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.”
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.