The bad blood between President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi and his predecessor Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama has reached new levels, with the latter now claiming that he is still the president or leader of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
The basis for Khama claim to BDP Presidency is that he says he has never resigned from the position of party president. He states that he only vacated the Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Botswana. Weekend Post gathers that Khama intends to attend and chair the next BDP central committee meeting.
Khama is said to have asked party secretary general, Mpho Balopi to seek legal advice on his tenure as BDP president before he vacates State House on 1st April 2018, but Balopi did not undertake the task. In fact he was dismissive of Khama’s suggestion. Effectively, Khama has shared that President Dr Masisi is not a member of the central committee because he resigned his chairmanship and handed to his Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. According to some insiders, Khama has already consulted his lawyers on the matter and he intends to stake his claim to the presidency of the party.
With this move, Khama is understood to be trying to put in motion a plan to remove Masisi from the Presidency. This will likely see the BDP forced into an early congress that may require the election of a new party who may have to be quickly shipped to State House as well. Weekend Post has gathered that Khama and his supporters already have a candidate to take on Masisi for the presidency of the BDP.
While the BDP constitution provides that the State President is automatically the leader of the BDP, it does not spell out the process of a vacating State President. Khama is of the view that he should have resigned his post of party President but he never did. Khama was re-elected BDP president in 2014 at a special congress just before the general election, he was unopposed.
To aver the situation as penning out from Khama circle some BDP faithful are calling for the removal of Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi from the office, they reason that he is the source of the conflict between the President and his predecessor. But others point out that Morupisi could merely be taking instructions from the current President.
On the other hand others are calling on the two leaders to have a one on one or face to face meeting to discuss their differences and give and take. Masisi and Khama friction has reawakened factions in the BDP and party loyalists are forced to choose between the former and current. Khama is seen as an influential figure especially in his heartland of GaMmagwato where he is the paramount chief. Coincidentally the BDP numbers are predominantly from this area.
President Dr Masisi has visited two regions so far, and he received mixed reviews in the central region after his Serowe kgotla meeting. In the Kweneng region he has the support of the structure albeit there are some who do not agree with the modus operandi meted on the former president. Masisi has been advised not escalate his so called beef with Khama especially before the 2019 general election.
Meanwhile Khama is said to have made it clear that he has reached a point there cannot be any reconciliation because it is likely to be an attempt to keep him calm just for the sake of the 2019 general election and then whole circle rekindles just after elections. He used the words, “I will not be in a position to be used to win elections and be dumped thereafter,” he is reported to have told his close allies.
With Khama going legal about it through Collins Newman Attorneys, some in the BDP fear that he may be at a point of no return as far as his conflict with Masisi is concerned. But for some, there is a ray of home, as they are of the view that Khama could just be throwing the dice to get the Masisi camp worked up.
The BDP has held two central committee meetings since Khama vacated office, and on Monday there will be a crucial central committee meeting that will deal with appeals lodged by primary election candidates. Khama’s lawyers are said to have advised him to attend this meeting as the first step to asserting his authority as a BDP president.
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.