Not many are raising their hand to financially support Nonofo Molefhi’s bid to become the next chairman of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in July this year when the party goes for its elective congress.
While he appears to have troops on the ground who is vowing to vote him, the moneyed businessmen are taking opposite directions when they see him coming from a distance. Molefhi’s bid to challenge Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi for chairmanship is seen as provocation towards those holding power especially after President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama declared that he supports his Vice President for chairmanship. Insiders in the Molefhi camp say they are finding it difficult to attract money people like their colleagues in the Masisi camp, “but we are going to demonstrate that it is not always about the money,” said a staunch Molefhi supporter.
Molefhi opened a command centre in Gaborone this week which will be manned by four fulltime staff members until congress date. The command centre is to help mobilise and coordinate for the campaign. Weekend Post learns that a couple of good local Samaritans have pledged to pay the salaries of the four employees.
Reliable sources within the Molefhi camp told this publication that attempts to solicit sponsorships from well-known Indian business people hit a snag recently. The businessmen are said to asked a number of questions. They demanded to know why Molefhi is challenging the Vice President while it is clear that President Khama wants him to continue as chairman. Molefhi is also accused of posturing for the Presidency by the Indian businessmen.
Incumbent treasurer, Satar Dada who is a known financier of the BDP and a well networked businessman is funding the Masisi camp and it expected that he will influence his associates to go in his direction. Samson Guma Moyo, who is at times accused of throwing money around at congresses is a staunch Masisi supporter and he is fingered in the money game. Molefhi only boasts of Jagdish Shah at the moment, his team says most of their funds come from hard working party members who want to see democracy at work in the party.
The money competition is getting tough for the Molefhi camp, in Kweneng District Council; councillors are now being offered loans. According to sources they only pay the interest for the loans until they are given their packages at the end of their terms and that’s when they will settle the loans. To further solidify the arrangement, plans are under way to register a micro lending company to create debt for the Councillors.
Allegations that the Directorate on intelligence Security is also purging those linked to the Molefhi camp are said to be contributing to the cold reception the camp is getting when it knocks doors asking for money. BDP insiders posit that the DIS will definitely be pushing the pro-Masisi agenda because he assures continuity.
Further indications are that the DIS played a major role in the appointment of Masisi as Vice President by the President Khama. DIS boss, Isaac Kgosi would not allow a situation where his boss, President Khama, selects a successor who could become disloyal in an instant. Vice President Masisi is seen as someone who will be independent but still continue the legacy of President Khama.
As for Molefhi he has not been a man of many words, he is just about a closed book to the intelligence community, they do not have his plans. There are fears that allowing him to be chairman will put him closer to presidency, which will be a predicament for the administration whose term expires on 1st April 2018.
Molefhi has to contend with the fact that some of the Ministers associated with the Masisi camp have close links with big businesses in Gaborone and they are said to be soliciting financial support for the Vice President. It is understood that very soon the Vice President will be touring the whole country side by side Minister Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi to state his case for the chairmanship. Venson-Moitoi could be rewarded with Vice Presidency in April next year. As for the entire campaign, BDP insiders argue that money is going to be a factor in this race; the Masisi camp has it, where will the Molefhi camp get it?
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.