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€¨
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.