Former President, Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama has received requests from scores of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidates who want him to launch them ahead of next year’s general elections.
Because of the former President’s ongoing acrimonious relationship with the BDP hierarchy, he says he can only help launch individuals within the party. Khama said he has agreed with those that have won their primary elections and have no pending appeals. However Khama says he will not agree to be officially part of the BDP general election campaign in 2019.
Before he vacated the position of President of the Republic, Khama was scheduled to be the chief campaigner for the BDP next year but things took a twist as soon as his estranged relationship with State President, Mokgweetsi Masisi played out. “So far five Parliamentary candidates would want me to launch them and I have agreed. I must make it clear that I will be working with individuals who want my help,” he said.
The list of candidates that could possibly be launched by the former President can be deduced from his ongoing visits to constituencies since retiring from the Presidency. Just this week, he was at Ignatius Moswaane’s backyard; before the primary elections he effectively launched Buti Billy and Francisco Kgoboko among others. He has also visited Ministers Thapelo Olopeng and Dorcas Makgato constituencies as part of his charitable work, which he has pledged to continue doing after retiring from the presidency.
BDP parliamentary candidates’ launches can be done by senior figures in the party who can influence crowds such as the President of the party, the Vice President, and other party elders. From the former President’s statement it is apparent that he is going to be busy with launching BDP parliamentary candidates in the last quarter of 2019.
KHAMA BLASTS MPHO BALOPI
For the very first time, Khama has openly spoken out about his former Secretary General, Mpho Balopi who he has joined forces to undermine him. According to the former President, he helped campaign for Balopi to be secretary general of the party, “I am surprised by his attitude towards me,” he said. Khama pointed out that Balopi is probably trying to ingratiate himself to the President at “my expense”.
“During my time we had a very good relationship but I don’t know why things changed after 1st April 2018. My view is that even if I am not in the structures anymore we could still continue enjoying the good relationship.” Balopi is one of the early birds in the 2019 general election campaigns after he was nominated to represent the BDP in the Gaborone North constituency. He is on ground making donations, supporting courses in the constituency, and has bought six vehicles to help push the voter registration exercise in the constituency.
As Balopi is on a win at all costs strategy, Khama has made it clear that he will not support him in his bid to win the constituency. There are reports that Mpho Balopi is eyeing the position of Vice President after next year’s general election hence his inspired push in Gaborone north constituency. However former President Khama is very skeptical that as to whether the BDP secretary general will make it to the finishing line in that constituency which is currently held by the opposition Alliance for Progressives’ Haskins Nkaigwa.
The former President also commented on Mpho Balopi’s chances in the Vice Presidency race, “Even if he is eyeing the vice presidency, he still needs to work hard because he needs people to follow him. We know that the President nominates a name and that name must have the support of Members of Parliament. If they reject the name it becomes something else. If that [becoming Vice President] is his objective it is going to be a hard thing, it will be difficult for him.”
KHAMA COMMENTS ON CONGRESS POSTPONEMENT
The former President has also expressed concern that there are some in the BDP who are working towards postponing the elective congress slated for next year. “But they can’t do that because that will be unconstitutional,” he said. Khama said: “What interests me is that some of them [those linked to the postponement of the congress] are the same people who were commending me for abiding by the constitution and not trying to extend my term in office. In the past they have said I am a soldier and will not vacate the office but these are the same people who are said to be the ones who want to change the BDP constitution so it can accommodate them”.
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.