President Ian Khama has pre-empted that United States of America’s President-elect; Donald Trump might dispatch an invasion force to attack Botswana.
Khama, who was on an offensive against opposition parties last weekend at Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s victory party in Moshupa, likened local opposition parties to Trump, saying that he has always struggled to understand how people come to support opposition parties.
“These people are the Donald Trumps of this country; we will be in trouble if he wins on Tuesday.” He stated further that Trump might send the US army to invade Botswana if he hears that he did not speak kind of him. “He will say, I have heard that Botswana President did not speak kindly of me, he can send American soldiers to attack us…he is the type to… he can do that if you know him,” Khama stated of Trump.
He further continued: “But this has taught me something VP, I have always wondered how Batswana, who support opposition parties’ work, how do they support those people, uncultured people who insult others, so I have seen with Donald Trump! He goes around saying that I will wall off America from Mexico and Mexico will pay for it, if you ask him how, he doesn’t explain!”
“The second thing is that he says he’ll destroy ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham) in no time, how? He also says that “I” will make America great again, how?” Khama questioned before continuing, “But you will see people cheering him… and opposition parties are just like that,” Khama said
He also stated that opposition parties like making promises to the electorate but they cannot state how they are going to deliver. “So we want to ask them how they come to those conclusions,” he said. Khama further claimed that some in the opposition collective have told him “stories and the truth” about progress in the coalition project.
“So I was asking them about the progress of including BCP into UDC and they said that there are still challenges because BCP wants its leader to be president of the Umbrella.” He further ridiculed BCP’s election trail bus saying it’s nowhere to be found because it’s at the scrap yard.
“They have only two Members of Parliament (MPs) but they were writing that they were ready to lead. Well, we have shown them they are not ready to lead. I didn’t understand at the time. I thought that they were ready to lead Botswana, whereas they meant they were ready to lead inside the Umbrella,” he further mocked.
He further stated that he was told that when a UDC congress convenes, BCP wants its delegates to be equivalent in numbers with those from Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) combined, because each party will vote for its president.
He said BCP believes that this will naturally split the votes and ensure that Dumelang Saleshando becomes president, stating that it is something he does not however believe UDC members will agree to. He also found time to ridicule BPP, saying that he does not even know its president and as far as he is aware BPP last had a constituency long before he was born.
He further said that the other problem with the opposition coalition is that BCP members have said they don’t like Boko because he does not talk to the party leaders and he makes decisions alone. He further stated that they also don’t like Boko because of his continued association with one of his friends. “Again they say he has a friend, Elliot someone, you know him, Elliot someone, and they don’t want him as well. They say they have long told Boko to dissociate with him, but he refuses.”
He also continued, “I also hear Gaolathe wants to quit and wants to be replaced by Dibeela or Wynter (Mmolotsi). So BMD members don’t want Dibeela as Secretary General of UDC because he is a former BNF member. With Wynter, they say that he is very difficult to work with, so they don’t agree with that.”
Again, he said, BPP members say that they want 7 constituencies unlike in the last general elections where they were given a single constituency. “So if they fail with unity talks I don’t know how they can run government,” Khama concluded.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.