A foiled no confidence motion tabled by the Leader of Opposition (LOO) Duma Boko on President Mokgweetsi Masisi last month was engineered by former president Lt Gen Ian Khama and brokered by his blue eyed boy Tshephang Mabaila, WeekendPost has been told.
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) moved swiftly this week to suspend Mabaila for 60 days pending disciplinary hearing, following revelation of his involvement in trying to bring down Masisi’s administration, few months after the latter succeeded Khama. Mabaila faces not only being recalled as party candidate in Mogoditshane constituency, where he won primary elections, but also expulsion from the party.
Insiders reveal that following fallout between Masisi and Khama, the latter’s cabal orchestrated the plan to oust Masisi. This was after Masisi broke the gentlemen’s agreement that was reached prior to Khama appointing the former his deputy, and ultimately his successor. Masisi has proved to be independent man, contrary to popular believe held by many that he will become his successors’ stooge after becoming president. He has made decisions that have infuriated Khama.
Information reaching this publication indicates that, the mover of the motion, Duma Boko, who is also the leader of the opposition in parliament, was part of the greater plan to dislodge Masisi. WeekendPost has gathered from impeccable sources that, prior to tabling the motion; Boko had met with Khama at his secretive homestead of Mosu, where the greater part of the details was agreed. This was ahead of the Botswana National Front (BNF) conference in July.
Boko agreed to fight on Khama’s corner against Masisi including forcing the latter to accede to the appointment of the disgraced former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS), Colonel Isaac Kgosi. Masisi has refused to confirm the appointment of Kgosi as Khama’s private secretary, a development which exacerbated the battle between the two.
The idea was conceived in a number of secret meetings mostly held at Khama’s controversial homestead in Mosu. “This is where it was agreed that someone within the party mobilize other legislators especially within the party before charming those in the opposition,” a highly placed informant shared this week. The recent developments were substantiated by the BDP Secretary General; Mpho Balopi has likened Mabaila’s actions to a failed coup.
“You know what normally happens in a coup… and this is what was exactly planned. Unfortunately few of planned [worldwide] coups never succeed and this one also failed,” he said. He continued: “This is very serious and the President [Mokgweetsi Masisi] could not take it anymore. No one could protect his (Mabaila) actions. It is more than treasonous — this party is all about discipline.”
Balopi said this at a meeting with BDP members held in Mogoditshane on Tuesday. The main agenda of the meeting was to formally inform the constituents about the suspension of the area candidate for the parliamentary seat next year. The idea according to source was to mobilise MPs who are aligned to Khama and those who could be influenced to shift alliances.
The envisaged agent was to be an influential figure that would persuade others with ease. However, the master minds did not want any minister to do the job. Mabaila, according to a source was a strategic pawn used in the dangerous chess game. “He agreed with his master to have Boko as a ring leader to table the motion,” said the source.
Among other MPs recruited was Sethomo Lelatisitswe [Boteti East] and Dr Alfred Madigele [Molapowabojang/Mmathethe]. The motion was thrown to the dustbin immediately. Balopi has said Mabaila in his efforts to dethrone Masisi organized a number of MPs including from the opposition. The two were the starting point and it was believed that they will execute the plan accordingly since they were regarded as Khama’s allies.
Madigele was believed to be sympathetic to Khama, having served in his cabinet while Lelatisitswe is area MP for Khama’s favourite homestead Mosu, where it is believed secret meetings were held. BDP Chief whip, and legislator for Letlhakeng/Lephephe, Liekat Kablay has not been kind to Mabaila insisting that action be taken against him.
“We should respect our president and of course our constitution. We should not condone what Mabaila has done; we do not want hate but love,” said Kablay. In a letter dated August 7, 2018, Masisi wrote that reference is made to the above subject matter and “your utterances to Hon Dr Alfred Madigele and Sethomo Lelatisitswe on 10th July 2018 and letters addressed to the secretary general from the branch secretary dated 3rd December 2017 and 2nd August 2018.”
Masisi further said he determined that this is one of the exceptional circumstances in which he should exercise the powers conferred upon him as party president as espoused by Article 34.1.6 of the BDP constitution and consequently suspend Mabaila with immediate effect as a member of the party for a period of 60 days pending disciplinary action in light of the complaints laid against him.
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.