Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Gideon Boko has spoken highly of Masisi saying he will be much better that ex President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama in terms of leadership style.
“There is nobody who can be worse ever than Khama, but Masisi is not going to take it any further. If there is any difference will be marginal since he is a civilian. So I expect him to be more amenable to engaging with me as Leader of Opposition (LOO) than his predecessor,” Boko told Weekend Post this week. He says he foresees Masisi engaging with him from time to time and respecting his office than Khama did who totally shunned it.
“Masisi will be much slightly better than Khama, at least at the level of engagement and being able to talk and listening to each other, and respecting certain protocols. For example appreciating that the LOO does not imply writing him (LOO) telling him what to do but consulting him and engaging with him robustly,” the UDC leader highlighted to this publication. When pressed further for clarity on his assertions he pointed out that: “he (Masisi) is a friend of mine. And this point is important to make.”
For the fact that he opposes Masisi, the president of the country and the BDP, does not mean he hates the man and his party. “In fact it must suggest to you that I love the country and I love the man a lot. If I would advise him and do so consistently, meticulously and persistently even in the face of hostility, it means I care even about him,” he said.
For the reason that he shouts so strongly in the throat he said is because he wants to protect these Presidents and former Presidents from having to come before courts and serve sentences in their time of retiring. I am helping them; this is what I do and I do it for free; I do it because I love the country and these presidents, he pointed out.
The opposition leader who is also an Advocate threatened Masisi and former Presidents with court action for any wrong doing: “you know why, because as we speak, ex President of South Africa Jacob Zuma appeared in court recently. So as we speak, the former President of South Korea Park Geun-hye was sentenced to 24 years in jail for corruption. As we speak the Brazilian Supreme court has ordered that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva who was president for Brazil must go to jail for 12 years for corruption.”
Under Masisi, Boko expects no major policy shift
Boko also asserted that, under Masisi presidency he still does not expect anything new and major while labeling the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as a dead horse. He insisted that Masisi won’t be any major difference. “We don’t expect anything new. It’s the same BDP that we opposed as opposition Botswana National Front (BNF). We opposed the BDP when it was led by Sir Seretse Khama, the father to Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama. We opposed the BDP down the ages and decades. We oppose the BDP today, not because of espionages and personalities. We oppose the BDP on a principle point because of its policies and its failures to transform lives of our people.”
He continued: “we oppose the BDP because of its endemic corruption and the momentous failure to turn the economy around and the momentous failure to diversify the economy. So what will now change? Will this current President Masisi change things around? Of course not, you know why? Because he is tied to a National Development Plan (NDP 11) that was passed by parliament and this is a knight in shining amour.”
According to the LOO, the BDP is incapable of reforms. He said borrowing from his leftist politics that consciousness which is the subjective instincts of the desire of the people is not shaped in isolation and the material conditions of the people exist, the conditions of abject poverty, issues of massive unemployment especially youth unemployment, conditions of the working poor like a lower bracket government employee.
For example, “I have said to the BDP introduce a minimum or living wage of 3000bwp across and they have refused. And these are the things am selling to the people and the people will make judgement based on them.” In fact he said with the BDP the material conditions will not change, instead they will worsen “and our people’s consciousness will heighten especially the young people who are the most affected. They will decide the outcome of 2019.”
So, in terms of the 2019 General Elections, he said the BDP will be out of power. “That’s it. I am certain. I am confident. We are winning in 2019 and we are winning so big. People should get ready to appreciate complete materials under BDP will not change that we need something more radical and transformative and that is the UDC. That’s what we offer. We are for change. We are advocates of change,” the Gaborone Bonnington North lawmaker insisted to this publication.
In terms of internal bickering that is currently ensuing between UDC affiliates; Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and BNF, Boko said the wrangling is normal. In the UDC he said “differences and disagreements must be there and take place. Unity must be shaken. At BNF we even believe in politics of dialectics. Dialectics say they have to be contradictions for there to be movement. We distinguish contradictions from antagonism.
Contradictions are essential for progress. ”When asked about the AP he said “AP won’t disturb us. If you are fighting and you know some will tap on your territory, you fight even more so that whatever they take do not even derail you. And that’s what we are doing.” He however added that but of course they remain open to engage with them as well because ultimately they need each other. “We are always ready. The idea is to have the entire opposition contesting as one at the polls,” he said.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.