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.
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.