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BMD rejects BCP Vice Presidency

The opposition cooperation talks had started and progressed at the speed of light, but all this could come to a halt as the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) refuses to cede the Vice Presidency to the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), who are currently in talks with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) with the aim of defeating the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as a single unit in 2019.

According to impeccable sources and reliable literature, the two parties, the BCP and the UDC, have agreed to contest the 2019 general election under the name UDC+ (UDC Plus). The constitution of the organisation has also been drafted with a litany of changes to the original UDC constitution which was ‘too cumbersome’ with a model of a body corporate rather a political party. This publication learns that only a few items of the constitution have been referred to the main negotiating team for finalisation after the lower group agreed to disagree.  

However despite the gains made at the level 1 of the negotiations, things took a turn for the darkness recently when the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) failed to pitch for a meeting that was scheduled to take place in Francistown. The meeting was taken to Francistown to accommodate the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) who had been making all trips to Gaborone.

The Francistown meeting proceeded without the BMD albeit after consulting them. It was at this meeting that it was discovered that the BPP representatives at this stream of the talks were actually a son and his father in law – but it was not an issue because they had the mandate from the party.

It was after the Francistown meeting that the BMD’s position on the issue of the Vice Presidency came out clear. Insiders in the talks say they are disturbed at the turn that the unity talks are taking because a single position should not derail a whole process that has a potential to change the country for the better.

The BMD’s attitude to the BCP does not start with the issue of the Vice Presidency, it has during the course of the negotiations had difficulty with the number of negotiating partners allocated to the BCP. When the talks were given the go ahead at Oasis Motel in Tlokweng, the understanding was that the streams will be constituted of the BCP and UDC representatives.


“This was deliberate and it was always known that there constituent members within the UDC, each of whom shall bring a representative to the table,” said a concerned Botswana National Front (BNF) veteran. The BPP and the BNF agree with the BCP that the talks are between the BCP and the UDC, but the BMD representatives are finding it difficult to accept that the BCP is contributing almost half of the negotiating partners to the table.


“The BMD is insisting on this thing that there are four parties at the negotiating table.” It is understood that the BMD fears that if the notion that there are only two parties at the negotiation table continues, the BCP could be entitled to half share of the positions within the UDC+ with other members of the conglomerate sharing the remaining positions.

Although it was explained that the half share applies only to the position of Vice Presidency, the BMD has not flexed on its position. Insiders say the UDC agreed with the BCP on the Vice Presidency because the latter had easily ceded the Presidency to the former. The idea of two Vice Presidents at the National level was then suggested by the UDC in appreciation of the sentiments shared by the BMD that it was not willing to give the BCP the Vice Presidency.


The matter could not be concluded then because the BMD was not present at the meeting, forcing the matter to be referred to the next level of the streams. The Level 2 stream met this Monday and there was no progress and insiders say there is a chance that things could stall for a while.  

There were questions from the BMD side on the issue of constituency allocation and the matter of the half share, but the BCP was since given 17 constituencies, which is not half. However Weekend Post has learnt that at level 2 of the talks the BMD is also questioning the 17 constituencies awarded to the BCP.

The criterion was based on incumbency and second best in the last general election. “It is very likely that everything will be undone at level 2 of the negotiation streams even before it reaches the level of Presidency,” said a source. The Presidency had initially comprised of UDC president, Duma Boko and BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando, but the BMD came out in strong opposition again, demanding that there be four Presidents at that level. There are now four Presidents at that level – these include BMD and BPP presidents.

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Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.

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FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.

The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter.  According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.

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Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.

There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.

The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.

Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.

In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.

“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.

In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.

“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”

Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.

In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.

In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.

This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.

In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.

Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.

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