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Isaac Kgosi not going alone

Former Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director, Isaac Kgosi will not be the only casualty in the new President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s ‘clean up’ campaign. Many more are bound to face the axe as the mission takes shape, WeekendPost can reveal.

In an ambush style, President Masisi removed Kgosi from office on Wednesday, appointing Brigadier Peter Magosi as the new director. Masisi did not even meet Kgosi; Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi was the bearer of the “bad news”.
Impeccable sources within the presidential circle say President Masisi’s axe is yet to accomplish its mission as he still wants to send home a number of people in the Office of the President, with a large number coming from the Intelligence department. This publication is aware of at least four names that are to join Kgosi.

“President Masisi says while he cannot fire everyone, he wants to do a lot of cleaning as possible as he can. A lot of people are on the list to follow Kgosi. And no one is aware of their exit just like Kgosi was caught off guard,” narrated the source. She stated that Kgosi never had a thought that he could be shown the door. Even when he was called to the office of PSP, Morupisi, Kgosi never had an idea that Morupisi would hit him with the bad news. Morupisi had kept the communication a top secret just as the President had asked him to do – probably this is the reason why Morupisi had won loyalty to most of his seniors – he is good at keeping the elders’ secrets safe.

“Had Kgosi sensed his eminent departure beforehand, things could not have been as smooth. But, the idea worked because he was caught off guard in a lot of things in his office.” WeekendPost is also alive to the allegations that President Masisi wants Kgosi to face the wrath of the law just like any other person, if there is any wrong he has committed. “After all is put together as there appears to be a lot of allegations besides what is already in the public domain, President Masisi could allow for Kgosi’s possible prosecution.”

In a modus operandi that smacks of poor governance, Kgosi is said to have been jacking almost all the departments in the Intelligence office alone. Other senior people were just there doing nothing and getting salaries at the end of every month. It is said that President Masisi’s man of choice, Brigadier Magosi is expected to bring a totally new perspective to the intelligence office. “He is expected to work hand in hand with his subordinates and empower them as it is procedural.”

In an interview on Thursday, Magosi said he was not in a position to talk to the media as he had just assumed office. On allegations that former President Lt General Ian Khama gave Kgosi a contract of 10 years just before leaving office in April, the PSP, Morupisi stated that, “Kgosi was not working on contract. He was permanent and pensionable. And he is going to get his terminal benefits like any other civil servant. And I will not discuss reasons for his dismissal as they are personal.”

“He was permanent and pensionable while under the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), and he was just enrolled in the intelligence security just like that. Usually people opt whether they want to work on a contractual agreement or on permanent basis,” added Morupisi, who also dismissed allegations that Kgosi was going to be given the position of Ambassador.

When asked to remark on the comments trending on social media, that he should be the next to be shown the exit door, Morupisi said, “People can say whatever they want to say about me, but the bottom line is they do not determine whether I should stay or not. Nna I am working, and I am still going to work,” he said confidently.

WHAT BROKE THE CAMEL BACK?

Observers are of the view that Kgosi’s recent performance before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which is investigating alleged maladministration at the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) could have been the final straw that broke the camel’s back, President Masisi has had enough. The axed DIS boss had declared that he does not account to anyone.  


At the PAC hearing Kgosi refused to divulge vital information relating to the DISS involvement in the P250 million NPF scandal citing reasons that the information was classified. Kgosi was adamant that the Act that established DISS protected him for not revealing the information to the committee. Following a stalemate that ensued in the PAC proceedings, PAC wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe seeking the permission to invoke section 13 of the Powers and Privileges Act.  


The Act itself grants the speaker the power to use his or her own discretion in ruling on whether the person appearing before a parliamentary committee can be compelled to answer as required by the committee or not.  The sitting president too, Masisi has the power, as per the Powers and Privileges Act to recuse Kgosi from answering the probing PAC.

Kgosi had last year requested P250 from NPF for building of fuel storage reserves in strategic places but he later diverted the funds requesting for a variance at the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Mineral Resources. So far only three people; Bakang Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang have been charged in relation to the said sum while Kgosi has been instructed to return the same funds by taking it from this year’s financial year.

MASISI HEAD ON WITH KHAMA

However, more drama is expected between the trio of Lt Khama, President Masisi and the ousted Kgosi. While he was still in power, Lt Gen Khama forced Brigadier Magosi into early retirement. In his dismissal letter, Magosi was never made aware of reasons for his dismissal albeit he was paid his terminal benefits.

As they would say, what comes around goes around, barely two months after Lt Gen Khama left the office of the president; President Masisi has moved swiftly to remove his predecessor’s favourite civil servant, Isaac Kgosi.  In fact, Masisi has dismissed Lt Gen Khama’s favourite and replaced him with his rival.  As things stand, Kgosi will get his terminal benefits.

TSHEKEDI AND MASISI?

After he was discarded by the Khama administration Magosi found favour on the side of Former President Khama’s brother, Minister of Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT), Tshekedi Khama who has never been a favourite of Isaac Kgosi. In the aftermath of Magosi’s sacking, Tshekedi volunteered to give him a position in his ministry as the head of intelligence for the Department of Wildlife.

The move left many tongues wagging as people said it could signal a fall out between the two brothers. However, WeekendPost can confirm that Magosi never joined the Wildlife Department full time. He spent most of his time at the cattle post and was only called in during tough situations to assist in anti-poaching missions.

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Mowana Mine to open, pay employees millions

18th January 2022
Mowana Mine

Mowana Copper Mine in Dukwi will finally pay its former employees a total amount of P23, 789, 984.00 end of this month. For over three years Mowana Copper Mine has been under judicial management. Updating members, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) Executive Secretary Kitso Phiri this week said the High Court issued an order for the implementation of the compromise scheme of December 9, 2021 and this was to be done within 30 days after court order.

“Therefore payment of benefits under the scheme including those owed to Messina Copper Botswana employees should be effected sometime in January latest end of January 2022,” Kitso said. Kitso also explained that cash settlement will be 30 percent of the total Messina Copper Botswana estate and negotiated estate is $3,233,000 (about P35, 563,000).

Messina Copper was placed under liquidation and was thereafter acquired by Leboam Holdings to operate Mowana Mine. Leboam Holdings struck a deal with the Messina Copper’s liquidator who became a shareholder of Leboam Holdings. Leboam Holdings could not service its debts and its creditors placed it under provisional judicial management on December 18, 2018 and in judicial management on February 28, 2019.

A new company Max Power expressed interest to acquire the mining operations. It offered to take over the Mowana Mine from Leboam Holdings, however, the company had to pay the debts of Leboam including monies owed to Messina Copper, being employees benefits and other debts owed to other creditors.

The monies, were agreed to be paid through a scheme of compromise proposed by Max Power, being a negotiated payment schedule, which was subject to the financial ability of the new owners. “On December 9, 2021, Messina Copper liquidator, called a meeting of creditors, which the BMWU on behalf of its members (former Messina Copper employees) attended, to seek mandate from creditors to proceed with a proposed settlement for Messina Copper on the scheme of compromise. It is important to note that employee benefits are regarded as preferential credit, meaning once a scheme is approved they are paid first.”

Negotiated estate is P35, 563,000

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Councilors’ benefits debacle-savingram reveals detail

18th January 2022

A savingram the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development sent to Town Clerks and Council Secretaries explaining why councilors across the country should not have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term has been revealed.

The contents of the savingram came out in the wake of a war of words between counselors and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The councilors through the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) accuse the Ministry of refusing to allow them to have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term.

This has since been denied by the Ministry.  In the savingram to town councils and council secretaries across the country, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Molefi Keaja states that, “Kindly be advised that the terminal benefits budget is made during the final year of term of office for Honorable Councilors.”  Keaja reminded town clerks and council secretaries that, “The nominal budget Councils make each and every financial year is to cater for events where a Councilor’s term of office ends before the statutory time due to death, resignation or any other reason.”

The savingram also goes into detail about why the government had in the past allowed councilors to have access to their terminal benefits before the end of their term.  “Regarding the special dispensation made in the 2014-2019, it should be noted that the advance was granted because at that time there was an approved budget for terminal benefits during the financial year,” explained Keaja.  He added that, “Town Clerks/Council Secretaries made discretions depending on the liquidity position of Councils which attracted a lot of audit queries.”

Keaja also revealed that councils across the country were struggling financially and therefore if they were to grant councilors access to their terminal benefits, this could leave their in a dire financial situation.  Given the fact that Local Authorities currently have cash flow problems and budgetary constraints, it is not advisable to grant terminal benefits advance as it would only serve to compound the liquidity problems of councils.

It is understood that the Ministry was inundated with calls from some Councils as they sought clarification regarding access to their terminal benefits. The Ministry fears that should councils pay out the terminal benefits this would affect their coffers as the government spends a lot on councilors salaries.

Reports show that apart from elected councilors, the government spends at least P6, 577, 746, 00 on nominated councilors across the country as their monthly salaries. Former Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso once told Parliament that in total there are 113 nominated councilors and their salaries per a year add up to P78, 933,16.00. She added that their projected gratuity is P9, 866,646.00.

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Households spending to drive economic recovery

17th January 2022

A surge in consumer spending is expected to be a key driver of Botswana’s economic recovery, according to recent projections by Fitch Solutions. Fitch Solutions said it forecasts household spending in Botswana to grow by a real rate of 5.9% in 2022.

The bullish Fitch Solutions noted that “This is a considerable deceleration from 9.4% growth estimated in 2021, it comes mainly from the base effects of the contraction of 2.5% recorded in 2020,” adding that, “We project total household spending (in real terms) to reach BWP59.9bn (USD8.8bn) in 2022, increasing from BWP56.5bn (USD8.3bn) in 2021.”  According to Fitch Solutions, this is higher than the pre-Covid-19 total household spending (in real terms) of P53.0 billion (USD7.8bn) in 2019 and it indicates a full recovery in consumer spending.

“We forecast real household spending to grow by 5.9% in 2022, decelerating from the estimated growth of 9.4% in 2021. We note that the Covid-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on economic activity resulted in real household spending contracting by 2.5% in 2020, creating a lower base for spending to grow from in 2021 and 2022,” Fitch Solutions says.

Total household spending (in real terms), the agency says, will increase in 2022 when compared to 2021. In 2021 and 2022, total household spending (in real terms) will be above the pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019, indicating a full recovery in consumer spending, says Fitch Solutions.  It says as of December 6 2021 (latest data available), 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose, while this is relatively low it is higher than Africa average of 11.3%.

“The emergence of new Covid-19 variants such as Omicron, which was first detected in the country in November 2021, poses a downside risk to our outlook for consumer spending, particularly as a large proportion of the country’s population is unvaccinated and this could result in stricter measures being implemented once again,” says Fitch Solutions.

Growth will ease in 2022, Fitch Solution says. “Our forecast for an improvement in consumer spending in Botswana in 2022 is in line with our Country Risk team’s forecast that the economy will grow by a real rate of 5.3% over 2022, from an estimated 12.5% growth in 2021 as the low base effects from 2020 dissipate,” it says.

Fitch Solutions notes that “Our Country Risk team expects private consumption to be the main driver of Botswana’s economic growth in 2022, as disposable incomes and the labour market continue to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
It says Botswana’s tourism sector has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the related travel restrictions.

According to Fitch Solutions, “The emergence of the Omicron variant, which was first detected in November 2021, has resulted in travel bans being implemented on Southern African countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Eswatini. This will further delay the recovery of Botswana’s tourism sector in 2021 and early 2022.”  Fitch Solutions, therefore, forecasts Botswana’s tourist arrivals to grow by 81.2% in 2022, from an estimated contraction of 40.3% in 2021.

It notes that the 72.4% contraction in 2020 has created a low base for tourist arrivals to grow from.  “The rollout of vaccines in South Africa and its key source markets will aid the recovery of the tourism sector over the coming months and this bodes well for the employment and incomes of people employed in the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants and hotels as well as recreation and culture businesses,” the report says.

Fitch Solutions further notes that with economies reopening, consumers are demanding products that they had little access to over the previous year. However, manufacturers are facing several problems.  It says supply chain issues and bottlenecks are resulting in consumer goods shortages, feeding through into supply-side inflation.  Fitch Solutions believes the global semiconductor shortage will continue into 2022, putting the pressure on the supply of several consumer goods.

It says the spread of the Delta variant is upending factory production in Asia, disrupting shipping and posing more shocks to the world economy. Similarly, manufacturers are facing shortages of key components and higher raw materials costs, the report says adding that while this is somewhat restricted to consumer goods, there is a high risk that this feeds through into more consumer services over the 2022 year.

“Our global view for a notable recovery in consumer spending relies on the ability of authorities to vaccinate a large enough proportion of their populations and thereby experience a notable drop in Covid-19 infections and a decline in hospitalisation rates,” says Fitch Solutions.
Both these factors, it says, will lead to governments gradually lifting restrictions, which will boost consumer confidence and retail sales.

“As of December 6 2021, 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose. While this is low, it is higher than the Africa average of 11.3%. The vaccines being administered in Botswana include Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson. We believe that a successful vaccine rollout will aid the country’s consumer spending recovery,” says Fitch Solutions.  Therefore, the agency says, “Our forecasts account for risks that are highly likely to play out in 2022, including the easing of government support. However, if other risks start to play out, this may lead to forecast revisions.”

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