No other Motswana has come out, besides Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, to challenge for the other nine available positions in the African Union Commission (AUC), when it goes for elections in January 2017.
The AU nomination process reopened on the 10th of August and will close when Botswana goes for Independence Day on September 30th.
At AU, the Commission is the head of secretariat of the continental bloc and its chairperson is its Chief Executive Officer, legal representative and Accounting Officer, according to Article 7 of the Commission’s statutes.
The Chairperson is also directly responsible to the Executive Council for the discharge of her duties. This is the position that Venson-Moitoi is challenging for.
The other 9 available positions in the AUC include Deputy Chairperson and 8 Commissioner positions. Only one Southern African; Anthony Mothae Maruping from Lesotho is currently one of the 8 commissioners. Maruping is Commissioner for Economic Affairs and was elected in 2013.
The remaining commissioners include Commissioner for Peace and Security, Algerian Smail Chergui elected in October 2013 and Nigerian, Aisha Abdullahi who is Commissioner for Political Affairs, elected in July 2012.
Others are Egyptian, Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim who is Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, elected in January 2008 and re-elected again in July 2012 for a second term.
Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko from Sierra Leone is Commissioner for Social Affairs and was elected in July 2012 while Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Fatima Haram Acyl from Chad was elected in July 2012.
Tumusiime Rhoda Peace of Uganda was elected in January 2008 and re-elected in July 2012 for a second term as Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture while Martial De-Paul Ikounga of Congo was elected in January 2013 for position of Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology.
All the positions are technically vacant and the elections are scheduled to be held during the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, scheduled for 30-31 January, 2017, at AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where Venson-Moitoi is gunning for the Chairperson post.
AUC’s current Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma recently had her mandate prolonged following a hung election at AU’s Kigali summit in June.
Dlamini-Zuma’s decision not to run for a second term has been interpreted as the most potent sign yet of her ambition to challenge South African Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa for the Presidency of the African National Congress (ANC) and henceforth the State.
Thus far Dlamini-Zuma reportedly has the backing of the ANC youth league, it’s women’s wing as well as a supposedly influential lobby group calling itself the ‘Premier League’, led by Premiers of three provinces of Mpumalanga, Free State and North West.
The Premier League team consists of Ace Magashule, Supra Mahumapelo and David Mabuza who are Premiers and ANC Chairpersons of the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga Provinces respectively.
Colourfully hinting at their rejection of Ramaphosa, ANC youth league leader Collen Maine was recently quoted as saying in South African media: “What we will pursue is the constitution of the ANC. It says any member of the ANC can elect and be elected. If there is some history that if you were whatever you can automatically proceed, thina [us] we are not driving automatic cars. We are driving the constitution.
“There may be some precedents, but some precedents are wrong. We will not fall into traps of precedence; we will apply the constitution.” Maine said.
According to the rules of procedure of the Assembly and Executive Council, the Statutes of the Commission as well as Modalities for the Election of Members of the Commission, the candidatures for the posts of the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and the Commissioners are required to be circulated to Member States at least three (3) months before the election.
The re-opening of the process allows for both the former candidates, as well as new candidates to run for any of the ten 10 positions. In accordance with the Note Verbale sent to Member States, the process is such that the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson’s candidatures should be submitted to the Commission (Office of the Legal Counsel, in sealed envelopes) on or before 30 September 2016.
For the remaining 8 Commissioners Member States should have submitted their candidatures to their respective regions on or before 19 August 2016 to pave way for regional consultations which when finalized, the regions should submit their candidatures to the office of the legal counsel for the AU Commission (in sealed envelopes) on or before 16 September 2016;
So far the region has one individual vying for position of Commissioner from Lesotho believed to be Maruping.
Venson-Moitoi told WeekendPost this week that she has not yet tended her candidature but will do so before the September 30th deadline.
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.