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BDP MPs prepare to fight in court

An unknown but sizeable number of the 27 Member of Parliament (MPs) who appealed the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) primary elections results are threatening acting outside the party’s confinement by seeking redress in court should the party leadership insist on ruling against re-runs, Weekendpost has been told. 

The party Central Committee is reportedly entertaining the idea of ruling against granting re-runs as it might hamper party’s preparations for the 2019 general elections. “There is a very high likelihood of not holding re-runs no matter the merits of an individual case. Should we, it would affect the whole 2019 campaign and as you know; whoever loses become a party enemy,” a source shared with this publication. 

“So if re-runs are staged they will add salt to the already healed wounds and might even create new enemies which could seriously affect the party. So appellants will be called by the party president and give them therapy that the party is bigger than an individual and therefore they should work towards promoting BDP.”  While deliberating on this matter, the party leadership was careful not to let the smoke off the lead yet on this prospect. However, some democrats have already got wind of the news and are mobilising to block that decision or seek assistance from the courts.

BDP Appeals Board according to the party Secretary General Mpho Balopi will finish with the protests next Monday with the final report expected on the 17th of this month. Leading the pack for legal redress possibilities are the ministers who lost in the primary elections, another source said this week. At least ten ministers lost in the Bulela Ditswe and are still banking on the re-run possibilities to salvage their political ambitions. 

MP for Phikwe East and minister of presidential affairs, governance and public administration Nonofo Molefhi, Sadique Kebonang, Tshenolo Mabeo, MP for Bobirwa and minister of Defence, justice and security Shaw Kgathi. Others who fell by the wayside include Mmadinare MP and minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Kefentse Mzwinila, Kgalagadi North MP Itumeleng Moipisi who is also Assistant Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, and assistant minister of Agriculture and Food Security who double as Kgalagadi South MP France Van der Westhuizen.

It is also highlighted that not only ministers are contemplating such but rather other candidates. “In Serowe South candidates who lost are also harbouring that decision because they feel somehow the hearing could have been somehow biased as they have a compelling case,” added an informant on Wednesday. The constituency saw Councillor Lesedi Phuthego winning against favourites Tebelelo Seretse and Puma Matlhware. The party article 12 (h) indicates that, “Any decision on an appeal by the central committee shall be final and binding.” 

The party’s executive officer Lesedi Dintwe has also reiterated that, “Whoever goes to court can go but they will be acting outside the confinement of the party because the party has set up independent structures that should deal with these kinds of issues.” “But it should be understood that all the laws and regulations are under those of the country therefore one may go to court, though it is clear within ours that we have relevant structures to deal with any matter,” said Kweneng regional chairperson Motlhophi Leo.

The main reason why the losers are entertaining the idea to challenge the party leadership emanates from a belief that the party seems not to be recognising other structures. “A number of appeals could have not reached the high office because regional structures have already determined their fates and recommended the way forward,” one of the appellant said. The argument from those that lost is the appeals committee should only deliberate only on complex issues which gave regional structures a torrid time. 

“Most of those appeals [Parliamentary], regions had recommended the way forward and there was no use for them to be forwarded to appeals committee,” added a source who could not remember on top of the head the number of appeals decided by regions. Among those that the regions recommended for re-runs includes the two Phikwe constituencies, Tati West, Kgalagadi North. Those close to the developments accuse Balopi for taking the decision to take all the matters to the appeals board which they say was unnecessary as it is said it has since stalled progress as files piled up before the committee.

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Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

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.

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FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

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.

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Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

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.

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