In a classic case that epitomizes poor implementation, a company that was awarded work to build revenue offices in Shakawe in the Okavango area has failed to deliver on the project, forcing the Ministry of Infrastructure and Land Development to cancel the tender and demand reimbursement from the contractor.
An application has since been made to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) for the original award to be revoked and the job has been re-advertised inviting potentially bidders to tender. Area Member of Parliament, Bagalatia Arone and Okavango Sub Council Chairman want the tender to be re-awarded because “the people are suffering as a result of getting the service from Gumare which is far and has bad roads connection with surrounding villages.”
The project was awarded over a year ago by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) and the contractor in question was given P4.5 million mobilization fee. A Weekend Post enquiry revealed that the situation was so bad that the contractor only came twice to the site and disappeared after scratching the surface a little at the site.
However what set tongues wagging is the fact that the businessman behind the project recently donated P350 000 to Minister of Justice Defence and Security, Shaw Kgathi’s region in Bobonong. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) benefited as a party from the donation. Those close to the developments wondered why the company was making a donation when it appeared to have failed to honour its contractual obligation to execute a project in Shakawe, allegedly to financial stress.
This publication learns that the construction company had appealed the decision to terminate the tender; however the Ministry was not willing to overturn its decision despite numerous efforts by high ranking ministers, including Kgathi to appeal on the company’s behalf. Indications are that the ministers who were intervening were pushing the citizen empowerment agenda and the “second chance” rhetoric.
For his part Minister Kgathi confirmed that his region received a donation from a local company but would not be drawn into discussing the issue of a failed project in Shakawe because it has nothing to do with him or the BDP.BDP secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane said he is aware of the donation that was made to the BDP BOMASE region. He said the donation was made in good faith and he would not delve into issues of a project that was not delivered. He asked this reporter to address the matter with the relevant authorities at government, but he was confident that appropriate action has been followed.
The Okavango sub council chairman, Anderson Kambimba Mbaha confirmed that a Revenue Office that was scheduled to be constructed last year in Shakawe has been put on hold because the contractor could not deliver. He said as a Council they are frustrated by instances where locals are given an opportunity to bring services to the people but fail to deliver.
He said the Revenue office was going to create employment for the people of Shakawe and surrounding areas during construction and probably after construction. He said currently people are forced to follow such service to Gumare which is very far from a number of villages. He said locals run businesses hence they need a revenue office to pay their taxes and other services. He said government would benefit if the project was implemented on time.
Ministry officials are said to be concerned that a number of construction companies owned by locals are occasionally awarded contracts but more often than not fail to deliver projects. Arone said he was briefed by the Ministry concerned on the project and it is unfortunate that locals keep on disappointing when it comes to project implementation. He confirmed that the tender has been re-advertised.
“We hope the matter is resolved quickly so that the project can go on. We need this revenue office because our people are forced to seek this service as far as Maun,” he said. Arone pointed out that the ministry responsible musts ensure that the project is back on in due course under a capable company.
The MP said he was informed that the contract was terminated by the Ministry but he demanded that the mobilization fee paid to the contractor be paid back because he has failed to deliver on the project. He stated that the company was paid mobilization fee and the ministry should follow due process to recover the money. Arone further pointed out that Revenue Office is an important service centre where financial transactions occur and it would relieve people of the strain of getting service from distant places, “we also need for our infrastructure development,” he said.
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.