The controversial Milk Africa project which was backed by government – in particular the then Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe- will have some of remaining assets auctioned to the highest bidder later this month (December).
Milk Africa is a joint project between Lobatse Town Council (LTC) and a Zimbabwean with United States refugee papers who is the company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Philemon Thambatshira Matibe. Weekend Post has established that the project-which literally failed to take off as expected, is drowning in debt. Prior to opening its doors for operation, the company was already facing a lawsuit of P16 000, this publication had learnt.
Deputy Sheriff Augustine Mokalake of Rankoro Legal Practice confirmed to Weekend Post this week that indeed they are auctioning Milk Africa’s movable property. “Yes we will be auctioning their properties as they owe our client Ezze Build and are failing to pay the dues,” Mokalake pointed out to this publication.
The properties to be sold include John Deer Tractors, 2500 litres water tank, a BMW 325i car, generator, paving bricks, corrugated iron sheets, plastic chairs, gun poles, planks, water pipes, compressor, bags of cement, diamond mesh rolls, rolls of barbed wire, gauge wire and poles among others. The Deputy Sheriff also referred this publication to the “in the matter between” Gaborone Building Supplies t/a Ezze Build (plaintiff) and Milk Africa (Pty) Ltd (defendant) under case no. CVHGB-001385/16” which is the same matter currently before the High Court.
In the matter, it also confirms that “pursuant to the Judgement granted by the above Honourable Court, the following defendant (Milk Africa)’s movable property shall be sold by public auction by Deputy Sheriff Augustine Mokalake to the highest bidder at Milk Africa warehouse.” Many have since day one doubted the project while maintaining that it will never see the light of the day including the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama and ex-Lobatse Lawmaker Nehemiah Modubule as well as some chunk of Lobatse Town Councillors.
The Councillors also feared that the Council could have been sold a dummy on the partnership with the so-called Zimbabwean investor Matibe who is said to be in possession of refugee papers from the Unites States. It is alleged that Matibe had no financial capacity to invest on the project but rather was banking on getting loans from local banks using the leased land from the Council (LTC) as security.
However, the council is said to have refused to sign off the land into his name or that of his company, Lobatse Dairy (PTY) Ltd, thus the delay of funding and launch of production. According to records the leased land was supposed to be used solely for a dairy milking parlour, paddock and pasture establishment, milk processing, offices, staff housing and related amenities only. The lease of the land, it is also understood, was set to continue for a period of twenty five years.
Meanwhile Councillors are breathing hard on the LTC Mayor Malebogo Kruger and her team and demand that the land be taken back and distributed to members of the public for residential purposes since the project has miscarried. The project was expected to bring back life to the “ghost town” Lobatse following the transfer of High Court and Court of Appeal headquarters to Gaborone, which left the town almost abandoned. Milk Africa was estimated at the value of P100 million and “expected” to create around 500 jobs and supply the country with milk as from last year.
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.