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Lydia Saleshando was wrong – Judge Nthomiwa

Lobatse High Court Judge Godfrey Nthomiwa has thrown out with costs an application in which Boitekanelo Catering Services, a company part-owned by Professor Lydia Saleshando’s son Dr Gagoitsiwe who was challenging the cancellation of a controversial P45 million catering tender by the University of Botswana.
 

In February 2015, UB finance committee invited companies and entities with proven record of catering to provide catering services to its main campus for a period of 3 years. Boitekanelo Catering won the tender, where after, the long serving caterer at the University; Moghul catering services protested the award and demanded answers from the University. They cited that the former Deputy Chancellor at the University, Saleshando should have recused herself.

UB later cancelled the tender it had awarded to Boitekanelo granting Moghul the remedy it had sought in the first place, and it was then that Boitekanelo launched an  application to contest the cancellation of the lucrative contract that was to last for three years. In his ruling on Friday, Judge Nthomiwa stated that the tender process of UB, like in other organizations is regulated by an Act of Parliament, the UB Statute and by Regulations made under that statute.

In relation to tenders the statute empowers the university council to operate through sub-committees such as the finance committee. The finance committee is also empowered to operate for purposes of tenders of a certain financial limit through the tender committee, he said. “Members of the committee are required to disclose their interest and not to take part in the deliberations of the committee unless in the case of the council, it directs otherwise. Where a member fails to disclose his/her interest and a decision made by the committee benefits such a member directly or indirectly, the decision is null and void,” Judge Nthomiwa ruled.

The court heard that in this case, Professor Saleshando disclosed her interest as she had an interest through Borakanelo Company, a company owned by her step son. She however did not recuse herself from the three meetings of the tender committee which sifted bidding companies because the other members of the committee had allowed her continue sitting on the understanding that they will monitor the process. Eventually Borakanelo Company won one of the awards.

Judge Nthomiwa pointed that, “The main objective of a tender system is to improve fairness and objectivity in the processing and award of tender. Professor Saleshando was in my judgment conflicted although she may have been persuaded to stay by members of her committee and taken comfort in their assurances that they will monitor the situation,” ruled the judge.

“She may have genuinely remained in the meetings as she believed in her impartiality but legal requirements, practice and perceptions should have prevailed. For the purposes of promoting objectivity and transparency she could have declared her interest as she did and recused herself from the proceedings of the tender committee.”

The judge further stated that the cancellation of the decisions to award the contract to the applicant of May 11, 2016 and the subsequent ratification of the decision to invalidate the award on February 19, 2016 were properly made as they were within the financial committees’powere to do. And that the hearing before cancellation of the tender could not be done as it was worthless.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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