Kgathi’s goodies for soldiers
Aside from President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s final State of the Nation Address, the Minister of Defense Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi is expected to be the centre of attraction during the November session of Parliament as he prepares to bring a litany of bills aimed at appeasing the disciplined forces.
Further he is expected share with Parliament a number of military deals that the Botswana has entered into with a number of fraternal friends in Asia and the Far East. Kgathi’s ministry has also been cooking up some interventions aimed at addressing challenges in the justice system. At the top of Kgathi agenda is the military deals Botswana has penned with a number of countries including South Korea. There is no doubt that Kgathi will be the busiest minister in the last quarter of the year with number of Acts expected to be revised while some are only awaiting the signature of President Lt General Ian Khama.
The acquisition of the grippen fighter jets by his ministry was as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sweden. According to government sources, the agreement was concluded last year October and the gripens are coming. Meanwhile a joint committee to coordinate the implementation of activities in the areas of cooperation has been established and adopted its action plan. It is said Khama’s visit to Sweden to acquire the fighter jets was punctuated by bilateral meetings “between the two countries at Ministerial and Head of states.”
This will pave way for the Government to Government (G2G) and Government to Business (G2B) collaboration in matters of procurement. Ministry contingent is once again anticipated to convene for implementation meeting in October still in Sweden.
Kgathi’s ministry, according to highly placed sources, has also managed to partner with South Korea in a deal tailored for cooperation in the field of Defense and logistics support and an MoU on defense was signed.
“The two MoU’s were signed this year. As part of the implementation of these agreements the defense acquisition program administrator of the Republic of Korea, Major General OH Wonjin visited Botswana in May to follow up on exploration of new areas of cooperation between the two countries.” The deal with Korea requires a much more complex coordination within the Korea republic for purpose of implementation by the Ministry and the BDF in various aspects.
Another deal has been concluded is with the Vladimir Putin’s led Russian Federation. The MoU has already seen local legal and military experts rubbing shoulders with their Russian counterparts. In addition BDF personnel will occasionally fly to India for military training and cooperation. So far 21 have been sponsored for such training. Another MoU between Botswana and Brazil on defense cooperation has been approved by cabinet. Kgathi’s ministry has also roped in Serbia hence have an MoU on defense and cooperation, mutual protection of classified information, military and technical cooperation.
The two countries according to the draft are simply resuscitating the relations between Sir Seretse Khama and former Yugoslavia (Serbia) under Tito. The two nations will work on establishing small arms and ammunition using local resources like Sua salt. Local companies involved in defense industries and those of the Czech Republic will interact to enhance cooperation. This will at the end facilitate development of MoU for defense cooperation and mutual protection of classified, information, and military. In Africa Kgathi’s Ministry has agreed MoUs on military training, cooperation and exchange of directing staff with Zambia and Zimbabwe. The two MoU’s are expected to be concluded in the last quarter of this year.
Kgathi’s promises to disciplined forces
After successfully blocking Private Member’s Bill proposals from the Selibe Phikwe West Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse, minister Kgathi will claim the shine himself when he presents a number of proposals in favour of disciplined forces.
A number of security legislations will be fast tracked to ensure that the ‘goodies’ are rolled out in a short space of time. The BDF Amendment bill will be the first and is expected to be published in the government gazette this month. The bill seeks revise the retirement ages for different ranks with among other things, long outstanding and issues of low retirement packages being addressed.
The amendment will also bring about improvement to the BDF military justice and court or martial system. Provisions relating to disciplinary offences have been comprehensively revised to cover a range of them including fraternization, sexual harassment, espionage, cheating and plagiarism. Meanwhile the Botswana Police Service Act will also be amended to incorporate all provisions relevant to administration and functionality, especially issues on appointment of civilian staff, management discipline, and termination. It will further cater for compulsory and voluntary retirement ages for different ranks.
Another amendment on the cards is that of the Botswana Prisons Service. Its fundamental changes are for the Commissioner to be the appointing authority of officers below the Deputy Commissioner rank. The bill also amends retirement ages for different ranks within the Prison department. Warder to Superintendent will be pegged at 50 years, Superintendent to Senior Assistant Commissioner will be at 55 years, while Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner will retire at 60 years. The bill is only awaiting the President to sign this month.
The last bill that will be considered is the Interstate Transfer of Prisoners Bill. The bill will create a framework for transfer of prisoners between Botswana and those countries which it has signed agreements with. The law will allow prisoners to serve the remainder of their sentences in their respective countries which will also alleviate prison overcrowding. The regulations are being finalized by the attorney general and will be ready by signature by the end of this month. This publication also learns that Kgathi will also make pronouncement geared towards introducing certain allowances for the disciplined forces.
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Mascom, Letshego partner to deliver the MyZaka instant loan
Letshego Botswana has recently partnered with Mascom to launch the Mascom MyZaka Instant Loan, a customer focused mobile money microloan service designed to provide customers with swift and convenient access to funds, driven by the underlying theme ofÂ â€śIthuseâ€ťÂ meaningÂ â€śhelp yourselfâ€ť
The loan is said to have been developed through a partnership driven by a deep customer focus with the key objectives of access, convenience and flexible financial support to customers of Letshego Botswana and Mascom through instantly disbursed short-term loans from P50 to P1 500 over the period of one month.
Letshegoâ€™s head of transformation, Molebogeng Malomo highlighted that working through agile methodologies, the partnership was able to develop and be released as what they call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or solution. â€śIn keeping up with the spirit of design thinking and agile methodologies, the experiences and viewpoints of both Letshego Botswana and Mascomâ€™s customers will be valuable to inform further enhancements to the Mascom MyZaka solution,â€ť he said.
He further noted that the partnership and the development of the MyZaka instant loan will provide both the organizations to diversify their offering and customer base, while also offering the customer more choices and flexibility to initiate and be in control of their loan requests through the self-service mobile based application.
Mascomâ€™s Chief Executive Officer, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni also alluded that their origins, priorities and initiatives are firmly rooted in Botswana and in the success of all Batswana, and that their strategy and intent is supported by embracing innovative problem-solving.
â€śThe speed with which Letshego has grown over the years gives us confidence that we have partnered with the right service provider. Their expertise and most of all, innovation, a value we both share, will be beneficial to MyZaka Mobile Money for growth and for the convenience of our subscribers,â€ť she concluded.
DCEC granted warrant to arrest Khama twins
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has been granted permission to apprehend the former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, and his twin brother Anthony Khama.
Information gathered by this publication suggests that the DCEC is actively searching for the Khama brothers, this is in connection with events that transpired whilst Tshekedi was Minister of Environment. The duo is currently in exile in South Africa together with their elder brother, and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Approximately two weeks ago, the corruption-busting agency discreetly filed for an arrest warrant that was approved by the Broadhurst Magistrate Court for the two to be taken into custody, according to a highly placed source within the government enclave.
DCEC is also said to have filed an affidavit signed by a high-ranking officer known to this publication. Reports indicate that after being presented with details of the case, the Broadhurst magistrate issued the agency an arrest warrant.
It is also believed that the agency has been conducting extensive investigations into the supposed suspects for quite some time. Furthermore, Weekend Post has it on good word that the DCEC has been looking for methods to summon the two for questioning but has been unsuccessful.
According to unconfirmed reports, DCEC met with attorney Victor Ramalepa, who refused to accept the summons, saying that he is not their attorney. Furthermore, it is believed that DCEC has enlisted the assistance of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) in flagging the suspects’ names in the International Criminal Police Organisation INTERPOL.
Responding toÂ WeekendPostÂ enquiries, DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said, â€śI am not in good position to confirm or deny the allegation,â€ť adding that such allegations may fall within the operational purview of the DCEC.
When contacted for comment, Ramalepa briefly stated that he is unaware of the purported arrest warrant. â€śI know nothing about the warrant and I havenâ€™t been served with anything,â€ť he said.
Meanwhile, former president Lt Gen Ian Khama recently issued a statement stating that DIS is intensifying the harassment and intimidation of him, family, friends and office employees.
â€śIt is reprehensible for state officials and agencies to abuse government resources to terrorise their own citizens for personal gain,â€ť said the former president in a statement.
He also stated that his brother TKâ€™s staff and security were ordered to falsely implicate him. â€śTheir desperate tactics will never work, it only serves to motivate me more to pursue regime change and free Botswana from tyranny,â€ť he said
This comes after the corruption busting agency wants to interview the alleged suspects as they are still hiding in South Africa since last year.
Despite the hostility between government and Khama family going unabated, last month, Masisi extended an olive branch to Khama in political rally, indicating that he hopes the two of them settle their differences, of which the former responded by welcoming the gesture.
Khama further said his brother, Tshekedi, will facilitate the reconciliation of his behalf. Many have indicated that Masisi did not say what he said in good faith, and was only scoring political brownies since he was in Khamaâ€™s territory in Shoshong.
DCECâ€™s Tshepo Pilane still has his mojo
Tshepo Pilane silenced his critics after being named the head of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in May of last year and served his opponents humble pie. Many believed he would only last for a month, but almost a year later, he is still standing.
Pilane, a trained soldier whose appointment surprised both the general public and some officers within the DCEC walls, has never glanced back in his duty to steer the DCEC ship forward.
It is alleged that immediately after his appointment the man embarked on a nation-wide trip touring the DCEC offices across the country in order to confirm and reaffirm the DCECâ€™s mandate. Sources from inside the DCEC claim that Pilane won the hearts of many DCEC employees due to his humility and plain message; â€śpeople at the top of the DCEC will come and go but the mandate of the DCEC remains relevant and unchanged.â€ť
Pilane was appointed the Acting DCEC Director General at a time when the organisation was undergoing turbulence through court proceedings in which the suspended Director General Tymon Katlholo had interdicted the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing the DCEC premises. At the time, the DIS had raided the DCEC offices in the absence of Katlholo claiming to be looking for high profile corruption cases allegedly held by Katlholo.
At the time Pilane was Head of the DCEC Intelligence Division holding the position of Senior Assistant Director General reporting directly to the Deputy Director General Operations Ms Priscilla Israel. Contrary to his detractors, Pilane who is a reserved and humble person by nature won the support and backing of many DCEC officers due to his unassuming nature.
In a recent questionnaire sent to the DCEC regarding Pilaneâ€™s term in office, the DCEC was resolute on its commitment towards the fight against corruption. When quizzed on allegations of rife corruption since he took over, Pilane through his Public Relations (PR) office stated that the corruption landscape in Botswana remains unchanged as the DCEC continues to receive reports on allegations of corruption with sectors such as procurement (tenders and supplies), Transport (licensing and certificates), and land (dubious allocation and collusion) still leading issues reported. This trend has been consistence in the DCEC database for more than 10 years.
When further quizzed on accusations that suggest that due to the infighting at the agency, particularly at the top management, Investigations of cases has dropped significantly the DCEC claimed ignorance to the matter, stating that they are not aware of any â€śinfightsâ€ť at the DCEC â€śat the top managementâ€ť, further stating that, investigations of cases has increased significantly, contrary to the allegations raised. â€śThe DCEC is currently seeking new ways of expediting the investigations in order to fast track its enforcement role,â€ť said the DCEC Head of Public Relations Lentswe Motshoganetsi. He further stated that the DCEC is in pursuit of high profile cases involving money and assets valued over P900 million. Three companies are involved in the scandal and two cases have already been committed to court while on one, investigations are about to be completed.
When WeekendPost inquired about Pilaneâ€™s roadmap, the DCEC stated that in the past, anti-corruption interventions were reactive, particularly in dealing with national projects that involve large sums of money. It was further started that in most instances investigating such matters takes a long time and in most instances, the money looted form Government in never recovered. As a result, the DCEC has taken a deliberate stance to attach its officers from the Corruption Prevention Division to be part of the implementation of these projects before, during, and after implementation.
The DCEC cited the Economic Stimulus Programme which, although meant to grow the economy and uplift Batswana from poverty, yielded incidents of corruption and poor workmanship. To date, the DCEC is still grappling with cases as some projects were not done, or were completed with defects beyond repair. Currently the DCEC is involved at the Ministry of Education conducting project risk management in the Multiple Path Ways Program at Moeng College and Maun Senior School. This intervention will spread to other sectors of the economy as part of the DCECâ€™s corruption prevention strategy.
Of recent, the DCEC has been in the media for all the wrong reasons following leakage of high profile cases and allegations claiming that the executive management is at war with each other more particularly with some within the agency harbouring ambitions to dethrone Pilane from the Directorship.
Although the infighting was denied by Pilaneâ€™s Office, he acknowledged that leakage of information is a problem across Government and stated that it is a pain at the DCEC. He however stated that Staff has been cautioned against leakage of investigation information and that they have roped in the Botswana Police to assist in investigating incidents of leakage. He further stated that they have increased continuous vetting and lifestyle audits for DCEC employees in order to enforce discipline.
Pilaneâ€™s term comes to an end in May 2023 after serving the DCEC for a year on acting basis. It will be in the public interest to see who will be given the baton to continue the anti-corruption journey if Pilaneâ€™s contract is not renewed. The DCEC has seen arrival and departure of Director Generals having alternated the top seat five times in less than seven years.