Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s two suspended executives faces expulsion from the party, after the duo exposed plans to rig the Kgalagadi North elections in favour of incumbent, Itumeleng Moipisi ahead of party primaries in July this year.
According to information gathered by this publication, in a bid to protect President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s blue-eyed boys, the party secretariat conspired to have names of members believed to be sympathetic to Talinta Monnakgotla removed from the voters roll. Although Monnakgotla was the target, and had 250 names of people sympathetic to her removed from the voter roll, she triumphed against Moipisi in the party primaries.
Following the accusation leveled against the two employees, the party central committee dispatched a task team led Dr Lemogang Kwapa, party parliamentary candidate for Kanye South, to investigate the allegations. WeekendPost has been informed by insiders that Dr Kwapa’s exercise was an academic exercise aimed at legitimising the actions of those who wanted to bring down Monnakgotla, also to legitmise the imminent expulsion of the two suspended party executives.
“Now therein lies two issues, who can with confidence claim that they know everyone. It is hogwash,” said an insider. “Only eight were reinstated. The sub-plot to removing names as to disadvantage Talita Monnakgotla. Even Talita’s mother and biological sisters were removed.” The source further revealed to this publication that it would be unfair for the party to expel the suspended executives simply because they refused to play to the gallery.
WeekendPost was also informed that the conspiracy was sponsored by some in the central committee, with two prominent names being associated with the move. According to the charge sheet, written to one of the suspended executives, party Executive Secretary, Merapelo Moloise state that: “It is alleged that while you were assigned to capture corrections after verification process had been completed by various PEEC Deployee you received the lists for blacklisting for Kang North Ward and Kang South Ward from One Montshiwa and proceeded to call the Ward secretaries and enquired about the lists. This action was non-compliant with operations procedure and negligent.”
Although the suspended employees are on full pay, justice has not been forthcoming. The scheduled disciplinary hearing for the two has been postponed on several occasions. One of the accused has also accused the BDP Executive Secretary of witch-hunt in letter date 14 September 2018 responding to the Moloise’s charge sheet.
“I wish to highlight what I perceive as prejudice by the Executive Secretary. You led in my suspension. The Executive Secretary is the one who has decided that the said allegations are sufficient to charge me. Assuming a negative outcome, it would be expected of me to appeal to you as the highest ranking officer in the administrative structures of Botswana Democratic Party. Potential prejudice is perceived,” said the complainant.
“By playing the different roles, the Executive Secretary might be unable to make impartial assessment on the probabilities of the case she was so intrinsically involved with the facts of the case before the hearing started.” The suspended executive stated that he will lead the evidence regarding Moloise’s impartiality in the process even at later stage of dispute resolution.
BULELA DITSWE CONUNDRUM CONTINUES
The party primary election system, which was introduced for the first time ahead of 2004 general elections, replacing the vulnerable Committee of 18, has also proved to be problematic. A re-run held recently at Lentsweleta-Mmopane proved that indeed the system is being manipulated. Incumbent Vincent Seretse had won the constituency, but stashed box of ballot papers was later discovered, necessitating a re-run. Nnaniki Makwija won the resultant re-run.
Scores of defeated incumbents have also lodged complaints, citing irregularities in recent elections. It is believed that the party’s 2014 general elections dismal performance was partly due to how the elections were conducted. Bulela Ditswe created a rift between contestants in 2013 leading to significant number of candidates contesting elections as independent candidates.
The BDP had one of the worst electoral performances in 2017, losing an unprecedented 20 seats to combined opposition in 2014. The party’s popular vote plummeted to below 50 percent for the first time since 1965. Following disastrous performance BDP Central Committee tasked party veteran and former cabinet minister Peter Siele to lead a commission that would investigate the niggling primary elections and offer recommendations to the party
Siele was tasked with look at among others; if the system of Bulela Ditswe still working for the BDP; Why were there so manyproblems; the nature of these problems; whether the system can be fixed and how and if the party still had to continue with it, and if not what is the alternative that can be pursued to unite the party. According to Siele report, during the 2013 Bulela Ditswe season, a record 108 complaints were registered with the party about the manner in which party primaries were conducted.
The findings of Siele commission were shared with the BDP central committee later and the recommendations are discussed at the 2015 Mmadinare Congress. The party resolved to retain Bulela Ditswe system nevertheless. The current problems, which have led to the suspension of the two employees, were raised by the Siele Report. Siele said the success of any election is dependent on having a credible voters’ roll with full security features.
According to Siele Report the voters roll lacked secure features and dishonest officials included and removed people freely. Other findings were that some candidates were denied access to the voters’ rolls while some were favoured. Bulela Ditswe was introduced in 2003, ahead of the 2004 general elections in the aftermath of the increase in the number of constituencies. This saw the party doing away with the committee of 18, which was initially the organ responsible for choosing a candidate who would contest a particular constituency or ward.
With Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases worsening by the day, cabinet is still moving at a snail’s pace in setting-up an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) as agreed by parliament last month.
Parliament made a resolution that the President should set-up a Special Inter-Ministerial Committee of inquiry on GBV, rape and other sexual offences as a matter of urgency. The establishment of the IMC is aimed at dealing with GBV by gathering information and making recommendations that would assist in amending the current laws.
Stanbic Bank Botswana Quarterly Economic Review indicates that Botswana will fail to meet some of its Vision 2036 targets, particularly unemployment reduction and reaching high-income status.
The report says this is mainly due to the slow economic growth that the country is currently experiencing. This Quarterly Economic Review focuses on the 2020 Budget Speech.
The first paper reviews the entire budget with its key observations being that this budget is prepared as prescribed by the Public Finance Management Act; the priorities it seeks to address are drawn from Vision 2036 and the eleventh
The 2020 budget Speech, which was the maiden speech by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Thapelo Matsheka, and the first after the 2019 general elections, was delivered to Parliament on the 4th of February 2020.
It has been well received by the labour unions, business community, and the public at large as well as international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
It mainly derived its support from key facets including, emphasis on changing the business-as-usual approach to development; outlining the transformation agenda; fiscal reform that minimizes the negative impact on economic development and human welfare, competiveness and the decision to implement the 2019 negotiated and agreed public sector.
The budget’s progress review shows that economic growth was consistent with the NDP 11 projections, with growth of around 4 percent. At this growth rate, the country would neither ascend to a high-income status nor reduce unemployment towards the Vision 2036 target of a single digit.
Simple calculations of this review confirm that the economy will need to grow the Vision 2036’s target of 6 percent over the next 16 years for per capita income to increase from around USD 8,000.00 to above USD 12,000.00 in current prices.
Further, the population is anticipated to grow by only 2 percent per annum.
For this reason, the focal areas for the forthcoming FY’s budget include measures to increase economic growth towards an average of 6 percent per annum.
Economic diversification is reportedly progressing fairly well. The report says, the share of the non-mining private sector in value added has risen to 66 percent in 2018 from to 63 percent in 2015.
The sectoral pattern of growth showed that the performance of services sector (particularly transport & communications, trade, hotels & restaurants, and finance & business services) has been the silver lining and that of mining sector was subdued whilst the utility sector disappointed.
The drive towards the service sector of the economy, especially to low-productivity activities (tourism, public administration, wholesaling and retailing) does not bode well for the country’s development aspirations.
In the previous versions of this Quarterly Review, it was noted that there is need for the rethinking of economic diversification. Since the country’s domestic market is small, it is inevitable that economic diversification not only focus on broadening the product mix, but also the composition of exports and markets.
This understanding of economic diversification has not been embraced by this year’s budget. Consequently, Botswana’s exports are still overwhelmingly diamonds, which means that the rest of economic sectors are still highly dependent on foreign-exchange earnings from diamonds. Thus, “the transformation programme requires a review of the country’s entire ecosystem”.
The budget review of the economic context also depicts that an economy with positive medium-term prospects, with growth expected to recover to 4.4 percent in 2020 from the expected growth of 36 percent in 2019 largely due to faster growth of services sectors and, thereafter, to slow-down to 4 percent in 2021.
These projected growth rates are comparable to those of the IMF staff’s baseline scenario of 4.2 percent in 2020 and 4 percent in 2021. Thus, the business-as-usual scenario produces growth rates that are still too low to achieve Botswana’s development objectives and create enough jobs to absorb the new entrants into the labour market.
Trade tensions between the two major markets for diamond exports, viz., the United States of America and China, is one of the factors that are cited as contributing to, indeed, undermining not only the domestic growth, but also the fiscal position.
Another notable downside risk to both global and domestic growth is outbreak of the coronavirus in China around January 2020. This has been declared as a global health emergency. In an attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, the Chinese authorities have ordered city lockdowns and extended holidays, of course, at the expense of near- term economic growth, according to the new Stanbic Bank Botswana report.
According to Nomura Holdings Inc., fewer migrant workers returned for work than in previous years and business activities have been slow to pick up. The havoc wreaked by the virus on the world’s second largest economy is likely to spill over to the global economy. In fact, it has resulted in a glut in crude oil and, thereby placed oil markets into a contango, i.e., a market structure where near-term prices trade at a discount to future contracts.
It also presents significant risks one of Botswana’s main drivers of economic growth, diversification and foreign exchange earnings. According to the Financial Times (February 13, 2020), Chinese tourists spent $130 billion overseas in 2018. Regardless of whether the growth materializes, the projected domestic growth rate would not transform the economy to a high-income one.
Progress towards reduction of unemployment, to a target of single digit, and poverty and achieving inclusive growth has also been relatively slow, the Stanbic Bank Botswana Review says.