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AP formed to accommodate anti-Masisi brigade

The newly formed Alliance for Progressives (AP) is lurking in the shadows for disgruntled Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members who are not amused by the ascendance of Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi to the highest office in the land.

This is according to Nehemiah Modubule, the chairman of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). He theorises that Ndaba Gaolathe, Wynter Mmolotsi and company were never into the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) project. “It is common knowledge that the Ndaba group was against joining UDC in 2011 as their argument was that we needed to grow our party first. The other reason they advanced then was that BMD should not join forces with the BNF as that would jeopardise maBDP who wanted BMD to be their next home if things go wrong in the BDP.

This group was worried that by joining hands with leftist organisations like the BNF madokrag won’t join us,” narrates Modubule, who further claimed to have evidence to the meetings that captured the sentiments of Gaolathe and his team.  He says they at the BMD are not surprised by the decision of AP leaders to bolt out of the UDC, “they never wanted to be part of UDC they were just bound by a majority decision supported by Gomolemo Motswaledi (MHSRIP) then,” he adds.

Modubule continues, “All one can read from what AP is doing now is to open a window for maDomkrag; they have been captured by MaDomkrag who are not happy with Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi becoming the Head of State in April  next year. The blunder they make is to forget that Daniel Kwelagobe their Godfather had promised them to come over once BMD was formed but that never came to be. I wonder what makes them to think that this time maDomkrag ba ba ba reelang will join them.”

The BMD chairman is not amused by what he terms “propaganda being peddled by AP leadership against the BMD”. He stated that the truth of the matter is that some in the AP are from families who used to run this country and accumulated a lot of wealth allegedly under dubious circumstances. “The fact that we are about to take over government makes them uncomfortable and fear that their inherited properties may not be save under the UDC leadership. Remember UDC promised Batswana that once we assume the state power we are going to investigate as to how some people acquired their many properties,” says Modubule.

He said some in the AP leadership are living in fear hence their break away from BMD by extension UDC so as to try and split the opposition vote and “secure their inheritance”. Modubule said: “this is the only reason why our colleagues have decided to form a party at the eleventh hour.”

AP WAS FORMED BEFORE THE UDC VERDICT

According to Modubule when the BMD went for the Bobonong congress those who recently formed Alliance for Progressives were busy setting up structures parallel to those of the BMD, “little did we know that they were indeed setting up structures for their new party.”
Modubule said the structures that they set up prior to Bobonong are the ones they used to hold a congress at Bobonong Junior Secondary School ignoring the properly constituted congress at Matshekge. “This is the place where Ndaba Gaolathe, Wynter Mmolotsi, Phenyo Butale and others were elected to lead the new party. There is no doubt that they went to Bobonong prepared for their own congress, just as they went to UDC with a certificate in their pocket,” he observes.

According to the BMD chairman, “it was a waste of time for UDC and BMD of the UDC to go into pains of trying to find a way of bringing some sanity in the BMD as Ndaba and company had already decided on forming a new party that would accommodate madomkrag as initially planned. I should mention here and now that I do not want to see a situation where we replace BDP with another BDP. My argument is simple I would prefer a mixture of some former BDPs and long-time serving opposition parties.”

THE SIDNEY PILANE QUESTION

Modubule says Sidney Pilane’s name is being used as scapegoat because “the truth of the matter is that Wynter Mmolotsi is a man allergic to the truth. I believe deep down in his heart Mmolotsi knows that Pilane has done absolutely nothing that warrants such hatred against him.” The BMD chairman insists that Mmolotsi started “the propaganda ya letlhoo mo go Sidney Pilane after the Gantsi Congress.”

“Comparing Sidney to Wynter one would go for Pilane as Wynter is only a propagandist who has nothing to offer to the organisation. Just imagine a whole Vice President failing to honour a congress resolution. In Gantsi a resolution was passed that all MP’s should contribute P1000.00 monthly towards running of the organisation and he failed to contribute even once. Only three MP’S contributed, that is, Ndaba Gaolathe, Gilbert Mangole and Dr. Tlamelo Mmatli,” says Modubule.

Modubule explains the Pilane contribution to BMD politics, “Pilane resigned from the BMD, though not a member of the BMD he continued to assist the movement and that is how the BMD survived for many years. At the inception of the organisation it was Guma Moyo and Sidney Pilane and to some extent Lindelwa Maripe who were footing the bill of the organisation. When Guma left, Sidney Pilane continued to assist the movement to this date.”

In his view, it is therefore illogical to say Pilane is on a mission to destroy the BMD and then target the UDC. “The man has helped in making sure that the BMD is sustained. Other people are just busy doing everything in their power to discredit Pilane while he is busy assisting the organisation to grow.” Modubule says if Pilane was sent to destroy the Party in order to weaken the opposition it means it was a mission agreed upon by all who left the BDP at the time of inception of the movement that includes the Vice President of the AP.

“How on earth would a man whose mission is to destroy use his resources to help build a movement whose sole aim is to unseat the ruling party? In the Goodhope- Mabule by elections Pilane contributed P20,000 plus food for our foot soldiers by so doing he was assisting the UDC to grow. The Vice President of AP should not think that we will buy his hatred for Pilane to be our hatred too. NO.”

Modubule says they have asked Mmolotsi on several occasions to inform them what wrong Pilane has done which could indicate that indeed he was an agent of the BDP but he has failed to do so. He says they have since concluded that his was just hatred towards Pilane.
“Pilane is not an angel, he is human and like all other human beings he is bound to have flaws but you cannot compare him to AP Vice President. I am not even sure as to how Mmolotsi got the position of Vice President when the party has not yet held a congress but he is already a Vice President,” observes Modubule.  

WILL UDC ASSUME STATE POWER IN 2019?

“I have no doubt that the UDC will assume state power in 2019 as it stands for the liberation of our people and it is a progressive movement. I wonder whether by naming some organisation progressive when its actions are regressive will make it progressive,” Modubule’s view point. He says the BMD is here to stay and they are not going to be intimidated. “We are a party in our own right le ha gone bangwe ba utsule maloko a rona. We shall re-build our beloved organisation. Call us sekgapha or moitlobo at your own risk.

Kgang ya moitlobo was used so much by the late Dr Kenneth Koma when launching NDF. He said ‘party e ile go setse moitlobo hela’. What happened; the party is no longer visible moitlobo is now the party. BMD ke molatswana o tshela mo molapong wa UDC,” says Modubule.
Modubule assured BMD members that their party is alive and kicking hence no need to panic. He says they should relax and just concentrate on rebuilding the movement.

MODUBULE THE TROUBLE MAKER?

“I can confidently tell you that I am not like that. All that you read being said by Wynter is just not true. As far as I am concerned I always stay on the side of the constitution and not a person. In 2008 when I was expelled from the BNF it was again a hot debate between me and Cde Otsweletse Moupo. The argument was on the interpretation of the BNF constitution. We (Temporary Platform) argued that 2008 was supposed to be a congress year as the last ordinary congress was held in 2005.The BNF, as some of you might know goes for its national congress after every three years.”

Modubule continues to narrate his ‘rebellious’ journey: “In 2007 comrade Moupo called a special congress and it was an elective congress. His argument was that we cannot hold the ordinary congress because we held a special congress the previous year. Our view was that the special congress does not replace a mandatory congress which was due in 2008.

The fact that we held a special congress did not automatically mean replacement of a mandatory congress. We maintained that position and it was picked by the media and we were then asked to refrain from influencing other comrades to adopt our position and that we should not discuss our position with the media. We refused to budge and we were suspended and ultimately expelled from the party for insubordination. It is surprising that some people are using this example as go tshwenya game. I was not acting as a lone wolf. I was with the likes of Elmon Tafa, Monageng Mogalakwe, Akanyang Magama, Lebogang Letsie and others.”  

Modubule continues, “I served the BNF for 27 years and held a number of portfolio responsibilities including that of the National Chairman. I also lead an organisation called United Socialist Party (PUSO) formed in 1994 which joined BNF as a group member in 1998. It means PUSO existed as a standalone party for four (4) years. I was requested by the late Dr Kenneth Koma along with Lemogang Ntime and others to re-join the BNF. I do not believe that I was a trouble maker otherwise how would they request a trouble maker to come and help revive the BNF.

It was tough when eleven members of Parliament resigned from the party along with scores of councillors. We addressed series of rallies explaining to Batswana as to what happened and comforting them.” “Those who say I was a trouble maker in the BNF know very little or nothing at all as to what was happening in the BNF then.” Modubule ended the interview with words of one of the great philosophers of the world when he said ’’He who has not investigated has no right to speak’’.

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 Zakhem vindicated

15th September 2021
Zakhem

Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership appears to be bowing down to Nicolas Zakhem’s football pressure. The development comes to the open roughly 24 hours after the Gaborone United director publicly labelled Maclean Letshwiti and his committee failures for deciding to chop five premier league clubs under the pretext of club licensing disqualification.

As early as Wednesday noon, the BFA emergency committee met with one agenda item to discuss the possibility of reinstating the clubs. This publication gathers that the committee saw it fit to pardon the five clubs without entertaining a second thought. The committee even invited the clubs to the meeting, sources say.

Late last month, the five teams were disqualified from playing in the premier league, pending the appeal outcome. The teams are Notwane, Extension Gunners, BR Highlanders, Mogoditshane Fighters, together with Gilport Lions. The immediate decision by BFA follows what Zakhem had said and advised that it was wrong to chop clubs given the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Unbeknownst to BFA leadership, observers stress that Zakhem exerted public pressure and influenced them to change tone without asking. At the meeting, BFA president Maclean Letshwiti, his vices, Marshlow Motlogelwa and Masego Ntshingane, Aryl Ralebala, the Botswana Football League (BFL) chairman, together with Alec Fela, an ordinary member in the now stubborn NEC.

However, the reactive move by the association to reinstate the clubs is highly welcomed in certain quarters, but it also appears to have left a permanent scar, especially at BFL. As things stand, the general feeling on the ground is to oust chairman Ralebala for failing to defend these clubs before the eyes of President Letshwiti.

This publication has intercepted an ongoing petition to unseat Ralebala and his deputies from the BFL board. Strange enough, the signed petition has thus far attracted clubs with household influence in the league itself. GU, Township Rollers, Notwane, Extension Gunners, Police XI are some clubs that have already appended their signatures to have Ralebala removed.

The big clubs are believed to fighting for principle and demand fair governance at BFL. The reality is that these clubs command a large following, and sponsors can always have a say based on their presence.

When approached for clarity, Ralebala said he could not comment on allegations or issues that lack substance. He concedes that he has heard about the rolling petition but is yet to lay his eyes on it.
“I have heard about the petition, but I don’t know where it is coming from. I think it is best you ask those who have signed it. My focus is to commence the league and make sure everything is on point,” said Ralebala.

Football observers state that Ralebala, together with Letshwiti, are now faced with a dilemma. Reports coming from Lekidi Football Centre, although yet to be fabricated, are that the big guns lead others to form a parallel structure where they will play on their league. The clubs are angry at their chairman for taking many of the instructions from the BFA boss, and already a general melee is gathering traction that the two must resign as football has lost direction.

Zakhem says, although he supported Letshwiti, he has a sense of duty to stand for the truth. “I knew I supported Letshwiti and his troops, but you see, these guys have lost direction. I have long advised them that chopping clubs like this will cause confusion and delay progress, but they cannot listen. Letshwiti gave BFL autonomy, but I do not know why he is still interfering,” Zakhem said.

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The untold brighter side of the P100bn case fall

15th September 2021
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi

You may, by now, have heard about the dark side of the high profile P100 billion case, but wait, there is also the brighter side. Staff Writer AUBREY LUTE explores the positives accruing from the fall of the country’s biggest financial ‘scam-dal’.

A chance to fix the country’s financial record

They have not publicly been saying it, but the state agencies and the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, have been at pains to explain and rationalise how an amount almost equal to the country’s GPD left the central bank.

Many insiders attributed the country‘s troubled financial status to the case, including the grey-listing, non-compliance and identified deficiencies, some of which were hitting citizens around the globe. Botswana was in 2018 taken aback by FATF news that the country has been listed alongside countries that do not comply with (AML/CFT). The European Union Commission later flagged Botswana in March 2019 for lacking strategic deficiencies in AML/CFT regulations.

A chance to restore the dignity of the law enforcement arms

The case, without a doubt, was a distraction object on the law enforcement agencies, which spent a chunk of their time bickering and finger-pointing. A leaked audio recording exposing the explosive meeting of the law enforcement arms of government, being the Intelligence Services, Corruption and Economic Crimes agency, and the Prosecutions division summed it all.

The case presented a monumental crisis threatening the core of their being. Following these developments, the Presidency, clearly under the influence of a tripartite member, took a spine-chilling decision to disband the DCEC, a move that was saved by the organisation’s founding director- Tymon Katlholo’s bold protest.

The DPP, the Police, and the DCEC staff were used in the process to carry out bizarre instructions, some of which left the state with an egg on its face. Mistrust and backstabbing were the order of the day within the law enforcement agencies, and the P100 billion case was to blame. “Some badly wanted the plot executed while the other side badly wanted it to end to restore sanity,” an insider says.

The source further adds that “if the case did not end soon, it was going to end a lot of people’s relationships and careers because those who refused to carry the insane instructions were seen as sympathisers to former President Ian Khama.” With the case having fallen, these agencies can reflect, reconcile and go back to work.

A chance to fix diplomatic relations…

It was not only South Africa that was accused of Sabotaging Botswana’s prosecutorial goal. The state also accused several countries of refusing or delaying to assist in the process. Of all the nations, only South Africa has decided to take Botswana to task, perhaps on its proximity to Botswana. Others long ignored Botswana’s requests for assistance to the frustration of former DPP deputy director who repeatedly told the courts that they were struggling to get responses from the international community. With the case having fallen, Botswana may get a chance to face her actions, apologise and rectify the promise that lessons have been learnt.

Pressure off the shoulders of those who have to account…

The case did not only affect the law enforcement agencies. All the stakeholders were put in the spotlight to provide answers. The first to bolt out of the circle was the central bank, Moses Pelaelo, who, like DCEC director-general, long declared the case a scam. He told the world that his books were in order and that no money was missing risking his high-paying job.

According to insiders, his superiors, the then Minister of Finance and Development Planning – Dr Matsheka and his subordinate, Dr Wildfred Mandlebe, were only whispering, without success, to the Gods that there is no money missing.

So concerned and under pressure was Dr Sethibe- then the head of the Financial Intelligence Agency- who, like his Ministry supervisors, was engaging in silent screams to warn the powers that be, all in vain. He later jumped the ship to his former employer, the University of Botswana, allegedly to protect his name and career.

At the time of the fall of the case, the DIS and the DPP were at advanced plans to higher American to come and probe the Bank of Botswana’s servers in a move that bankers feared could compromise them further.

The case was bleeding the country’s coffers…

Had it not ended, the case was likely to end up ‘genuinely’ costing the country P100 billion Pula duo to its complexity and challenges. Insiders say sources who had sold the law enforcement agencies some falsified documents were paid handsomely.

Moreover, investigations were costly as they involved the international community and frequent travelling. “We are told there was also motivation for some officers to act abysmally and out of their way,” an insider said.

Lessons leant for public officers…

Public officers are often duty-bound to obey superiors instructions, no matter how irrational. The case was an eye-opener to many public officers that principle pays in the discharge of one’s duty at all times. The professional careers of the P100 billion case conspirators are currently in shambles. And as expected, the influencers, if at all there any, are nowhere to be seen.

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Botswana could exit FATF “greylisting” in October 

15th September 2021
President Dr Masisi & Minister of Finance and Economic Development Peggy Serame

Botswana remains on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the “black list” of the European Union, a status quo that highlights the country as one of the high-risk jurisdictions to deal with money.

The far-reaching implications of these listings is a compromised Foreign Direct Investment drive for Botswana. In particular, these listings mean investors now have to exercise some caution and restrain when thinking about putting their money in Botswana. On Tuesday, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Peggy Serame said that Botswana could see itself out of the “undesirable listing” by October this year.

Serame called for united and concerted efforts towards liberating Botswana out of this financial noncompliance tag. She said the delisting could be archived by concerted efforts from all stakeholders: players in the financial services sector, non-financial services businesses, regulators, and every individual who deals with transactions.

Botswana is a founding member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG). This regional body subscribes to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.

One of the membership obligations to ESAAMLG is for Botswana to be peer-reviewed by the other Member States and other international bodies like the World Bank, IMF or FATF.
The most recent assessment for Botswana to gauge compliance with the FATF standards was conducted by ESAAMLG in 2016 and culminated with publishing the Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) in 2017.

Following the discussion and adoption by the Task Force and approval of the MER by the Council of Ministers, the country was placed under enhanced follow-up.  This led to a one (1) year observation period in which the country was expected to improve its technical compliance (legislative framework) by correcting the deficiencies identified in the MER.

After one year, in October 2018, the Task Force decided that the country was not taking sufficient steps to implement the recommendations made by the assessors in the MER.  The Task Force recommended that Botswana be referred to the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) for monitoring and potential listing often referred to as the ‘FATF greylisting”.

Following the FATF greylisting, the EU placed Botswana on its list of high-risk third countries, often referred to as the ‘black list.’ In 2018, Botswana and FATF agreed to an Action Plan that had six items with several timelines. In terms of Risk and coordination, Botswana was told to develop and implement a risk-based comprehensive national AML/CFT strategy, assess the risks associated with legal persons, legal arrangements, and NPOs, and operationalize the modernized company registry to obtain and maintain essential information and Ultimate Beneficial Ownership information.

Botswana was further advised to enhance the capacity of the supervisory staff, including by developing risk-based supervision manuals and providing adequate training, implement risk-based AML/CFT supervision and impose sanctions against violations.

Furthermore, Botswana was instructed to improve analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence by the Financial Intelligence Unit, including operationalizing an online Suspicious Transactions Report filing platform and prioritizing high-risk predicate crimes, and enhancing the use of financial intelligence among the relevant law enforcement agencies.

Regarding terrorism financing investigation, Botswana was instructed to develop and implement a Counter Financing of Terrorism Strategy, operationalize the Counter-Terrorism Analysis and Fusion Centre, and ensure the Terrorism Financing investigation capacity of the law enforcement agencies.

In 2018, the 11th Parliament passed 25 pieces and, later, six others related to AML/CFT/CFP. At the just ended Parliamentary session of the 12th Parliament, lawmakers passed the Financial Intelligence (Amendment) Act to address the definition of beneficial ownership.

Cabinet approved the National AML/CFT/CFP Strategy of 2019-2024 in October 2019. At the June 2021 FATF Plenary meetings, the FATF made the initial determination that Botswana had substantially addressed the Action Plan and that this warranted an on-site assessment to verify that the implementation of Botswana’s AML/CFT/CFP reforms is in place and is being sustained.
Furthermore, an assessment was to be instituted to check if the necessary political commitment remains to sustain implementation in the future.

Serame said in a televised press briefing that Botswana’s exit from the FATF grey list and the EU black list would be determined by the outcome of the on-site assessment, which will be discussed at the FATF Plenary in October 2021.

She revealed that the Botswana delegation attended the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group 42nd Task Force of Senior Officials meeting from the 26th August to the 6th September 2021, followed by the Council of Ministers on the 7th September 2021.

She told the media that at these meetings, Botswana was commended for making progress in complying with the FATF standards by addressing deficiencies in her AML/CFT/CFP framework.
“We are making all these efforts of complying with the FATF standards so that we guard against our financial system being used for money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing,” she said.

“We are hopeful that at the October 2021 FATF Plenary meetings, the outcome of the on-site visit undertaken by the FATF in August 2021 will bear positive results, leading to Botswana being delisted from the FATF greylisting,” she said. However, Minister Serame called on all stakeholders to support the government to remove Botswana from the greylisting.

“As Government continues its efforts of putting in place the necessary legislative and institutional framework, due diligence must be exercised by all institutions, including the ordinary Motswana, so that no one is found dealing with financiers whose credibility is wanting,” she said.

The minister reiterated that all players in the financial services sector had a role to play: “It is important that where unsolicited funds are offered, the individual or entity so receiving the offer must ensure that the funds being offered are not associated with unlawful acts. If we are not diligent, criminals may use unsuspecting people and entities to launder proceeds of crime.”

She reiterated that the government is committed to doing all within its power to remove the country from the FATF “grey list” and the EU “black list”. However, she noted that to achieve that requires the cooperation and assistance of financial institutions, designated non-financial businesses and professions and individuals to ensure full compliance with AML/CFT/CFP rules and regulations.

“These efforts will not only assist us to be removed from these mentioned lists but are for the benefit of our country to maintain a high standard of financial prudence and an economy which genuine investors can have the confidence to invest in,” Serame explained.

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