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Tshekedi may challenge Masisi for Presidency

In a bid to dislodge his successor from power, former a group aligned to President Lt Gen Ian Khama is pushing for his younger brother, Tshekedi Khama to challenge President Mokgwetsi Masisi for the leadership of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) at next year’s special congress.

Though the party tradition dictates that no sitting president has ever been challenged for the presidency, Article 29.1 of the BDP constitution provides that the party Central Committee should convene a Special Congress during an election year, at which the party shall elect its president.  Given BDP’s dominance and recent opposition unity challenges, the leader of the BDP is said to be almost certain to be the country’s president after October 2019 general elections.

“A best kept secret is that former President Ian Khama has been looking for candidate to take on Masisi after he felt betrayed by his chosen successor for the Presidency of the party and the country,” said a source. Khama stretched the net out and wide in looking for a candidate to sponsor to challenge Masisi:  He has consulted many close to him, according to impeccable sources.  

“While some have been indifferent to his intentions and advised him from entangling himself in politics after his term expired, Khama is thought to moving ahead and going for broke in getting a man that he can have as his handler.” Many names have been tossed around, with the most preferred initially to have been Nonofo Molefhi. However, Molefhi was thought to be unreliable, and he himself had second thoughts in challenging a man in Masisi who beat him convincingly in Tonota last year.

Other names that have come up are Neo Moroka, Boyce Sebetlela, Jacob Nkate and Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi. Moroka was immediately discounted, as he is perceived to be lacking political currency and national clout. Nkate is still nursing bruises from losing to Thato Kwerepe in the Ngami primary elections while age is unfortunately not on Venson-Moitoi’s side. Venson-Motoi has announced retirement from politics, effective at the end of her current term next year.

 “With time running out and 2019 approaching, Khama finds himself only with TK raising his hand.  Khama was discouraged to go with TK because they are siblings. It would perpetuate a narrative that Khama is nepotistic.” “But having trounced Moemedi Dijeng unexpectedly, TK thinks he is the man to carry the Khama faction to victory and reclaim the BDP,” said the source.

Central District, as well the Greater North with the majority electoral numbers are thought to be backing former President Khama to come up with a name to challenge Masisi.  The North sees Masisi as an unapologetic regionalist, a ‘southerner as he is often referred to’. “Look at his appointments in government since he took over; Chief Justice— a Southerner, DIS Director— a Southerner,” said one source.   

Political commentators however think it is advantage Masisi.  The mere fact that it has taken time for the Khama faction to name a candidate is reason enough that it will not be easy to dislodge Masisi according to a political analyst who preferred anonymity.  “Masisi also has party tradition to his advantage.  Never has the BDP removed the head of the party on the eve elections. 

The Khama faction though is feeling confident, and point to the fact that wins for candidates sponsored by Khama in Bulelwa Ditswe are an example of the ‘Khama magic’ is still alive and strong. The loser though can only be the BDP, as whoever wins will find it difficult to unite the warring factions to the national polls.”

In an interview with Tshekedi on Thursday, he said there was so much of fake news. “People will always say things because they want to associate me. I was never approached, and I do not think that one person will just wake up one morning and tell us what he wants us to do without consulting us,” said Tshekedi

Asked if approached properly he would agree to the request, Tshekedi said, “We all took an oath, and yes, hopefully you take it because you mean it.” Meanwhile a meeting between BDP elders and Ian Khama was held recently as last week to try reconciling Khama and Masisi.  Those in attendance are thought to have been former President Festus Mogae and former cabinet ministers; Patrick Balopi, Ray Molomo and Gaositwe Chiepe.

 It is not clear whether Kwelagobe was also part of the meeting.  Kwelagobe is thought to have gone back to the Khama faction after attempts by the Masisi camp to recruit him to their faction failed.  Kwelagobe feels the Masisi faction is not authentic to him and only wants to use him. Masisi is currently away on an official visit to China and on his return, he is expected to reshuffle cabinet.

The reshuffle is thought it is going to ruffle feathers further. TK is almost certain to be removed from his Tourism ‘fiefdom’ and taken to a lessor important Ministry like Agriculture.  Mokaila will replace him at Tourism.  The reshuffle may cause trouble because even though many ministers have lost primaries, they will still vote at next year’s party congress as incumbents. “One thing for sure it is going to be a busy couple of months not only for the opposition but the BDP as well.  Unity is going to be stretched with all political parties.  We await to see the result.”

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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