President Lt Gen Ian Khama has told residents of Sefhophe Village that five different manufacturing companies will set up in Selebi Phikwe in due course and will in two years’ time employ more people that the numbers that were employed by BCL Mine.
The president was addressing residents of Sefhophe on Thursday at the village kgotla where dozens of people had gathered to share with number one citizen their various challenges and needs in their village. He told residents that there are about five companies in manufacturing that have shown interest to invest and set shop in Selebi Phikwe in the next few months.
“In the next two years, the companies will employ more people than BCL,” he said. President Khama explained that the companies are in different manufacturing industries without specifying the type of manufacturing industries that will be established in the embattled town. He further explained that Government has come up with an incentive scheme to attract investors to Selebi Phikwe.
Khama said people must not be surprised that BCL was closed in 2016 as it had many problems. He said SPEDU was not formed in 2016 but way before the BCL liquidation because its closure was long anticipated. He reiterated assertions that BCL was bleeding the Government coffers dry and he drove his point home by giving an example, saying BCL one billion pula from Government which was granted, only for the mine to request another billion the following month.
Khama pointed out that Government spent around 16 million pula to pay BCL employees’ last salaries as the mine had failed to do so. He noted that Government continues to make efforts to revitalise the economy of Selebi Phikwe, pointing out that the former Bank of Botswana Governor, Linah Mohohlo has since been appointed coordinator looking into the revitalisation of the town and the region.
The president was responding to Thatayaone Mogale who had asked him to explain what the future holds for the SPEDU region after the closure of the mine which was the economic mainstay of the region. The president did not mention anything regarding BCL re-opening as some would have expected following reports of a Dubai based company’s interest in buying shares in BCL.
In a recent memorandum to Care and Maintenance teams of both BCL and Tati Nickel Mining Company, BCL Provisional Liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren, explained that the provisional liquidation order was extended to June 15, 2017. He noted that the justification of the extension was that the interested party had not yet completed its assessment and Government had allowed for some extra time to complete the assessment.
He also explained that another party had also submitted an expression of interest in all or part of the business of the BCL Group. The memorandum noted that “this offer was of sufficient seriousness to warrant a request for a limited further extension.” Perhaps the chilling part of the memorandum which also circulated in the Social Media, is the part that reads, “Although I have not received any formal notification to the effect, it now appears that the interested party that came to site in March and April 2017 will not be making an offer.”
The third party is question is a company from the United Arab Emirates which was reported to have put forward an offer for the three companies under the BCL group. Dixon-Warren clarified in this memorandum that the media reports that alluded to Government having signed a memorandum of understanding with the interest company for the purchase of BCL was actually an agreement to allow the said company to conduct due diligence but not a share purchase agreement.
“I am now in the process of writing to all parties that have expressed an interest in buying all or the majority of the assets of the BCL Group to see if any party wants to do so with the intention of recommencing operations. If not the companies will go into final liquidation and the assets will then be sold,” reads part of the memorandum from the Provisional Liquidator.
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.
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.
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.