Two senior ministers recently impressed upon President Mokgweetsi Masisi in a private meeting, persuading him to suspend former president Lt Gen Ian Khama from his chieftaincy, WeekendPost has established.
Information gathered by this publication reveals that the two cabinet ministers, who also served under Khama’s administration; Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Unity Dow want Khama to stop going around the country addressing Kgotla meetings. There are reports that is former president is allowed to go on the loose, he will harm the ruling party’s electoral prospects given the influence he still possess countrywide.
Khama broke ranks with the ruling party few months after leaving office, with some believing that he is determined to outcome of 2019 general elections in key constituencies. In a recent interview with WeekendPost the former president said a Kgotla is open to everyone including but not limited to government officials, landboards, politicians and Dikgosi (in which he fall) to address meetings.
But when he left office on the 1st April this year, Khama made it very clear that he will be not be going to take the role of a Kgosi but will rather work closely with Dikgosi in Serowe and consult as in when the need arises. After stepping down and leaving public office as State President Ian Khama continued his work from Office of the former President continuing mostly with his charity work. He entrusted the longtime serving Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane to continue as Bangwato regent.
According to one of the local newspapers in 1973, Kgosi Seepapitso IV was suspended for one year because he was purported to have on several occasions behaved in a manner deemed unbecoming for a Kgosi and was perceived as a poor performer in the execution of his chieftaincy functions. The Chieftainship Act of 1966 conned the Chiefs to the authority of the state as well as adumbrating their functions in the tribe.
Of particular significance was the authority which is vested in the President to recognize the designation of the Chief by the tribe and to suspend and dispose him following a judicial commission of enquiry. Subsequent legislation substantially consolidated the power of the President and the responsible Cabinet Minister. In spite attempts by successive governments to emasculate it, the institution of Bogosi has stayed vibrant and is still revered highly today by the people and it is here to stay.
Kgosikgolo Kgafela II was de-recognised by Lebonaamang Mokalake, Minister of Local Government on 28th October 2011 as provided for in the Bogosi Act of 2008. Kgafela was being de-recognised for having (a) frustrated Government efforts to consult and communicate with Kgatleng community on developmental issues that affect the community; (b) abused his powers by ordering Dikgosana in Kgatleng to ignore and frustrate Ministers’ efforts in their bid to hold meetings in Kgatleng District; and (c) incited Dikgosana to be insubordinate and refuse to carry- out lawful orders from Ministers.
It is worth noting that Bangwato’s chieftaincy has been under the hands of regiments since 1925. According to Bogosi Act of 2008 article 7, appointment of Motshwarelela Bogosi (1) is arranged where a person designated as Kgosi under section 6 is for any reason unable to assume Bogosi, or where a person recognized as a Kgosi is unable to take up the functions of that office, it shall be the duty of the tribe or the person so recognized as Kgosi, as the case may be, to designate another member (in this Act referred to as "Motshwarelela Bogosi") of the tribe according to customary law, or the established norm and practice of such tribe.
(2) Subject to the provisions of section 9, the Minister shall, by notice published in the Gazette, appoint the person designated in terms of subsection (1) to be Motshwarelela Bogosi. (3) A person appointed as Motshwarelela Bogosi of a tribe shall exercise and perform to the exclusion of all other persons, the functions of the Kgosi.
Withdrawal of recognition from Kgosi, as stipulated in the Act, the Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, at any time, withdraw recognition from a Kgosi if- (a) the Kgosi has been deposed and his or her appeal against the deposition has been dismissed or the period allowed for appealing has elapsed without an appeal having been brought; or (b) the Minister considers it to be in the public interest to withdraw recognition.
Both Ministers are said to be taking revenge on the former President Ian Khama. Unity Dow who lost elections in Kgatleng West was later brought in by President Khama and appointed Minister of Education. It is reported that Dow and Khama fell out at some point after the latter labeled the former incompetent as Ministry of Education was further sinking into woes. Bobonong Member of Parliament Kgathi who is also the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security is also not on good terms with his former boss.
Kgathi lost BDP primary elections to Francisco Kgoboko but got a lifeline as this week party politburo ordered a re- run. At the launch of Francisco Kgoboko Trust a few months back leading to the primary elections in Mabolwe, in Bobirwa Khama narrated how Kgathi tried to force him to cancel his acceptance to officiate at the event which was well attended. Former President who spoke at length against Kgathi, said he was shocked to hear the minister ordering him to cancel his participation at the launch.
He went on to label Kgathi power hungry and disrespectful to him as Bangwato Kgosikgolo. According to Khama Kgathi was also blocking Dikgosi from attending the launch. He went on to say a constituency is not a personal property as it is open to contest, words that did not sit well with Kgathi. While contacted for comment Kgathi said he has no idea about the said meeting and directed this reporter to Dr Dow before hanging up.
For his part the former President Ian Khama told WeekendPost that he overheard the developments but will not dwell much on them because they are baseless. He described Kgathi as someone bitter after the Mabolwe incident where Khama officiated. “Those people are bitter “, said former president Ian Khama. Continued efforts to get a comment from government spokesperson John Dipowe proved futile since his phone rang unanswered the whole week.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.