The suspension of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi will come as a stern test for Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader who is being asked to drop the duo from the leadership of Umbrella party.
Gaolathe is currently the Vice President of UDC jointly with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader Dumelang Saleshando. Gaolathe is founding UDC Head of Policy and Research and also served as party Secretary General following the passing of Gomolemo Motswaledi.
Meanwhile Francistown South legislator, Mmolotsi is the Head of Mobilisation for the UDC. The suspension letters authored by Deputy Secretary General, Tseleng Botlhole, sent to the duo this week state that the duo and others who are suspended are not allowed to ‘participate in the BMD activities, formal or informal, official or unofficial for 90 days.” The two founding members of the party hold their positions at the UDC by virtue of their positions at the BMD, an affiliate of the UDC.
What aggravate the situation more, observers say, is the fact that the duo have since denounced their suspensions, stating that the suspension is invalid since the party NEC does not have the power to suspend or expel any member of the NEC. Gaolathe has remained defiant as he revealed to this publication that he and Mmolotsi will continue to carry out their official duties. He was not perturbed by suspension as he noted that he is fighting a good cause.
Meanwhile the suspension of the party’s top two will test Boko’s mantle as he is being asked to drop the two in a clearly factional battle brewing in the seven year old Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) splinter party. The UDC has chosen not to interfere in the internal matters of the BMD. Other suspended members include legislators, Phenyo Butale and Haskins Nkaigwa; as well as former Youth League President, Phenyo Segokgo; and Joyce Mothudi, Women’s Wing president.
The development will likely put Boko between a rock and a hard place, because failure to drop Gaolathe and Mmolotsi could upset the faction led by party Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General, Gilbert Mangole. While on the other hand dropping Gaolathe from his position could be seen as betrayal and may likely cause discomfort among UDC faithful.
UDC constitution, like that of BMD does not give extensive powers to its president, something which could come back to haunt the umbrella party. It was however anticipated that the effects of BMD instability could spill into the UDC as the war between the two factions rages on.
However the UDC constitution is amiable to derecognising members of UDC NEC who are suspended by their affiliate party. Exercising that option will amount to alienating Gaolathe and faction from UDC. But on paper, the matter is straight as a ruler, UDC recognises the affiliate parties and leadership positions are allocated according to the position one holds from the affiliate party – therefore the UDC has no choice but to follow the spirit of the BMD secretariat letter.
Another contention which may play out ahead of the BMD July congress is a court battle to challenge the validity of the suspension of Gaolathe and his followers. There has been a debate raging on on whether their suspension was constitutional or not with legal brains having differing opinions on the matter. When contacted for comment UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa said he is not in a position to comment on the matter because the party leadership is still studying the contents of the letter.
Last week, on the eve of Tlokweng bye-election a day after the decision to suspend the duo was taken by a Modubule/Mangole faction controlled NEC to suspend the Gaolathe and Mmolotsi —Boko assured supporters that he will stroll to victory in 2019 with Gaolathe and Saleshando.
“Ke a go winner ditlhopho tsa 2019 ke nale ditautona tsame tsotlhe tsa diparty tsa magata mmogo tsa UDC . Ke raya bone baa b sekotameng jaana eseng ope gape, le seka la tshoswa ke sepe, a mang wa rata, a mang ga a rate.” Loosely translated, “I am going to win power in 2019 with my vice presidents. I am referring to the incumbent office bearers not anyone else. Do not be shaken by anything.” In trying to hold on on to their positions, Gaolathe and his camp will tomorrow return to Letlhabile in Gaborone, a place where BMD was officially launched as a political party.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.