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Boko links Masisi to NPF corruption

The Leader of Opposition (LOO) Advocate Duma Boko has said it is about time President Mokgweetsi Masisi accounts for corruption milking this country’s economy. When responding to the Masisi’s inaugural State of Nation Address (SONA), Boko stated that the country is still swindled with corruption that need to be accounted for.

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president said the current president took office when the country was mired in corruption and cruel waste of public resources arguing that the National Petroleum Fund saga is still fresh in people’s minds therefore needs to be addressed. “The state was swindled no less than 240 million pula. So far only three pawns in a grand scheme are facing prosecution,” Boko explains. 

The leader of opposition argued that the President has become a recurrent decimal in the NPF saga. He boldly pointed that Masisi should account and face up to answers Batswana long to hear when it comes to corruption. He suggested that the solution to these is a comprehensive and thorough forensic audit of the NPF with all procedures and processes related to its management and operation.

“We reject any process that would place the President in any position of control over such audit,” he said. Boko referred to the Morupule B project and how it gobbled up in excess of P 10 billion of public resources with no results to show and yet no one has been held accountable. “In excess of P300 million was thrown down the drain in Palapye’s ill-fated glass project,” Boko said. Adding on to the Morupule B project failure, Boko said that the BDP and all its Members of Parliament (MPs) have the blood of innocent citizens on their hands.

“We know that more than 10 miners committed suicide as a result of the closure of BCL. About 20 000 BCL related jobs were lost in Selibe Phikwe and thousands more people in the rest of the SPEDU region have been thrown into poverty,” he emphasised. Boko worried that the President found space in his SONA for micro projects in other areas but could not find space to openly and publicly apologize to and empathise with the people of Selibe Phikwe over the government’s termination of the mainstay of their economy.

“Government have a duty to defend jobs. Your government failed the people of Selibe Phikwe and its environs. BCL needed U$ 2 million (about P21 million) to stay afloat until the market normalised, but the government shut it down. The human cost of the decision is yet to be determined,” he pointed out. 

Government closed BCL against the advice of management and experts outside the company, without any rigorous cost-benefit analysis. Boko says at the time of closure the price of copper was US$ 2/lb., below BCL’s projected trading price. Commodities were needed to rebound and BCL needed US$ 2 million to stay afloat. Boko directly took shots at the Masisi for not being serious about fighting corruption.

“Over at the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund, millions of worker’s pension investments have been plundered and wasted, with the President’s chief aide frequently linked to impropriety in this saga. Yet in his SONA the President speaks passively about anti-corruption. He says oversight institutions continue to enforce the rule of law. Which rule of law? ” Boko adds. Clarifying on the issue of corruption the opposition leader said corruption in the country is pervasive and institutionalised referring it to a prominent feature of the state of the nation. 

“We would like to see your government getting tough on corruption and that involves investigating all the BDP big wigs who have ever been awarded a tender by government as well as all those who have been served and continue to serve in the boards of State-owned enterprises,” he said. Boko said the country is facing a serious human development crisis and a gravely imperilled future, noting that the country is sitting on a powder keg of pervasive poverty, debilitating unemployment, deepening inequality and increasing despair.

“Nearly one in five Batswana subsist below the official poverty line. An almost equal proportion of citizens who want to work and are able to work (17.7 percent) are without a job,” Boko added. Furthermore, he condemned the rejection by the Parliament, supposedly at the instigation of Masisi, of the decent/living wage of P3000 tabled by Shaun Nthaile early this year. 

“We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to a decent /living wage of P3000. We call upon this government to commit to this decent/living wage and the pursuit of a high wage economy. It is an ethical and economic imperative for work to provide sufficient income for working people to meet essential costs of living,” Boko pleaded. In conclusion the leader of the opposition pleaded with the public to register in large numbers to vote. He said it is essential that they practice their democratic right. “To the people of this country I say please register to vote in large numbers, so you can participate in the opportunity of a lifetime,” Boko concluded.

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State forged Kgosi’s arrest warrant

22nd July 2021
FORMER DIS BOSS: ISAAC KGOSI

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.

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UDC parties discuss by-elections

22nd July 2021
UDC

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.

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DIS infiltrates Police fingerprint system

22nd July 2021
Makgope

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.

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