Former President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama’s younger brother, Tshekedi Khama has stated that he should not be denied being President or Vice President of the Republic, because of his family lineage.
Tshekedi, who is also the son to Botswana’s founding President Sir Seretse Khama, emphasised that his Khama lineage should not be used against him in deciding his next destiny with regard to the leadership of both the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the country. Speaking to Weekend Post this week, Tshekedi stressed: “I think I should not be denied any opportunity because of my Khama lineage. The bottom line is I am a Motswana too, like everybody else and therefore, I too should be given an equal chance.”
Tshekedi, who is also the second in line in the Bangwato chieftaincy throne, after Ian Khama, continued: “I always wonder that, are people so determined that just because I am a Khama, the name Khama, therefore I will or should suffer.” In addition he stressed that he wants to tell the current BDP leadership that they should, “leave my lineage out of it.” “I am Tshekedi. When I ask for assistance from the party, I should be assisted accordingly like anybody else.”
According to the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism; “no one should think their position should make them big-headed in anyway.” He said of Balopi, the BDP Secretary General: “you were elected to be there and serve the party in that capacity. So you have to behave when you are there.” Tshekedi added that he believes Balopi does not want to assist him properly because he is a Khama.
Tshekedi has since informed party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane about Balopi’s behaviour, who in-turn instructed Balopi to make amends. “I will meet with both Masisi and Balopi again to indicate to them that I am very concerned about state of affairs in the party. I do not agree with what is happening in the BDP at the moment.”
Tshekedi also remembered during the interview that at some point there was speculation that Moyo Guma, Nonofo Molefhi, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and himself wanted the Vice Presidency. “I have nothing signed in paper that I will be VP to Masisi. But it does not trouble me at all.”
TSHEKEDI BELIEVES BOGOSI STILL HAS INFLUENCE IN POLITICS
Tshekedi is of the view that bogosi still has a massive influence and impact in Botswana’s politics. He justified: “Batswana like their Dikgosi as we have seen Batawana Kgosi Tawana Moremi easily winning elections in Maun West; the same with Lotlaamoreng Montshioa of the Barolong in Goodhope/Mabule constituency.”
According to TK, “Batswana like their Dikgosi and it is a good thing because Bogosi came before parliamentary democracy where there is a president, ministers and so forth. So through our Dikgosi we should not forget that that is where our democracy started, through kgotla system, and we should respect that.”
HOW DOES TSHEKEDI VIEW THE MASISI PRESIDENCY?
“I do not have a problem with President Masisi [Mokgweetsi]. He brought me back to cabinet. And I am glad for that,” Tshekedi told this publication. He observed that Masisi never displayed anything towards him although others in cabinet do. “They read sinister moves since am the former president’s brother. Sometimes you get the feeling that you are not with your colleagues (ba koo o koo). The way I see it, I think they believe that my allegiance is not with Masisi but still with Khama.”
He continued to point out; “but I give him (Masisi) same respect, I did the same to Khama when he was president. People just want to sow seeds of discord between President Masisi and myself. But I refuse to entertain that.” He explained that he does not discriminate Masisi because he is from the South and so detests this North/South narrative for the BDP leadership.
“You know if I can tell you now, I wanted to stand for BDP Chairmanship in 2015 at Mmadinare when Masisi was VP. I went to Khama to tell him of my intention, and Masisi also had indicated that he wants to stand. So, for Khama it was a challenge on his side and was caught up between a brother and VP,” he highlighted.
He said, “to put things into perspective; Tebelelo Seretse, Moemedi Dijeng and myself are from Serowe and we all wanted to stand for BDP chairmanship. Then it is at that time that I decided not to stand because it would seem like North/South battle.” Tshekedi explained that for starters he is related to Seretse. “And so I told Masisi of my intention not to stand. So, 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.”
The minister also confirmed to Weekend Post that, “Yes, 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.”
For me, Tshekedi observed: “I had a father, Sir Seretse and a brother Ian as Presidents, and I have realised that when people become presidents some people change towards them. When you leave presidency you also see your real friends. In addition, former presidents must also be awarded respect.”
He however said Masisi and Khama are different in terms of leadership, in that Khama has a military background and therefore his character was in line with that. He said it appears that Masisi’s main focus is also on education as he is a teacher by profession, and he sees a research persona in him; and that he wants to diversify the economy more and turn the country into a knowledge-based economy.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO BELIEVE TK LEAKS CABINET SECRETS TO KHAMA?
Tshekedi emphasized to this publication that he will continue to starve Khama cabinet decisions. “So, those who think that, because ex-President Khama is my brother, therefore I will tell him cabinet secrets are misled.” Tshekedi pointed out that, “It is not allowed to tell anyone, including my brother Khama. We conform to secrecy in cabinet. I even took an oath for it. Even Khama knows. He knows he cannot ask me anything concerning cabinet.”
TSHEKEDI REMINISCES HOW HIS PARENTS, SERETSE AND RUTH SUFFERED
Tshekedi took time to reminisce the old days when his parents were banished from Botswana in 1950, after his father married a white woman, Ruth Williams. “I know that sometimes as a Khama, I get attacked for no good reason. But when am attacked, it is nowhere near what my parents suffered. It is nothing. My parents went through a lot,” Tshekedi fumed.
WHY TSHEKEDI IS ABSENT IN HIS CONSTITUENCY
The Bangwato royal believes he is more absent in the constituency as he is busy with his ministerial portfolio. “You know, I have no assistant Minister at my Ministry. And mind you we remain the second biggest earner outside the country (tourism), so I really work hard at the ministry,” he said.
TK: “so, sometimes I don’t frequently go to the constituency like I should, and when I go there I talk to Bangwato and they really understand about the matter. In fact even if I go there they never complain. Those who say are the branch committee which I am not in good terms with.”
TSHEKEDI STILL FEELS UNANSWERED BY THE BDP AND COURT
Following his defeat at the hands of BDP at court, which ruled against him and allowed Dijeng to contest, Tshekedi says he is still unanswered by both the party and court. He still feels confused even thought he went on to win Serowe West BDP primary elections dubbed Bulela Ditswe with 2,797 votes against Dijeng’s 1,594 and 462 allotted to Keletso Rakhudu.
He told Weekend Post: “let me tell you I am still confused or concerned. My question is still not answered. My issue is the BDP does not allow campaigns to commence before primary elections are called. Campaigns happen after elections are officially called. So I am still yet to see clarity from the party whilst the party disciplinary committee has found Dijeng guilty. If you are guilty you are not allowed to stand for elections. So how can they find you guilty and not take a decision?”
The Serowe West legislator said what Dijeng did, by campaigning before the race was declared open, it means it was a disadvantage on other competitors, Rakhudu and him. “So it is not fair for us now. We should all be equal.” In 2014, he narrated that he wrote to the party but he was still not given an answer.
“What is the value of the constitution then? So I am still disappointed because I do not know why this. I am more sensitive to it because it happened before. We have set a bad precedence. I, or anybody, can do that next time. Anybody can do as they please really. It is not about the individual, Tshekedi or anyone; it’s about the laws of the BDP.”
On why he took the party to court, and thus facing potential suspension, he said he believes it is everybody’s constitutional right to challenge things which they do not understand. “I wrote a letter to the BDP to ask for a meeting before I went to court and so I believe I covered myself there. I should not be seen as an enemy of the party.
When someone is aggrieved, they should be addressed properly. If they do not answer us satisfactorily they are the ones tarnishing the BDP’s image.” He warned Balopi that, “guys be careful as you don’t own anything including this party. Be nice to people when you are up as you will meet them when you go down.”
FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.
FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.
One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.
The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.
Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.
In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.
FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.
The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has taken a significant step towards diversifying its energy mix by signing a power purchase agreement with Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village. This agreement marks a major milestone for the energy sector in Botswana as the country transitions from a coal-fired power generation system to a new energy mix comprising coal, gas, solar, and wind.
The CEO of BPC, David Kgoboko, explained that the Power Purchase Agreement is for a 6MW coal bed methane proof of concept project to be developed around Mmashoro village. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy in the energy mix. The use of coal bed methane for power generation is an exciting development as it provides a hybrid solution with non-dispatchable sources of generation like solar PV. Without flexible base-load generation, the deployment of non-dispatchable solar PV generation would be limited.
Kgoboko emphasized that BPC is committed to enabling the development of a gas supply industry in Botswana. Sekaname Energy, along with other players in the coal bed methane exploration business, is a key and strategic partner for BPC. The successful development of a gas supply industry will enable the realization of a secure and sustainable energy mix for the country.
The Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Moagi, expressed his support for the initiative by the private sector to develop a gas industry in Botswana. The country has abundant coal reserves, and the government fully supports the commercial extraction of coal bed methane gas for power generation. The government guarantees that BPC will purchase the generated electricity at reasonable tariffs, providing cash flow to the developers and enabling them to raise equity and debt funding for gas extraction development.
Moagi highlighted the benefits of developing a gas supply industry, including diversified primary energy sources, economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. He commended Sekaname Energy for undertaking a pilot project to prove the commercial viability of extracting coal bed methane for power generation. If successful, this initiative would unlock the potential of a gas production industry in Botswana.
Sekaname Energy CEO, Peter Mmusi, emphasized the multiple uses of natural gas and its potential to uplift Botswana’s economy. In addition to power generation, natural gas can be used for gas-to-liquids, compressed natural gas, and fertilizer production. Mmusi revealed that Sekaname has already invested $57 million in exploration and infrastructure throughout its resource area. The company plans to spend another $10-15 million for the initial 6MW project and aims to invest over $500 million in the future for a 90MW power plant. Sekaname’s goal is to assist BPC in becoming a net exporter of power within the region and to contribute to Botswana’s transition to cleaner energy production.
In conclusion, the power purchase agreement between BPC and Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village is a significant step towards diversifying Botswana’s energy mix. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy. The government’s support for the development of a gas supply industry and the commercial extraction of coal bed methane will bring numerous benefits to the country, including economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. With the potential to become a net exporter of power and a cleaner energy producer, Botswana is poised to make significant strides in its energy sector.
It is not clear as to when, but before taking a festive break in few weeks’ time UDC leaders would have convened to address the ongoing deadlock surrounding constituency allocation in the negotiations for the 2024 elections. The leaders, Duma Boko of the UDC, Mephato Reggie Reatile of the BPF, and Ndaba Gaolathe of the AP, are expected to meet and discuss critical matters and engage in dialogue regarding the contested constituencies.
The negotiations hit a stalemate when it came to allocating constituencies, prompting the need for the leaders to intervene. Representatives from the UDC, AP, and BPF were tasked with negotiating the allocation, with Dr. Patrick Molotsi and Dr. Philip Bulawa representing the UDC, and Dr. Phenyo Butale and Wynter Mmolotsi representing the AP.
The leaders’ meeting is crucial in resolving the contentious issue of constituency allocation, which has caused tension among UDC members and potential candidates for the 2024 elections. After reaching an agreement, the leaders will engage with the members of each constituency to gauge their opinions and ensure that the decisions made are favored by the rank and file. This approach aims to avoid unnecessary costs and conflicts during the general elections.
One of the main points of contention is the allocation of Molepolole South, which the BNF is adamant about obtaining. In the 2019 elections, the UDC was the runner-up in Molepolole South, securing the second position in seven out of eight wards. Other contested constituencies include Metsimotlhabe, Kgatleng East and West, Mmadinare, Francistown East, Shashe West, Boteti East, and Lerala Maunatlala.
The criteria used for constituency allocation have also become a point of dispute among the UDC member parties. The issue of incumbency is particularly contentious, as the criterion for constituency allocation suggests that current holders of UDC’s council and parliamentary seats should be given priority for re-election without undergoing primary elections. Disadvantaged parties argue that this approach limits democratic competition and hinders the emergence of potentially more capable candidates.
Another disputed criterion is the allocation based on the strength and popularity of a party in specific areas. Parties argue that this is a subjective criterion that leads to disputes and favoritism, as clear metrics for strength and visibility cannot be defined. The BNF, in particular, questions the demands of the new entrants, the BPF and AP, as they lack a traceable track record to support their high expectations.
The unity and cohesion of the UDC are at stake, with the BPF and AP expressing dissatisfaction and considering withdrawing from the negotiations. Therefore, it is crucial for the leaders to expedite their meeting and find a resolution to these disputes.
In the midst of these negotiations, the BNF has already secured 15 constituencies within the UDC coalition. While the negotiations are still ongoing, BNF Chairman Dr. Molotsi revealed that they have traditionally held these constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally. The constituencies include Gantsi North, Gantsi South, Kgalagadi North, Kgalagadi South, Good Hope – Mmathethe, Kanye North, Kanye South, Lobatse, Molepolole North, Gaborone South, Gaborone North, Gaborone Bonnignton North, Takatokwane, Letlhakeng, and Tlokweng.
The resolution of the contested constituencies will test the ability of the UDC to present a united front in the 2024 National Elections will depend on the decisions made by the three leaders. It is essential for them to demonstrate maturity and astuteness in resolving the constituency allocation deadlock and ensuring the cohesion of the UDC.