Newly appointed Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi is content with his appointment as selected by newly inaugurated President, Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Masisi appointed Molefhi, together with his group that challenged him at the infamous do-or-die Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Tonota congress last year. At the bloody congress, Molefhi strongly challenged Masisi for party chairmanship – a decision which was “not received well” by some in the party.
The group led by Molefhi nonetheless lost all positions to the Masisi camp and in particular Molefhi was beaten by 261 votes against Masisi’s whooping 769. As a result, following the congress, there was strong speculation that when Masisi ascends to the presidency through the contentious automatic succession, he may starve some of his Tonota challengers ministerial positions.
Meanwhile, Chairmanship in the BDP, which Masisi held from 2015 to 2018, has been mostly regarded as a pedestal to propel victors to the Vice Presidency or future presidency in line with the party custom and tradition. According to Molefhi there was nothing personal, just that the constitution allowed him to stand for the position and he exercised his right to do so.
The Selibe Phikwe East legislator’s lobby list against Masisi comprised of the then Minister of Health and Wellness Dorcas Makgato, and her Assistant Minister Phillip Makgalemele, former Assistant Minister of Basic Education Master Goya, ex Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Biggie Butale as well as the then Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Prince Maele.
In the said lobby list, Butale has been appointed Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness; Makgato is now Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs; and Makgalemele is Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture development Assistant Minister; while the Assistant Minister of Investment Trade and Industry has been allocated to Goya. Out of the lobby list, only the controversial Prince Maele has been axed.
The two camps have not been seeing eye-to-eye and their relationship is reported to have been deteriorated to unprecedented levels since the 2017 congress. However Masisi moved to appoint them even to key ministries. Profoundly, Masisi has appointed the Selibe Phikwe East legislator into the most powerful Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration hence paralyzing any prospects of factions taking shape.
Speaking to WeekendPost this week shortly after the endorsement of Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, outside parliament buildings, Molefhi said he is at ease with himself and Masisi and fully supports the new president. “I am content with Masisi. I am at ease because constitutionally Masisi is a president and is empowered to select his choice for Vice President which in turn parliament has endorsed as agreed at the party caucus. The BDP caucus unanimously agreed to endorse the President’s choice of VP. I am also satisfied with his choice without any reservation. I support both Masisi and Tsogwane in their respective new positions,” Molefhi highlighted to this publication.
Molefhi said has fully supported Masisi prior to and following the announcement of the new cabinet including his appointment. He also emphasized that there is no bad blood between him and the president and that he will continue to back him. By appointing his former challengers at Tonota, pundits observe that the groupings which were slowly taking shape into factions may be things of the past in the ruling BDP. They contend that Masisi may have nipped them in the bud through his recent cabinet appointments.
Meanwhile Molefhi conceded to WeekendPost that the closure of copper nickel mine, BCL leaving more than 4000 unemployed, has really dealt a major blow on his prospects of retaining the constituency. He said it will be a mountain to climb towards 2019.
The Minister of Justice, Machana Shamukuni says the search to appoint the Ombudsman and other critical heads of department is currently ongoing and the process is expected to be completed before end of the year.
The Ombudsman position fell vacant almost five months ago after Augustine Makgonatsotlhe was removed from the office and appointed as Ambassador to Kuwait.
Two Batswana nationals have been arrested in Zimbabwe for illegal trade in mercury. The duo is being held together with a Zimbabwean national who is being questioned by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
This publication understands that the suspects who are aged between 39 and 56 years hail from Tutume and Selebi-Phikwe. At the time of the arrest, they were found in possession of a pistol, bomb motor and four live rounds. It is understood that the suspects told investigators during interrogation that the deadly substance has a lucrative market in Far East countries, where the demand is high. It is further reported that the suspects claimed that the mercury can be easily accessed in mines through middleman.
The Namibian Lives Matter Movement has weighed in on the looming border dispute between their country and Botswana.
Commenting on reports that the Namibian Parliament has dispatched a committee along the border between the two countries on fact finding mission, the group commended“the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, De-fence and Security that will engage community members living along the Namibia Botswana Border in conducting public hearings into acts of aggression and brutality by Botswana Defence (BDF) Force against innocent and unarmed Namibians.”