The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) faction led by President Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy, Wynter Mmolotsi is lobbying for support for proposed reforms to dilute the powers of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and give members power to vote on major decisions.
This publication has established from highly placed sources within BMD that the Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction has tabled a host of proposals for the imminent Special Congress. Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction won support from branches to convene a Special Congress for the beleaguered movement. More than 24 branches, from the required minimum of 19 have written a letter to NEC requesting for Special Congress.
WeekendPost has established that, top among priorities of Gaolathe/Mmolotsi group, which is believed to be enjoying the support of ordinary members is the review of the party constitution. The NEC will be stripped some of its privileges, including that of making major decisions.
“The party wants to introduce a mechanism which will allow ordinary members to participate in major decisions, not just allow a few people to decide,” said the source.
The party, this publication has learnt, is planning on introducing a referendum where members will go on a voting exercise to show consent or disagreement with a matter which will be the subject of discussion at the time.
The Gaolathe/Mmolotsi group is reportedly rubbed the wrong way by the status quo, where they believed the party is held at ransom by a few NEC members at the expense of the aspirations of the general membership. The party’s top two believe that the BMD NEC has been captured and is controlled by outside forces.
“The concern is that Pilane is dictating terms and gives instructions on what should be done and what should not be done,” the source added.
Pilane’s association with the country’s top spy, Isaac Kgosi has been the major reason for him being rejected. The Gaolathe/Mmolotsi group are of the view that allowing Pilane to control BMD will be tantamount to being controlled by the regime they are fighting.
Forming part of the reforms is giving the party president powers to instil discipline within the movement. The president will be given the power to suspend any member but there will be restrictions with regards to the expulsion of members. The power to expel members will solely be left to the party’s national congress.
Initially, the group had proposed that the president be given both powers to suspend and expel members, but Gaolathe was in opposition of the proposition, arguing that it would be if the party president is also given the power to expel members.
Disbanding of lobby lists
BMD also wants a system in place, which will discourage aspiring NEC candidates from contesting using lobby lists. The party will introduce candidates’ debate and give branches and regions the power to summon candidates and stage a debate, in an effort to give delegates the opportunity to choose candidates to support based on what they promise to offer to the party.
“The branches or regions will not be allowed to host only one candidate if more candidates are contesting, unless the other candidates chose not to come for the debate,” said the source.
The lobby list arrangement has become popular in Botswana, and through it, candidates are voted in mostly through a group manner rather than individually. In most cases, Central Committee or executive party positions are won through lobby lists, resulting generally in marginalisation of the losing team.
The Gaolathe/Mmolotsi group are of the view that the lobby list, though permissible currently has the potential to polarise the party in the long run.
The Modubule/Mangole faction is however of the view that, the current impasse in the party is a result of failure to accept defeat by the group sympathising with Gaolathe at last year’s national congress. It is however believed that ahead of the 2015 Gantsi Congress, Mmolotsi sympathised with the Modubule/Mangole team but broke ranks with the faction when the issue of Pilane’s return to the party cropped in.
Mmolotsi has been instrumental in the presidential tour, which has resulted in him and Gaoalthe winning support for the convention of a Special Congress.
Modubule, Mangole will not be expelled
Although tempers are flaring within the Gaolathe/Mmolotsi camp, with some calling for the expulsion of Modubule and Mangole, Gaolathe has reportedly told his team not to overreact. This publication has been informed that, his priority has been to have a new team, which he believes without Modubule/Mangole would be able to run the party affairs in the interest of party members.
However, Goalathe is said to be feeling ‘disrespected’ by the duo and agreed that the party president should be given some sort of privileges to restore unity in the movement.
Modubule, Mangole resist congress
The Modubule/Mangole faction has made it clear that it does not support the Special Congress for fear that it will not solve the infightings but widen the rift. Alternatively, the group had preferred for the factions to be brought to one table in an effort to reconcile them.
Modubule/Mangole group had hinted that, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko and Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) could intervene.
This publication has however gathered that Boko and BOFEPUSU are clear that BMD should refer the matter to its members through the Special Congress. Weekend Post has also established that, Lebang Mpotokwane, the convenor of talks which led to UDC formation and key member of the party is in support of a solution which would come from party members.
With branches having already written letters calling for a Special Congress to be convened, the Modubule/Mangole faction has been disarmed, a result which may see them thrown out of the NEC after the congress.
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.