Former President Ian Khama has said the tussle between him and his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi can only be resolved if the two of them can face each other privately as former friends without involvement of third parties.
Khama said the two of them can talk from where they left off before giving him the baton on the 1st of April 2018. “The best outcome will be to continue where we left off: where I thought we had a good understanding and relationship,” Khama told this publication, adding that, “You do not need a mediator.” He stressed that all that President Masisi was to do, was to simply make a single phone call and call him for a private meeting where they can talk one-on-one on their own.
“I have never said to a single one that when he [Masisi] say let’s meet, I would say ‘no, I do not want to meet you’. All he needs is a call, that is if he thinks there is something that he wants to talk about,” said Khama. While Khama claims that the fallout between them started when President Masisi refused him access to the presidential aircraft in April and refusal of State media coverage, impeccable sources in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) also claim that the watershed moment was Masisi’s choice for Vice President.
They contend that Khama wanted Masisi to appoint his (Khama) brother, Tshekedi Khama the Vice President, not Slumber Tsogwane. Khama had also wanted to have control of government after leaving office, sources indicated. Asked to comment on the believe that the two fell out as a result of President Masisi going against the principles of a secret meeting he allegedly had with him before handing over the baton, Khama became cagey.
Among the things reportedly discussed involved the appointment of Vice President and other key figures in the upper echelons of power. “We had a lot of secret meetings discussing many things,” Khama said. When asked to comment specifically on the meeting where they discussed how President Masisi was to rule, Khama said: “I will never tell him how to run the country; otherwise he would not be doing some of the things he is doing now. Masisi is the president, he can do what he likes, hiring and firing. And some of them I do not like. But as a former president, I know some things people will not like. So, nna I am just going on with my life.”
Khama noted that if the differences were not going to be resolved, “Nna ke siame. Even now I am not asking for aircraft. I am flying privately. If they do not want to help me, fine, I will go my own way, they go their own way, and we will see where it takes us.”
KHAMA’S ALLEGED MASTER PLAN TO OUST MASISI
On the allegations that Khama was doing everything possible to oust the President Masisi, Khama confirmed that he was also alive to the said allegations against him. The allegations purport that Khama has three strategies in place, the first one being to have a Member of Parliament to table a motion of no confidence against President Masisi in November. If the plan does not succeed, Khama will then wait for next year’s Special Congress where he will have his younger brother Tshekedi to challenge President Masisi.
BDP constitution provides that during an election year, the party meets for the purpose electing party president. If this plan also fails, Khama will then resort to the formation of a break-away party. It is believed that he will not be fully active in the party during its early stages but he will be pulling the strings from behind. While he confirmed knowledge of the said allegations against himself, Khama said people were just accusing him for anything that other people are planning against Masisi.
“I do not know why anything that has been planned against Masisi by other people they say it is me. Why should they say it is me because other people are planning them?” he asked. Asked what will be his reaction should those alleged to be planning to oust President Masisi succeed, Khama said he will not comment on that. He said that whatever strong feeling he has against President Masisi, he will not talk about it.
This publication can confirm that the new party which will start next year July with at least six members of parliament plus one former MP as of now. Two MPs, who recently won BDP primaries elections [names known to this publication], will assume the positions of President and Secretary General.
I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR MABAILA’S ACTIONS
Khama has also highlighted that he should not be blamed for Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Mogoditshane parliamentary Tshephang Mabaila’s actions which led to him being slapped with a five year suspension from the party last week after being found guilty by the Disciplinary Committee. “I am not responsible for Mabaila’s actions. I have not sent him to do whatever he was alleged to have done,” he said.
Mabaila was last week slapped with a five year suspension by the party’s disciplinary committee. When it was put to Khama that there was a strong allegation that he influenced the young man to misbehave because of his tussle with President Masisi, Khama said, “If people out there choose to support me it does not mean that I send them to misbehave. The issue is between me and Masisi,” said Khama.
Immediately after the verdict was delivered, Mabaila disclosed that he will stand as an independent candidate in Mogoditshane and cursed those who conspired to have him suspended especially Alfred Madigele and Setlhomo Lelatisitswe. “I am happy that Madigele lost the primary elections in Molapowabojang-Mathethe and I am hoping that Lelatisitswe will lose in Boteti East,” he said.â€¨
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.