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Khama, Masisi clash may lead to civil war

The ongoing war between the former president Lt. Gen. Ian Khama and incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi may lead to civil war if not managed properly, a political analyst has warned. The renowned political analyst and a University of Botswana (UB) lecturer, Leornard Sesa, warned that the fight is not only healthy for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) but also for the country.  

“There is a serious war between Khama and those aligned to him and, Masisi and those close to him on the other hand,” Sesa told WeekendPost. He continued: “If it [the feud between the Khama and Masisi continues], I foresee a civil war. If the conflict continues, I insist that we may end up hearing the civil war that is foreign to this country.”

This comes at a time when there has been talk of north/south between the duo in which Khama while president was said to have brought in Masisi, from the South, to neutralise such narrative but it appears the decision was short lived. Khama’s younger brother, Tshekedi Khama also confirmed to this publication recently that, “It is true that I was accused by some Northerners especially some Bangwato that I have given the Chairmanship to a Southerner. They could not believe it. I was shocked upon hearing this. I felt let down that some people are unable to let other people prosper just because they are from somewhere.”

He continued then that, “… and so I told Masisi of my intention not to stand for BDP Chairmanship if it was an issue of north/south divide as suspected. I was the first to recognise that, and took a decision to distill that myth.” As the relationship between the duo deteriorates, the UB Political analysts said the ball is in Masisi’s court as he has powers to call Khama to order. He insisted: “Masisi should therefore call Khama to his office. They should meet and iron out their differences. Khama should show a sense of maturity to the president. They should ask themselves where it did go wrong.  Then they should solve the issue for good of the country.”

BOTH BDP AND UDC ARE NOT WELL – ANALYST OPINES

The UB lecturer said we must all acknowledge that both the ruling BDP and opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) are not well. So the only way that makes the different is their approach in so far as they tackle their issues. “UDC mostly exposes themselves to the public in the way they have been treating each other and evidenced in the leaks we have been getting from them while the BDP has been applying diplomacy in trying to address their conflicts but the situation for both parties is getting worse.”

He said BDP primaries may birth a lot of issues and protests; including independent candidates. In terms of the UDC, the political analyst pointed out that the message that needs to go straight to the UDC is that they “have disappointed the electorates.” He reminisced that “look at how they performed in 2014 General Elections, and where they are now since then, they have regressed and it is a pity.”

Sesa said the UDC should go back to the drawing board while adding that it will take time for voters to embrace them again and cast votes in their favour. The best thing, he said, is for UDC to come out and state the status quo as it is to gain trust from the few that still believes in them. He said failing which, the BDP may capitalise and Masisi end-up gaining from it.

HOW BDP, UDC MUST RESOLVE THEIR INTERNAL STRIVES

Sesa stated that both the ruling party and the opposition must put their houses in order as a matter of urgency. “I still believe that BDP, UDC must act. It’s really up to them.” Sesa said three months from now, following the ongoing voter registration, we will be able to gauge what might happen in 2019 between the two main parties.” He continued: “they have to iron out their issues as they will be soon talking to people who would have already registered. So they need to prepare a full package to go to the voters; build and regain trust.”

By the look of things, Sesa said they won’t be voter apathy as Batswana electorates now take their voting seriously. “I am convinced that Batswana will register in large numbers to make decisions in 2019. I think they will take the coming elections seriously. I foresee them registering them en masse to see how parties will solve their problems. Maturity in solving inner party conflicts will contribute immensely,” he said.

COUNTRY SECURITY ALSO TEMPERED WITH?

Sesa emphasised the issue of civil war bearing in mind that the issue of the country’s security may also have been tempered with following the unceremonious expulsion of Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Colonel Isaac Kgosi, replacing him with Brigadier Peter Magosi.Magosi was expelled by Khama while the former was still serving in the army.  

Therefore naturally Magosi is aligned to Masisi while Kgosi with Khama. The ex-president is even intending to sue Masisi’s government for refusing to appoint Kgosi as his Private Secretary against his wish. Sesa stressed that the two centers of power if left unattended may turn the country into a civil war and it appears they will also give Masisi a torrid time towards the 2019 General Elections.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

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.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

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.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

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.

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