Batlokwa, Jamali in land scuffle
Tensions between Batlokwa tribal leadership and businessman, Sayeed Jamali over the construction of some facilities in the Batlokwa tribal land have reached boiling point. Information suggests that behind the scenes, temperatures have been rising as Batlokwa say the construction took place without their knowledge.
Jamali is said to own a 50 hectares piece of land in which the construction of an 8000-seater stadium, hostels, hotel and other facilities are under way in the area. WeekendPost can reveal that the two parties, particularly Batlokwa Bogosi has been seething in anger following the continued amassing of land in their territory by the tycoon. The argument has always been that Batlokwa need the land more for residential and development purposes.
This notwithstanding, Jamali has gone on to acquire chunks of land in the area, mostly through purchasing it from some individuals. On the other hand, there is belief there could be underhand dealings between him and senior government officials who may have assisted him to accumulate such.
A source close to developments told this publication in an interview this week that the construction mogul could be doing things in an illegal manner. “Not only is the Morafe unhappy, we as the Bogosi also have complaints on that development, our issue is Jamali gaa dire dilo ka semolao. Molao wa gagwe ke madi (Jamali is not following the route of the law; to him having money is his law). We have always had land shortage, but he has never struggled to acquire it, it appears he has someone at the top backing up these land requests and effectively protecting him,” the source revealed.
This publication is also alive to the fact that Batlokwa Tribal leadership under Kgosi Puso Gaborone, have registered their grievances with the South East District Council (SEDC) and Tlokweng Land Board (TLB). The two, according to sources at Tlokweng Kgotla failed to mediate on the issue as the issue was allegedly agreed on by former minister of Land Prince Maele, President Ian Khama, Masisi (then VP) and Carter Morupisi without their (SEDC and TLB) involvement.
Initially Jamali is said to have approached the tribal leadership with a plan to construct a road with a tollgate linking the eastern side of the village with Phakalane/Ruretse. This was immediately shot down by the village leaders who conceived the development a money making gimmick. ”We couldn’t allow for that, where will the money go?” asked a source rhetorically. Additionally, the businessman was never given the green light either by the council or lands board hence the leadership could not approve the development.
After the plan failed, it is said Jamali bought a 50 hectares piece of land in which the construction of the 8000-seater stadium, hostels, hotel and other facilities are under way. The development, which encompasses the Batlokwa trust land, was done without the knowledge of the leadership.
“This is the same land that the tribe had agreed it would erect a palace for Kgosi Gaborone on. We were surprised to see part of it being used for the road construction which we were not aware of. We approached him and asked him to avail coordinates of his land of which did not correspond and he returned it and he continued with the road construction in another piece of land,” a highly placed source said this week.
Sources tell this publication that the SEDC only gave the investor the go ahead to construct a road on condition that he consults Batlokwa and complies with whatever requests they have. The road connects the eastern side of the village with University of Botswana. This publication has learnt that “it is a 3 km road to ease congestion from other roads once the construction of the stadium finishes”. A worker on the site revealed that, “Right now we don’t have the plan, we are just grating it, the Chinese company will do the real road.”
However a source from the Tlokweng Kgotla insists that, “But we never gave permission for that because the road goes through people’s farms and homes. We are surprised that he is continuing despite that fact.” says a source from Tlokweng Kgotla.
The road is reported to have encroached on some people’s plots who have registered their complaints with the tribal leadership, which has on numerous occasions met both the land board and SEDC but without any tangible results.
It said Jamali insists that his road development has been approved by the council, but it appears he was never given servitude by the tribal administration, council nor land board. “All the developments in our area have been freezed as we are told to wait for a moratorium by the local authorities.
On the other hand Jamali’s projects are ongoing,” said the informant before adding that, “Right now Tlokweng Development Plan is still on and we have asked for a number of things including the nature park, but we were told to wait for the moratorium but it seems we are being overlooked whilst he gets to continue his plans.”
JAMALI, LAND BOARD COMMENTS
“The road has been gazzeted and since the government was too slow for me as a private business, I financed the project. This is so because I have attachment to the area. The developments have not demolished anything except part of the tribe’s trust land which is not affected anymore. Those who make noise are against the developments.
Office of the president issued an instruction to lower authorities to ratify the construction and there was no how they can refuse. This happened under the leadership of former President Lt Gen Ian Khama. On the other hand I don’t have any special relationship with former Minister Prince Maele. I relate with him the same way I do to other people including ministers, MPs and general public like you.
Yes I wanted to install tollgates in the soon to be made Phakalane-Tlokweng road, even in the undergoing construction I wanted to install them. That was rebuffed by the government as it is not in their policy yet. I wanted to do that to recover monies im spending on doing those developments especially the road which cost between P40-50 million.”
Tlokweng Land Board Response
“The development of the area has been sanctioned by a higher authority (Office of President) than the land board through a different act; correspondence was made to the land board with regards to the development. We however note the concern between the tribal leadership and Mr. Jamali and the land board is working on how it can facilitate tribal leadership on the resolution of the matter.
The Land Board is not aware of such allegations of plots/farms seized and currently investigations are being done as per the tribal leadership complaint. The tribal leadership had requested extension of their Ga-Manaleng property in the area, which would have been in conflict with the gazette road, and as such it would mean the cancellation of the gazetted road which is no sanctioned by land board rather Roads Department through the Town and Country planning act.”
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The curtain came down at the PAP session with pomp and FUNFAIR
It was pomp and funfair at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on March 18 as the African Cultural Music and Dance Association (ACUMDA) brought the curtains down on the PAP session with a musical performance.
The occasion was the celebration of the Pan-African Parliament Day (PAP Day) which commemorated the inauguration of the first Parliament of the PAP on 18 March 2004 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The celebrations took place at the seat of the Parliament in Midrand to “reflect on the journey” as the institution turns 19. The event sought to retrace the origin and context of the establishment of the PAP.
The celebrations included musical performances by ACUMDA and a presentation by Prof. Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute on “Whither Pan-Africanism, African Culture, and Heritage.”
The PAP Day was officially launched in 2021 to educate citizens about the Continental Parliament and ignite conversations about its future in line with its mandate.
The establishment of the PAP among the AU organs signalled a historical milestone and the most important development in the strengthening of the AU institutional architecture. It laid solid groundwork for democratic governance and oversight within the African Union system and provided a formal “platform for the peoples of Africa to get involved in discussions and decision-making on issues affecting the continent.”
The genesis of the PAP can be legally traced back to 1991 with the adoption of the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, adopted on June 3, 1991, in Abuja (also known as the Abuja Treaty). This treaty defined the pillars and grounds for realizing economic development and integration in Africa and called for the creation of a continental parliament, among a set of other organs, as tools for the realization of African integration and economic development. This call was reemphasized in the Sirte Declaration of 1999, which called for the accelerated implementation of the provisions of the Abuja Treaty.
PAP celebrated its ten years of existence in March 2014, a year which coincided with the adoption, on June 27, 2014, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Malabo Protocol), which, once in force, will transform the PAP into a legislative body of the AU. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.
Therefore, the commemoration of PAP Day serves as a reminder to the decision-makers around the continent to fulfil their commitment to the PAP by ratifying its Protocol, 19 years after sanctioning its establishment. 14 AU member states have so far ratified the Malabo Protocol.
The celebrations of PAP Day coincided with the closing ceremony of the sitting of the PAP Permanent Committees and other organs. The Sitting took place in Midrand, South Africa under the AU theme for 2023, “Accelerating the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)” from 6 to 17 March 2023.
PAP President, H.E. Chief Fortune Charumbira, expressed appreciation to members for their commitment during the two-week engagement.
“We have come to the end of our program, and it is appropriate that we end on a high note with the PAP Day celebrations.
“We will, upon your return to your respective countries, ensure that the work achieved over the past two weeks is transmitted to the national level for the benefit of our citizens,” concluded H.E. Chief Charumbira.
PAP needs to priorities land issues-Prof Mathole
Prof Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute has advised the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) to prioritise the land issue in the continent if they are to remain relevant.
He said this while addressing the Plenary during the commemoration of PAP Day held at the PAP Chambers in Midrand, South Africa
The PAP Day was officially launched in 2021 to commemorate the inauguration of the first Parliament on 18 March 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Intended as a platform for people of all African states to be involved in discussions and decision-making on problems and challenges facing the continent.
In a speech titled “Whither Pan-Africanism, African Culture, and Heritage,” Prof Mathole stated that for PAP to remain relevant, it must address the continent’s key land dilemma, which he feels is the core cause of all problems plaguing the continent
“If this Parliament is to be taken seriously, ownership of land and natural resources must be prioritized at the national and continental levels. Africans are not poor; they are impoverished by imperialist nations that continue to hold African land and natural resources,” said Prof Mathole.
“When African leaders took power from colonialists, they had to cope with poverty, unemployment, and other issues, but they ignored land issues. That is why Africa as a whole is poor today. Because our land and minerals are still in the hands of colonizers, Africa must rely on Ukraine for food and Europe for medical.”
Prof Mathole believes that the organization of the masses is critical as cultural revolution is the only solution to Africa’s most problems.
“We need a cultural revolution for Africa, and that revolution can only occur if the masses and people are organized. First, we need a council of African monarchs since they are the keepers of African arts, culture, and heritage. We need an African traditional health practitioners council because there is no ailment on the planet that cannot be healed by Africans; the only problem is that Africans do not harvest and process their own herbs,” he said.
Meanwhile, PAP President, H.E. Hon Chief Fortune Charumbira expressed satisfaction with the commitment displayed throughout the two-week period and said the PAP Day celebrations were befitting curtains down to the august event.
“On this high note of our two-week engagement, it is appropriate that we close our program on a high note with PAP celebrations, and I would like to thank everyone for your commitment, and please continue to be committed,” said H.E Hon Chief Charumbira.
PAP’s purpose as set out in Article 17 of the African Union Constitutive Act, is “to ensure the full participation of African people in the development and economic integration of the continent”. As it stands, the mandate of the Parliament extends to consultation and playing an advisory and oversight role for all AU organs pending the ratification protocol.
Also known as the Malabo Protocol, the Protocol to the consultative act of the AU relating to the PAP was adopted at the Assembly of Heads of State and Government summit in June 2014 and is intended to extend the powers of the PAP into a fully-fledged legislative organ. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.
The commemoration of the PAP Day, therefore, serves as a reminder to the decision-makers around the continent to fulfil their commitment to the PAP by ratifying its Protocol, 17 years after sanctioning its establishment. 14 AU member states have so far ratified the Malabo Protocol.
The PAP Day commemoration also aims to educate citizens about the PAP and ignite conversations about the future of the continental Parliament in line with its mandate.
DPP drops Kably threat to kill case
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.
In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. “I am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,” Kablay said.
Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, “we have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchet”.
The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.
According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, “Mosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.”
Loosely translated this means, Liakat’s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.
Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.
In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson Manchwe cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.
A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.
“In pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,” said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.
The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing “that matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.”