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Ex-minister Siele’s bogosi mediation fails

The efforts by ex-minister of Local Government and Rural Development Peter Siele to mend fences between two families which both claim are rightful heirs to the Kang chieftainship have failed, Weekend Post has learnt.

The two families; one of Basadi Seipone and the other of Thusoyaone Motaung are both professing the rights as claimants to substantive position of kgosi. The scuffle for the throne comes following the passing of Kgosi Church Pego Seipone in 2010 who was installed way back in 1972 to be precise.

Following his passing, it is understood that Siele, prior to signing out of government in 2014 after losing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections at Mmathethe/Molapowabojang constituency to Alfred Madigele, has  dealt with the matter since 2011 in his endeavour to arbitrate between the two rival bogosi families in Kang.

According to court papers seen by Weekend Post, Basadi Seipone claims that she is the rightful kgosi as her name has been confirmed by both her uncles, Kang community and later Minister Siele on behalf of government. On the other hand, Thusoyaone Motaung who is the son to Gaeboelwe Pego who at one point was kgosi and later abdicated – claims too that he is the rightful heir to the throne.

“The meetings by the Minister are admitted. It is however stated that these meetings were preceded by several other meetings one of them on the 30th April 2011 between the Seipone and Motaung families during which my name was confirmed for submission to the Minister by our elder and only surviving uncle Mr July Seipone,” Basadi Seipone claimed in the papers.

In her own account, following the two families meetings she said her name was submitted to the main Kgotla by the Uncle Mr July Seipone at a meeting held in May 2011. “The Kang community accepted my name with the only objections coming from Thusoyaone Motaung and family,” she asserted.    

Court papers further indicate that prior to the late Pego Seipone’s reign, Kang chieftainship was held by Gaeboelwe Pego, who is the father to Thusoyaone Motaung and therefore by that token – claims is the rightful heir to the throne as well. The wrestle for the throne comes as back then Gaeboelwe Pego (Thusoyaone Motaung’s father) abdicated the bogosi mantle to Pego Seipone (Basadi Seipone’s father) as he was said to be a traditional doctor and had indicated that he could not hold the position as he wanted to practice his calling.

In the court papers Basadi Seipone stated that Pego Seipone was then appointed “substantive kgosi” from 1972 but claims was never at any stage regarded as a “regent” which is at the centre of the dispute. “It was denied that Kgosi Pego Seipone acted on behalf of Gaeboelwe and held the bogosi on a regency position.”  

“No issue however arise there from as even if he was, he (Thusoyaone Motaung) should not be entitled to the chieftainship as Gaeboelwe abdicated his position and my father (Pego Seipone) was subsequently appointed as the substantive chief,” Basadi Seipone pointed out in the documents. Weekend Post has gathered that there is an ongoing argument of whether the late Kgosi Pego Seipone was elected or appointed substantive kgosi back then in 1972 which would easily give direction to solving the current bottleneck.  

According to an attorney representing Basadi Seipone, Joram Matomela of JJ Matomela Attorneys, after Basadi Seipone was appointed kgosi by government following her father’s death, Thusoyaone Motaung lodged a review application to challenge the said decision which he later withdrew in June 2016 when it was ripe for argument. “At the time of the said withdrawal Thusoyaone Motaung did not seek leave to reinstitute the said application. Neither did he indicate the reasons for the said withdrawal.”

It is understood that Thusoyaone Motaung prior to that had obtained a consent order with the government “de-recognising” Basadi Seipone without notice to her as she was not served with the statutory notice and the application. Matomela said such order was however rescinded and set aside and Thusoyaone Motaung was directed to serve in which about 2 months after the withdrawal Thusoyaone Motaung authored a statutory notice of intention to sue on 22 June 2016.

He said however at the time the application was filed the decision was almost 2 years old and Basadi Seipone was due to be coronated on the 19th November 2016 as substantive kgosi of Kang village. It is understood that prior to the coronation, Basadi Seipone has been serving as kgosi since recognition and has presided over several cases and community projects in the village in her capacity as kgosi. Minister Siele had previously called and attended several meetings at the village Kgotla in his conciliation mission but as fate would have it – could not make the grade as the matter reached a deadlock – even to this point.

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P500 million Tshesebe-Masunga road dispute lands in Court

25th January 2021

The Tshesebe-Mosojane-Masunga road estimated costs stand at P500 million, the tender which was awarded to Bash Carriers in 2017 has not taken shape four years after the project was commissioned.

Tshesebe-Mosojane-Masunga road when it was commissioned, was estimated at P500 million in value, this included construction of 22.50km of the two lane carriage way and 28.70km of access roads including associated bridge works, cross drainage works, storm water drainage works and relocation of services.

When it was first tendered the contract was awarded to Bash Couriers but was terminated after it was alleged that the contractor failed to deliver. It was said that Bash Couriers Construction Company was lagging behind schedule.

This publication visited the sites of Tshesebe-Masunga road last year December and it was evident that the project was at a standstill as deserted machinery on site could be seen with the gravel road also in a devastating state.

Information revealed then indicated that there had been issues of mining rights for aggregates, availability of structural engineers and manpower and a criteria for awarding tender to the specific company when the contract was terminated.

In 2016, as part of the ESP projects, government funded the 25 kilometres (Km) road project to link Tshesebe and Masunga.

Construction of the road, which also connects some of the villages within the district, commenced early in 2016 and was scheduled to be completed within 18 months.

The company had done nothing when their contract was terminated with allegations that it never had the capacity to carry out the project in the first place.

The major ESP project had ultimately robbed a lot of people potential employment when it succumbed to termination.

It was then that the government restarted the tendering process.

The project was awarded to Bango Trading Company and Zebra Construction in a joint venture at a value of P319 Million Pula.

However, information reaching this publication from the Ministry of Transport and Communications confirms that indeed there are no current works carried out on the Tshesebe Masunga road.

Responding to a questionnaire sent to them by this publication through their Public Relations Officer Doreen Moapare, the Ministry indicated that the Tshesebe-Masunga road project is before the courts therefore their response is limited by such a pending outcome.

“As a background the project had been awarded to Bash Carriers at a contract sum of P400, 044,365.68 to begin the works in May 2017 and complete the project in January 2019. Scopes of works included 51.2km main road inclusive of seven access roads. Due to non-performance, Bash Carriers contract was terminated on the 25th of September 2018. ”

Further, Moapare indicated that upon termination of Bash Carriers, a process began to ensure that the development project completes.

Five companies went for a selective tendering bid which she listed as; Lobkom Investments (Pty) Ltd, Landmark (Pty) Ltd and Truck Hire (Pty) Ltd Joint venture, ACE /Excavator Hire (Pty) Ltd and Asphalt Botswana (Pty) Ltd Joint venture, Cul De Sac, Bango Trading and Zebra Construction Joint venture.

“Some companies have since queried the results of the tendering adjudication landing the issue in the courts. We are currently awaiting a ruling expected in February/March 2021, and this will determine the course of action thereafter,” concluded Moapare.

At one point last year, reports indicated that Bango Trading Construction Company had faced raiding by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security, Botswana Police and Botswana Unified Revenue Services, with allegations that there was an emerging pattern targeting overscheduled construction companies with powerful political connections.

Bango Trading Managing Director, Moffat James, was reported to have had close links to former DIS Director Isaac Seabelo Kgosi. Bango Trading and Estate Construction Company which has obtained close to P 1, 5 billion government contracts under former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has been the subject of a parliamentary probe due to the many government contracts awarded to them.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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