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Kekgonegile rejects Saleshandos proposal

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership is racing against time in efforts to convince former Botswana Land Boards and Local Government Workers Union (BLLAWU) president, Goretetse Kekgonegile to withdraw his interests from Maun East constituency in favour of party president, Dumelang Saleshando.

WeekendPost has learnt that the party leadership wanted him to rather contest in Ngamiland-a request he bucked. Saleshando currently has no constituency because Gaborone central which he contested and lost in 2014 is under the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The BCP hierarchy is working around the clock to get Saleshando a constituency ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Kekgonegile, who has been campaigning to contest (for a second time) in that constituency for the upcoming 2019 general elections reportedly met with the party leadership on numerous occasions where they attempted to convince him to make way for the BCP president. Kekgonegile however, according to sources, stood his ground and did not give in to the demands.

Highly placed sources revealed that Kekgonegile, who is also the party’s North West regional Chairperson has met with a delegation headed by party vice president, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang who had persuaded him to contest the 2019 general elections at the constituency currently held by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) blue eyed boy and assistant minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Thato Kwerepe.

The BCP, it is said, was hoping that Kekgonegile would compromise for the sake of the party president and the party’s stability – “like it normally happens with other political formations”. Nevertheless, the maverick former trade unionist, it appears is resolute on facing BDP’s Konstantinos Markos to win the constituency in 2019. Kekgonegile lost the constituency by a slim margin in 2014 to Markos; Kekgonegile had garnered 5303 votes against Markos’ 6046. Osimilwe Fish of the UDC was distant third with 2062 votes. With the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the BCP working together, Kekgonegile is confident of victory this time around.

Agreeing to contest in the Ngamiland constituency for the politician, who is still trying to resuscitate his political career, would have been suicidal for Kekgonegile, his advisors say. The Ngamiland constituency is stretched and thus requires more resources than any other.
That notwithstanding BDP has proven to have a diminished grip in Ngamiland. Ngamiland remains one of the winnable constituencies for opposition.

“I didn’t agree with the idea of contesting there because, firstly I was not consulted over this, I was told after the leadership agreed. Secondly I don’t know the dynamics of the constituency (Ngami) so it is better I contest where I am cognizant of the challenges and the political landscape. Furthermore people in Maun want me here so why not heed to their call?” Kekgonegile was overheard talking to a colleague on the phone in Maun. “I have campaigned and already people know me so what would they say when I present a new one. It would be political suicide”.

It is the first time the two political leaders break ranks, Saleshando sang Kekgonegile praises prior to the 2014 elections. Since then, they enjoyed a cordial relationship until the BCP joined the UDC and the constituency demarcation factor cropped out, which threatened the relationship. When contacted for comment Kekgonegile said he would not comment on the matter because it borders on conflict of interest. “I wouldn’t comment on that one because I’m a regional chairperson and when talking about me contesting here it’s a conflict of interest. You can talk to Dithapelo Keorapetse or Kentse Rammidi on that matter more so it implicates party president. They are way above me,” the soft spoken Kekgonegile said.

Last weekend Saleshando together with UDC leader, Duma Boko held a successful star rally in Boseja ward which falls under Maun East. It is said prior to the gathering the party leadership again approached Kekgonegile on the matter and he stood by his word. The first meeting to convince him was in August this year. On the other hand there are those supporting the suggestion of Saleshando contesting in Maun East. “He is a sellable candidate to dethrone Markos,” one of the BCP members said. There has been another thought of the BCP leader contesting in Maun West, a constituency currently held by Kgosi Tawana Moremi.

“Yes he is a sellable product who can contest well in West (Maun) because Reaboka Mbulawa is unopposed and already he has one foot in parliament. If you bring Saleshando there it is easy to convince voters because he is a household name. But then when he oust Kekgonegile who is popular here, chances are they may lose,” said a source. It is said Galaletsang Mhapha is likely to represent the BMD in Maun West after he was given blessings by Moremi. However Moalosi Sebati of Alliance for Progressives is also anticipated to enter the fray with the front runner Mbulawa also in the mix.

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DPP drops Kably threat to kill case

22nd March 2023

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.

In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. “I am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,” Kablay said.

Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, “we have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchet”.

The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.

According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, “Mosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.”

Loosely translated this means, Liakat’s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.

Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.

In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson Manchwe  cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.

A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.

“In pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,” said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.

The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing “that matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.”

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DPP seizes prosecution duties from Police

22nd March 2023

Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has finally taken over prosecution from the Botswana Police Service (BPS). The police have been prosecuting for years, but the takeover means that they will now only focus on investigations and then hand over to the DPP for prosecution.

Talks of complete takeover began as far back as 2008, but for years it seemed implementation was sluggish. However, the Minister of Justice, Machana Shamukuni, revealed that the complete takeover is expected to be completed soon.

During a presentation to the Committee of Supply by Shamukuni this week, it was revealed that the project has been implemented in 22 police stations nationwide, including Maun, Selebi-Phikwe, Palapye, Francistown, and Kasane. He further stated that the project has been allocated P3,000,000 for the 2023/2024 financial year to facilitate the opening of more satellite offices for the DPP.

Shamukuni said the Lobatse station is scheduled for a complete takeover by the end of May 2023, while the Kasane DPP satellite office has been established and became operational as of February 1, 2023.

“As reported previously, preparations are at an advanced stage to open a satellite office in Tsabong to curtail expenses, as well as frequent long-distance trips to these areas, as it is currently serviced by the Lobatse DPP office,” Shamukuni said.

Shamukuni said that the takeover strategy is to enable a seamless and gradual takeover of prosecution from the BPS without overwhelming and overstretching the thin resources at its disposal.

According to Shamukuni, the implementation of the prosecution takeover project has increased the workload of the 211 prosecutors in the DPP establishment.

Furthermore, the Justice Minister said DPP statistics show that the DPP has a total of 11,903 cases and dockets as of January 2023. He indicated that this is a significant increase in the number of cases being handled by the DPP, considering that in November 2021, the DPP had just over 8,471 files.

“Out of the total case load, 8 382 are cases pending before various courts while 3521 are dockets received from law enforcement agencies of which 1 325 are awaiting service of summons while the rest are being assessed for suitability of prosecution or otherwise” said Shamukuni.

He further stated that The DPP has consistently maintained an 80% success rate in matters completed at court.

“As at the end of January 2023, the success rate stood at 82.3% against a target of 90% whilst the average performance in respect of turnaround time for conclusion of cases at court stood at 17.5 months against a target of 18 months,” he said.

BACKLOG OF CASES – LAND TRIBUNAL

Meanwhile, Minister Shamukuni has revealed that Gaborone land Tribunal is experiencing a backlog of cases. Before parliament this week, Shamukuni revealed that a total 230 appeals were completed for the period of April 2022- December 2022 and only 76.5% of them were completed within set time frame.

The minister said that the Gaborone division has experiencing a backlog of cases due to manpower constraints and he further indicated that presiding officers from other divisions have been brought in to expedite case disposal.

He further indicated that the land tribunal is a specialized court that has been empowered to resolve appeals arising from land boards. “It has been mandated to determine appeals from the decisions of Physical planning committees of Districts Councils” said Shamukuni.

Land Tribunal relocated to the Ministry of Justice from Ministry of Land and Water Affairs in November 2022.

“An amount of P37, 842,670 is requested to cover salaries, allowance and other operational expenses for the Department of the land Tribunal,” alluded Shamukuni

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BCP, AP stalemate in 7 constituencies

21st March 2023

When the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Alliance for Progressives, Botswana Labour Party (BLP), and conveners reconvene next week, the controversial issue of allocation of the seven constituencies will be the main topic of discussion, WeekendPost can reveal.

Not only that, but the additional four constituencies will also dominate the talks. The idea is to finally close the “constituency allocation phase,” which has proven to be the most difficult part of the ongoing negotiations.

Earlier this year, the two parties announced that the marathon talks would be concluded by February. Even at a media briefing last month, BCP Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile and Publicity Secretary Dr. Mpho Pheko were optimistic that the negotiations would be concluded before the end of February.

However, it is now mid-March and the talks have yet to be concluded. What could be the reasons for the delay? This is a question that both Kekgonegile and Pheko have not responded to, as they have ignored the reporters’ inquiries. However, a senior figure within the party has confided to this publication as to what is delaying the highly anticipated negotiations.

“We are reconvening next week to finalize constituency allocations, taking into account the additional four new ones plus the outstanding seven,” he explained. It later surfaced that Gaborone Central, Gaborone North, Mogoditshane, Tswapong North, Francistown West, Tati West, and Nata Gweta are all contested by both BCP and AP. This is because the other 50 constituencies were allocated by December of last year.

The three parties have failed to find common ground for the Bosele Ward by-elections. Are these constituencies not a deal breaker for the talks? “None of the constituencies is a deal breaker,” responded a very calm BCP official.

In Bosele Ward, AP has yielded to BCP, despite most of its members disapproving the decision. On the other hand, BLP has refused, and it will face off with BCP together with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The decision by BLP to face off with BCP has been labelled as a false start for the talks by political observers.

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