5th October 2018, the BDP National Executive Committee slapped Mabaila with suspension for committing offences against the rules and regulations and General Code of Conduct of the party. In a move perceived as purging candidates supposedly linked with Khama by Masisi leadership, Mabaila found himself at the receiving end.
In a letter dated August 7th 2018, Masisi wrote that reference is made to the above subject matter and “your utterances to Hon Dr Alfred Madigele and Sethomo Lelatisitswe on 10th July 2018 and letters addressed to the secretary general from the branch secretary dated 3rd December 2017 and 2nd August 2018”.The BDP President wrote that, it is alleged that Mabaila who is Mogoditshane constituency candidate has committed offences against the rules and regulations and General Code of Conduct of the ruling party.
The letter further said some of the offences listed include behaving in a grossly disorderly and unruly manner that might bring the party name into disrepute contrary to General Code of Conduct number 11 and sowing seeds of discord in the party, using regionalism, tribalism or factionalism contrary to General Code of Conduct number 6. Another offence Mabaila faced was contemptuous behaviour towards BDP leadership and other members contrary to General Code of Conduct number 7.
“As a party member you were obliged to abide by the constitution, rules and regulations of the party, and expected to promote the philosophy, policies and programmes as stated particularly in Article 14 sub- section 1 and 2 thereof. After the suspension Tshepang Mabaila wrote to the party President Masisi appealing his suspension from the party. In a letter dated 22nd November 2018, Masisi wrote to Mabaila that reference is made to your appeal against the decision of the National Disciplinary Committee handed down to you on the 5th October 2018.
“The Final Disciplinary Committee sat on the 22nd November 2018 to consider your appeal. After careful consideration of all the facts that were put before the committee, the committee has decided to uphold the judgement and sentence as handed out by the National Disciplinary Committee in its entirety”, reads the letter. After losing his appeal Mabaila has this week made it official that he will contest Mogoditshane as an independent candidate come 2019. Mabaila is busy working with his BDP campaign team in Mogoditshane to lobby more people to vote for Mabaila.
As it stands, the BDP has no candidate in Mogoditshane and elections are next year placing Mabaila as a threat to whoever is going to be picked. “I am a diehard BDP member, if I win and they invite me back to the party I will accept the invitation”, said Mabaila. In Mabaila’s suspension letter Masisi said he is determined that this is one of the exceptional circumstances in which he should exercise the powers conferred upon him as party president as contemplated by Article 34.1.6 of the BDP constitution and consequently suspend Mabaila with immediate effect as a member of the party.
“For the entire period of your suspension, you shall cease to enjoy your rights and privileges as a member of the party as outlined in Article 13 of the BDP constitution. Finally you are directed to handover to the party all property and assets belonging it the party in your possession with immediate effect.”
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.