Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General and Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South, Ndaba Gaolathe, has finally shared insights on his family’s relationship with President Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
While there have been reports of a fall out between former Minister of Finance and Development Planning (now Finance and Economic Development) the late Baledzi Gaolathe and president Khama, Ndaba this week shared details of how, prior to his demise, his father and Khama were not on good terms with one another.
Ndaba revealed this at the launch of a book titled “The Boko Factor,” authored by Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) President, Richard Khumoekae, about the UDC president. In eulogising Duma Boko, the BNF and UDC President, Ndaba also gave credit to Boko’s mother, who was in attendance, and said she has helped shape the UDC president’s character.
Incidentally, his narration of how mothers shape their kids characters, Ndaba ended up opening up about events that unfolded between president Khama and his own mother following his father’s passing. “The man who lives at State House wanted to see my mother, but she said, no!” he revealed. “When I was busy making some preparations (for father’s funeral) like collecting fire wood, I received calls from my siblings pleading with me to talk to my mother to accept the president’s request to see her. I pleaded with her but she insisted.”
In Ndaba’s words, his late mother, Isabella Gaolathe said: “I do not want to live a life of pretence. The gentleman who lives at State House does not like my son and my husband. I do not want him to come here and pretend to like my son and husband.” According to reports, Baledzi fell out with Khama after the latter ascended to presidency in 2008, following introductions of economic policies which Gaolathe greatly differed with and saw as populist. This include among others, the introduction of the controversial constituency tournament, a fully government sponsored tournament.
Following the 2009 general elections, Khama removed Baledzi from Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and moved him to Ministry of Trade and Industry. Baledzi had served as minister of Finance for 10 years, having being brought to parliament after the 1999 general elections by then President Festus Mogae as Specially Elected legislator. He was replaced by the incumbent minister of Finance, Kenneth Matambo.
There was discontent with how president Khama treated Baledzi prior to his passing in 2010. After Baledzi fell sick, Khama dropped him from his cabinet, and the bad news was delivered at Milpark Hospital in South Africa, where he was on his sick bed. Baledzi never recovered from his ailment and died in hospital before long after the incident.
While Khama’s office stated that the agreement was reached between the president and Baledzi to relief the latter of his duties on account of health, it later turned out that Khama arrived at the decision without consulting him. Dorcus Malesu, who was then Baledzi’s understudy, ascended to the position as substantive minister.
Three months after his father was dropped from cabinet, Ndaba resigned from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), and he was among many who went to form Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), which currently has majority of opposition Members of Parliament under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), which is a unity party between three opposition parties. UDC is currently the country’s main opposition party.
The ascendance of Khama to presidency was also not a happy beginning for him and Ndaba. After the killing of John Kalafitis in 2009, Ndaba publicly condemned government for its hand in the brutality and for exercising an extra-judicial killing. The relationship between Khama and Ndaba was not helped by the fact that, a few months down the line, while serving as campaign manager for Gaborone Central, the constituency candidate, Gomolemo Motswaledi was suspended and barred from contesting general elections by President Khama.
Ndaba became the first person in the BDP to publicly release a statement condemning the suspension of Motswaledi, saying that the decision was not taken in good faith and was not in line with the party’s democratic ideals. The Gaolathe family had enjoyed a close relationship with the presidency during President Sir Ketumile Quett Masire’s tenure and later during the presidency of Mogae. Baledzi spent four decades of his life in the public service, and has headed most of the country’s prestigious institutions such as Debswana and Bank of Botswana.
Meanwhile, Masire had credited Baledzi as one of the architects of Botswana’s economy and singled out him as one of the people, together with Mogae who drilled him in the basics of economics.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.