Property magnate Sayeed Jamali has overlooked the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) and issued an overhead bridge proposal connecting Central Business District (CBD) with Western-by-Pass to the Office of President, WeekendPost has learnt.
This publication has found that, it is not the first project by the property magnate to be presented to the office of the president in exclusion of lower relevant government entities. The proposal, which has been seen by this publication is said to be assessed by the government experts for consideration. The road which according to the sketch will be the first of its kind in Botswana will cross CBD through the bushy Phase II area, connecting with Western by Pass at Westgate Mall.
Jamali has business interest in both the CDB, where he owned a number of properties as well as the Westgate Mall, which also fall under his property portfolio. The bridge, although will be used by the public at large, is a strategic decision by Jamali as it will enable people to commute seamlessly between his two business centres.
“As part of our social responsibility we are trying to develop our communities while on the other hand assisting the government. By now I have given the government a proposal to construct an overhead car bridge,” Jamali told this paper last week. “I have not yet received the response on the proposal because I suppose it is still being assessed. This proposal was sent to the office of the president as the highest office to ratify. I only deal with high office.”
Jamali said unlike the Tlokweng project road project, which recent caused conflict between him and residents, the proposed project will not encroach on anyone but it will have to be first sanctioned by government. While the plan is still at an infancy stage, he said he is estimating millions of pula to be splashed on the project.
“The main reason why im constructing this is to ease congestion, I have businesses at Westgate Mall and CBD and I want to ensure they travel smoothly. The road will be for the general public to use, no tollgates whatsoever since it is not yet government policy have those,” he said. The businessman categorically stated that this proposal happened under the leadership of Ian Khama “who was very supportive to a number of initiatives aimed at assisting Batswana.”
The two enjoy cordial relationship which Jamali appreciates. “He bestowed me with an honor to show how much he appreciates my input in the lives of Batswana,” he said this pointing at certificate he received from Khama last year. While Jamali is making all these claims the relevant ministry of Transport headed by Kitso Mokaila is not aware of the impending construction. The ministry has revealed the project is not in their developmental agenda.
According to information gathered from the ministry, there is only one construction project planned within the area —the interchange planned in the Western by Pass (BTV Circle- Game City) which the government is in partnership with the World Bank. The plan already has passed through the tendering committee.
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.