Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Treasurer Satar Dada has offered to reconcile former Cabinet Minister Jacob Nkate with party Chairman Mokgweetsi Masisi following a fallout which saw the two parting ways acrimoniously.
This publication has established the motor magnate; an influential member of Masisi’s camp is in a bid to soften the duo’s relations. Dada, who has been party Treasurer since 1995 has been orchestrating Masisi’s bid to retain the chairmanship together with another tycoon Samson Guma Moyo, the Tati East legislator and one time party chairman. Nkate confirmed to this publication this week that Dada has approached him and offered to have the two men on the same page again. “No need for reconciliation as we did not fight. But I am willing to meet,” he said.
Dada had initially planned to retire from the party after the July congress but reneged when dynamics in the succession plan took another twist. Dada is helping Masisi to ward-off challenges from Nonofho Molefhi who surprisingly enjoying support in the party structures. To win this battle, Dada will need Nkate on his side.
The two fell out following Nkate’s declaration that he would challenge Masisi for party presidency in 2019 if the need arises. Nkate and Masisi had reached a deal not to challenge each other for the chairmanship with Nkate settling for the secretary general position instead. Nkate had earlier told this publication that although he ceded the chairmanship race to allow Masisi to contest, there was no deal between him and Masisi. They were reports, however that the deal will see Nkate being offered the vice presidency in 2019 as reward for teaming up with Masisi.
“The idea that I have a deal with Masisi and that he will make me vice president is not true. No deal like that exists, he “had denied the claims further adding that: “Upon arriving in the country from Japan, I thought let me hear what the situation is on the ground and my conclusion was that maybe I should support him so that I do not cause too much disruptions in my party. And then we can take it from there. If between now and 2019, me and Masisi do not agree, my rights are on the table. All the options are on the table.”
WeekendPost has been reliably informed that Dada is of the view that the Masisi camp needs Nkate in its fold in order to defeat the seemingly strong Molefhi camp. Dada has served with Nkate in the Central Committee for a number of years; from the days when the latter was the party Youth Wing chairman until 2009 when Nkate ceased to be party secretary general.
Although the Masisi camp had opted to have Mpho Balopi as their new man for the secretary general position, some were of the view that Balopi does not bring a superior advantage to the camp as opposed to having Nkate. Balopi, like Nkate has also served as party secretary general from 2011-2015. Balopi was instrumental in negotiating a deal which saw Nkate giving up chairmanship ambitions and contesting the secretary general position.
WeekendPost has also gathered from sources that Dada’s extension of the olive branch to former Minister of Education will be in the interest of both the Nkate and Masisi. Masisi is seeking to consolidate his power while Nkate is making a comeback after nearly a decade outside active party politics. “A lot of things have changed since then, the structures are now occupied by new people whom he may not have relations with,” said the source.
Nkate had decided on going alone after being ditched by the Masisi camp but the massive resources behind the two camps of Nonofho Molefhi and Masisi projected a situation in which he stood very little chance of emerging victorious. “In that way, it would be easier for him to revive his political career considering that he may contest parliamentary elections and get back to cabinet if he wins,” said the source. However it is believed that Dada, on planning to bring Nkate back to Masisi’s camp, may engineer a deal which will see Nkate giving Masisi unconditional backing, both for the chairmanship and for the presidency next year.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.