Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) young activist Sk Boss Jerry is challenging party veteran Satar Dada for the party Treasurer position at the upcoming July Tonota Congress.
Jerry, a party activist who has served in lower party structures thinks he has what it takes to run for the position given the fact that over the years, nobody has thought about challenging for it. Dada has been at the helm of the BDP treasury for more than two decades now. In 1995 at the height of BDP factional wars, Dada profited from Ponatshego Kedikilwe’s decision to contest the party chairmanship against Mompati Merafhe.
Kedikilwe had been party treasurer for some time until the chairmanship post became available owing to the death of then party chairman Peter Mmusi. Ever since his election in 1995, the BDP treasury has been synonymous with the name Dada, a motor magnate who is also BDP’s chief financier. The Young Turk, currently under the employ of Mineral Services Botswana said he does not understand why the position of the treasurer is always being associated with an individual’s wealth.
“It not about how much money Dada is making. It is about managing the finances of BDP,” he told this publication in an exclusive interview this week. He said being a treasurer of a party of BDP’s stature would be a walk in the park as there is no how he can struggle to attract financers for the BDP. Jerry is confident that he will continue to source funds from various individuals to fund the party but noted that his main worry is the way in which party activities have been financed over the years.
Jerry told this publication that in him coming on board, he will need to introduce some reforms to the BDP treasury. He is of the view that the party should develop other sources of funding models which are sustainable and will also empower lower party structures. “Back in the days the party used to have activities like choir competitions and Miss BDP. We used to raise a lot of funds for lower party structures, but we do not have that now,” he said.
One financial policy which Jerry is determined to implement once in the position of party treasurer is to consider a special funding model for councillors, whom he believes are a vital cog in keeping the party in power. “I am of the view that councillors need more money to campaign than MPs. These are also individuals who work with the people at grassroots level,” he said.
Jerry contended that currently, parliamentary candidates receive better funding than councillors, yet it is councillors who are doing the work for them and the party. Every general elections Dada’s motor centre sponsors the party with 57 vehicles, used to help the party coordinate its campaign activities. Jerry said it is necessary that those vehicles used during elections should remain within the constituency for daily use.
“If it means every constituency buying those vehicles let it be, because it is necessary that party structures always have resources,” he remarked. Jerry said what the party has also been overlooking is the fact that different constituencies have different financial needs. He said this is something which he will give priority once in charge of the treasury.
The youthful activist also criticised the party for sidelining youth in leadership positions. He said he wishes BDP would take a radical step and ensure that the Specially Elected MP positions and councillorships should strictly be the preserve of the youth. He said this will benefit the party in the long run because such practice will ensure that the party grooms credible future party and national leaders. He said BDP is being outdone by UDC which has elected young people such as Phenyo Segokgo and Kagiso Thutlwe to lead councils.
“Young people also believe in what they see. Having young people in leadership positions will also help BDP to attract young voters to its ranks,” he noted. “Already majority of councillors are elderly people, so there is no need in bringing more old people through specially elected dispensation. We need the voice of young people to keep the opposition on their toes. BDP should be setting the tone on that, not the opposition,” he asserted.
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.