A hardliner ex-legislator Robert Masitara has this week found himself at odds with his party again and threatened with a disciplinary hearing by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top politburo.
Weekend Post has established that on Tuesday night a member of BDP in good standing who is also a cabinet minister, known to this publication, called the former legislator to tip him off of the imminent possibility of a disciplinary hearing. According to information gathered by this publication, the BDP politician cum philanthropist, Masitara has irked some of his party faithfuls, including the party top brass, by a face book post which was seen as “not in the interest of the party.”
The debatable face book post, which Weekend Post has seen reads thus: “I don’t believe in factions and it pains me to see members hating each other in support of these perceived corrupt and greedy leaders across the political divide.” It was not clear what the corruption busting BDP head was referring to.
He however pointed out blatantly that: “let us rebuild the BDP with proper and functioning systems and attract more members to the BDP. We need to expose and prosecute corrupt leaders who are sponsored by corrupt Indians, Chinese and other foreign nationals.”
The outspoken BDP socialite and owner of Masitara foundation then went on to justify through the post that “this is an innocent comment posted for the love of our country.” I am not attacking anyone; he said adding that the winds of change are blowing throughout the length and breadth of Botswana.
Known for his signature loathe for corruption and his love for shooting from the heap, he provoked party headship which it is understood have discussed the matter thereafter leading to others subsequently calling for his disciplinary action. When reached for a comment, Masitara laughed off but confirmed that “indeed he has been informed by some credible members of both government and party that he will face the disciplinary hearing in a span of time.” He however could not be thrown into further details treading cautiously of further reproaches.
However the BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane was clueless on the matter. He told Weekend Post that “I know of no disciplinary charge against Mr Masitara. If there was I would be in the know. What offence has he committed? I saw the face book post. If none of our people are not in the pockets of Chinese or Indians then why worry?” he wondered.
It is not the first time that the former law maker finds himself in hot soup over remarks he uttered. At one point while an MP, he said his counterpart and the then Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe should account for the “defective 15 billion pula Morupule B power station” as it was under his watchful as he was Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water resources while the project instigated.
He was also on the receiving ends with his counterparts in the party particularly his councillors over usage of campaign resources of the party in Gaborone Bonnington North where he was later humbled at the 2014 General Elections by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president Duma Boko.
Masitara for BDP chairmanship
Meanwhile the non-conformist politician has also separately confirmed to his inner circle this week that he is putting his head on the block and throwing his hat on the ring for BDP chairmanship. He is expected to face party head honchos and heavy weights including current legislator who represents Moshupa/Manyana doubling as Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi who will become president in March 2018 by virtue of his position.
Another serious contender in the race for party chairperson, whom Masitara will also contest against, is Selibe Phikwe East MP and cabinet Minister Nonofo Molefhi. Jacob Nkate is also in the race too. Masitara told his close associates that he wants to lead the BDP so as to particularly curb corruption that has been institutionalised. He said he has been threatened time and again as a legislator but believes if he leads he can execute the mandate diligently without any influence and interference.
“You see I cannot be led because I cannot do my job to the optimum level. If I am given the chance to lead BDP I will change a lot of things especially rooting out the institutionalised corruption and improving systems in place,” he said.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.