The opposition negotiations that would see Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) form a coalition with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are nearing an end. The issue of two Vice Presidents is the only contentious one, with some in the negotiating team against such a move.
Indications suggest that the two parties will contest the impending 2019 general Elections as a single unit but not umbrella as some had expected. The main negotiators are expected to receive reports from the streams and deal with all the contentious issues, which are not many.
WeekendPost has established that, this week, the talks progressed well, although for now two teams are torn apart over the issue of Vice Presidency. Seemimgly, it will be a while before waters cool down so the parties resolved and have reached an amicable solution.
So far it is categorically distinctive that Duma Boko will be president of the coalition. It is understood that those who want two Vice Presidents contend that it is imperative that positions be created that would see Boko being deputised by other cooperating partners- BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando and BMD president, Ndaba Gaolathe.
It is still inexplicit as to what credible function Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) president Motlatsi Molapisi, who is also a key partner, will be allocated in the arrangement.
However other members at the talks maintain that the constitution is clear and provides for one portfolio of Vice president and this is incognizant of possibilities of when in government, and therefore want the status quo to remain.
The hot potato issue of the VP has been left hanging for now and will be pondered upon later on during coming meetings.
Another issue that is a bone of contention is to do with, not many, but one constituency of Mmopane/Lentsweletau. In the last General Elections, Vincent Seretse of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the area by 7 170 to BCP’s Phagenyane Phage who attained 3 150 while Major General Moeng Pheto who was then an Independent candidate got 3 120 to Godisang Mbwire of UDC’s 2 999.
It appears that BCP believes that the constituency should be allocated to them on the basis that they were on position 2 and therefore most popular after Domkrag (BDP).
On the other side, UDC points out that although they came third they believe their results (UDC) should be added to that of the then independent candidate Moeng Pheto who is now a member of UDC.
There was also an issue however that both parties did not reach a threshold of 30% of the total vote in the constituency that is needed and therefore the area remains open for more dialogue going forward.
Information reaching WeekendPost also suggests that, at the negotiation talks, it was generally agreed that the UDC will contest in an estimated 40 constituencies while BCP has been allocated only 17.
“The principle in allocating constituencies and even wards is that the incumbent will contest and where BDP won the most popular party will take the latter head on. However there is room for negotiations here and there,” a highly placed source revealed to this publication this week.
The negotiation talks were commissioned on the 12th September 2016 at Oasis Motel in Tlokweng in the outskirts of Gaborone and although they were prior scheduled to finish end of October – indications suggest that they may drag for a while but expected to close -at least before December this year.
It is understood that the dialogues are premised on three layers in which the first layer, which is almost done comprises streams of one team assigned to address policy issues.
The other is assigned to negotiate the contentious issue of distribution of constituencies which is also almost settled while the last one is intended to look at matters of governance, the constitution and power sharing arrangements which is ongoing.
Predictions of constituency allocation for 2019:
Using the same principle that has been agreed at the ongoing talks of incumbency and the most popular party we present the potentials. It is probable that BCP will be allocated the following constituencies based on formula agreed;
Selibe Phikwe West
Okavango (but defected)
BCP’s most popular areas at opposition rank:
UDC on the other hand will likely be assigned the following areas;
Gaborone Bonnington North
Gaborone Bonnington South
UDC’s most popular areas at opposition rank;
N.B All the constituencies where UDC/BCP are popular above are held by the ruling party.The coalition appears set at least so far – to face the buoyant and spirited BDP at the next General Elections.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.