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.”
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.