The 2014 general elections have come and gone. Sadly a number of legislators have gone with the just-ended elections. More disturbing is that most Ministers have not come back, raising questions of not only their replacements but most importantly those of their next move.
An observant eye will have noticed that during the just-ended elections campaign for the ruling party, all the defeated Ministers and BDP backbenchers stood in support of the winners and remained loyal to the party, something that is very different when one looks at the history of the notorious BDP primary elections.
Although some were said to be bitter following the much protested party primary elections, which were shrouded in controversies, we later saw rare reconciliatory efforts which saw the BDP united going into the just-ended elections. Candidates supported each other and those who lost the primary elections soiled their hands in response to Khama’s appeal at the 52nd BDP National Congress that those who devote their time and energy to the party will earn his recognition.
At the said meeting Khama told primary elections losers not to despair and we quote him verbatim, “ standing up and demonstrating your party patriotism, and continued involvement in active party affairs will earn you recognition by me and the leadership as much as those who were succesful. This I assure you of,” he said.
“Withdrawing from participation will be regrettable and unfortunate and would tend to demonstrate your involvement with this party is only for personal interest only. Many of you who lost have accepted the outcome despite the issues and challenges I refer to. I thank them for being true democrats,” he said.
Surely Khama did not anticipate that a huge number of his trusted men will fall again in the just-ended elections. Unluckily for him, the number has increased from those who lost during the primary to general elections. It is now common knowledge that unlike in the opposition ranks when an Minister or MP loses elections in the ruling party they start harbouring some aspirations and hoping for presidential mercy.
This attitude and rewards have for over the years been a topical issue from the opposition ranks and the academia who often argues that some positions are used to reward elections losers and close associates.
With a lot of them this time around and in consideration of Khama’s promise that they have earned his recognition, the million dollar question is who is going where, when and how. A couple of Ministers have fallen and they include among others, Gloria Somolokae, Patrick Masimolole, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, Olebile Gaborone Ramadeluka Seretse, Lebonaamang Mokalake, Eric Molebatsi, Phandu Skelemani, Rev John Seakgosing, Peter Siele, Keletso Rakhudu and Jonhny Swarts. We all can recall seeing these men and woman campaigning for the BDP. Many of us can attest to the fact that we saw them the primary elections losers activism during rallies and launches. The big question is would they ordinarily engage on such a tourturous, industrious and time consuming exercise freely?
It is not far-fetched to conclude that each of these Ministers expect something from Khama.We have seen in some instances elections losers emerging winners outside politics due to this arrangement.But how do they do it? New regimes exploit an array of plum public jobs like postings in foreign missions and State Corporations to reward political allies and cronies.
While many losing candidates land on their feet, some end up in better-paying jobs than the ones they sought at the ballot box. In fact, the list of defeated candidates who parlayed government experience or political connections into gainful employment elsewhere is long and common in Botswana as is the case in the region and internationally.
While some of the defeated candidates on today’s ballot will fade into history, never to be heard from politically again it is something different for those who went into races with good connections or whose political party controls patronage positions.
This is ussually the case with ruling party members. For opposition, most are often attractive to public or private employers or lobbying firms because of the skills they acquired in government or because they as well developed valuable relationships with powerful players.
This publication has learnt that the Khama is in a tight corner this time around with many expecting favours from him. The deafeat of almost the entire cabinet will give the president a headache,insiders say. Information reaching this publication is that already many have been disappointed at the specially elected MPs as they were hoping to be considered.Sources say there was a lot of acrimony at the choices. After all is said and done at parliament a lot of eyes will now be fixed to the president. We now zoom into Khama’s Ministers who have lost elections.
GLORIA SOMOLEKAE An academic of note who lost with a heart-wrenching margin of three votes to Kefentse Mzwinila. Having been brought into parliament through the specially elected ticket, her bid to save her prestigious job was all in vain. Her transfer from Khama’s office to the Ministry of Health raised eyebrows but not many could offer a concrete and credible analysis of the move. While many suspected she might not have blended well with Khama’s tastes, others argued that her some virtues she were noticed that warranted her move to the Ministry of Health. Somolekae will be unemployed soon and like many, she has been traversing the land campaigning for the BDP as well as promoting and defending the not so easy to defend party. She has been delegated by the party as a representative in various occasions and was caught in some instances stretching herself beyond her innermost convictions and principles. Where will she go?
OLEBILE GABORONE This is the man whose affinities with the Khamas cost the BDP the Tlokweng constituency. The inconcievable blunder by the BDP to recall the party’s representative Elijah Katse has shown how far Khama can go to favour Katse. It is alleged that the two have ventured into businesses together and come a long way. Of late, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has been silent with some labelling him a spent force. Insiders say he will definately get something big but what could that be?
RAMADELUKA SERETSE The outgoing Minister of Defence, Justice and Security who happens to be the President’s cousin who was humiliated by his longstanding rival Kgotla Autlwetse by a huge margin. Efforts to save Seretse under blurry circumstances by the leadership were futile following a blunt refusal by the electorates through the ballot.
Contrary to popular view, Khama did not bring him back as a specially elected member and we now know that he will not be coming back to parliament. Insiders say the fact that he was not brought back as a specially elected member despite been close to Khama and having led the Ministry so close to Khama should be a serious warning that something has been spared for him. Others however hint that he may have refused to go back to the Ministry he has been heading owing to his squabbles with the Directorate of Intelligence Services, Isaac Kgosi. Surely he cant be jobless. Where is Ndelu heading?
KELETSO RAKHUDU Some say he actually did not want to contest the general elections but was forced by his party into doing so. One can buy it by reflecting on the manner in which he instantly responded to the news of his loss to former Gaborone city Council Mayor, Haskins Nkaigwa. He was jubilant and stress-free. A hustler and streetwise man whose surviving skills are immeasurable, Rakhudu seems a man going his way and not waiting for Khama.Insiders say should he get something, it will be for him, a bonus. He has hinted to some that he intends to persue his business interests.
REV JOHN SEAKGOSING He lost the primary elections and has been very active in the party, assisting it to wrestle power from the opposition. He is said not to be either nearer or distant from Khama’s heart. A diplomatic and loyal fellow, Seakgosing many say will do well on a diplomatic mission and is highly likely to go there.
PHANDU SKELEMANI He has long lost primary elections. A trained lawyer, former judge and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation who many have been faulted for Botswana’s confusing foreign policy. Often indiscreet, observers said Skelemani’s tone on sensitive international issues was Khama’s voice speaking through Skelemani. A tired-looking fellow who seems not eager to pursue further his political and professional interests. He has been silent of late and has not been featuring in the party’s campaigns. Insiders say he might not feature in Khama’s political rewards plan for allies and cronies.
GAOTLHAETSE MATLHABAPHIRI Has been left devastated by the unexpected loss to Mahommed Khan. A loyal fellow to the Khama regime who was swapped with Somolekae. One of the tried and tested members of the party whose commitment to the BDP cannot be disputed. He will surely be considered when the cake is divided.
PETER SIELE One of Khama’s trusted men, aging gracefully, he has not done badly on his assignments. He lost the primary elections and consequently he was in distress. He initially complained that he was beaten unfairly at the notorious Bulela Ditswe but soon relented. Like many of his fellow democrats, he has been campaigning for the party in times of need and will surely expect something. His anguish following his loss was a clear testimony that he relies heavily on the political office and would want to be given something as well. However, insiders say Khama may consider him a spent force and pick others ahead of him. His consideration they say, will depend on the number of vacancies.
LEBONAAMANG MOKALAKE He lost the primary elections and like others, has been trying by all means to impress through various means and avenues. He however has been looking a worried man. Some say he has headed a lucrative Ministry and should have made a few land transactions to fall back on in case of any calamity.
OREEDITSE MOLEBATSI Ousted by Dorcas Makgato-Malesu in the primaries. An active member of the party whose relation with Khama is unclear. His presence and absence in the government and associated arms, insiders say, is insignificant in Khama’s book.
JOHNY SWARTS A man who was gradually turning the Ministry of Science, Infrustructure and Technology around. A fighter and commited professional. He will surely be among those considered for something.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership appears to be bowing down to Nicolas Zakhem’s football pressure. The development comes to the open roughly 24 hours after the Gaborone United director publicly labelled Maclean Letshwiti and his committee failures for deciding to chop five premier league clubs under the pretext of club licensing disqualification.
As early as Wednesday noon, the BFA emergency committee met with one agenda item to discuss the possibility of reinstating the clubs. This publication gathers that the committee saw it fit to pardon the five clubs without entertaining a second thought. The committee even invited the clubs to the meeting, sources say.
Late last month, the five teams were disqualified from playing in the premier league, pending the appeal outcome. The teams are Notwane, Extension Gunners, BR Highlanders, Mogoditshane Fighters, together with Gilport Lions. The immediate decision by BFA follows what Zakhem had said and advised that it was wrong to chop clubs given the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Unbeknownst to BFA leadership, observers stress that Zakhem exerted public pressure and influenced them to change tone without asking. At the meeting, BFA president Maclean Letshwiti, his vices, Marshlow Motlogelwa and Masego Ntshingane, Aryl Ralebala, the Botswana Football League (BFL) chairman, together with Alec Fela, an ordinary member in the now stubborn NEC.
However, the reactive move by the association to reinstate the clubs is highly welcomed in certain quarters, but it also appears to have left a permanent scar, especially at BFL. As things stand, the general feeling on the ground is to oust chairman Ralebala for failing to defend these clubs before the eyes of President Letshwiti.
This publication has intercepted an ongoing petition to unseat Ralebala and his deputies from the BFL board. Strange enough, the signed petition has thus far attracted clubs with household influence in the league itself. GU, Township Rollers, Notwane, Extension Gunners, Police XI are some clubs that have already appended their signatures to have Ralebala removed.
The big clubs are believed to fighting for principle and demand fair governance at BFL. The reality is that these clubs command a large following, and sponsors can always have a say based on their presence.
When approached for clarity, Ralebala said he could not comment on allegations or issues that lack substance. He concedes that he has heard about the rolling petition but is yet to lay his eyes on it. “I have heard about the petition, but I don’t know where it is coming from. I think it is best you ask those who have signed it. My focus is to commence the league and make sure everything is on point,” said Ralebala.
Football observers state that Ralebala, together with Letshwiti, are now faced with a dilemma. Reports coming from Lekidi Football Centre, although yet to be fabricated, are that the big guns lead others to form a parallel structure where they will play on their league. The clubs are angry at their chairman for taking many of the instructions from the BFA boss, and already a general melee is gathering traction that the two must resign as football has lost direction.
Zakhem says, although he supported Letshwiti, he has a sense of duty to stand for the truth. “I knew I supported Letshwiti and his troops, but you see, these guys have lost direction. I have long advised them that chopping clubs like this will cause confusion and delay progress, but they cannot listen. Letshwiti gave BFL autonomy, but I do not know why he is still interfering,” Zakhem said.
You may, by now, have heard about the dark side of the high profile P100 billion case, but wait, there is also the brighter side. Staff Writer AUBREY LUTE explores the positives accruing from the fall of the country’s biggest financial ‘scam-dal’.
A chance to fix the country’s financial record
They have not publicly been saying it, but the state agencies and the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, have been at pains to explain and rationalise how an amount almost equal to the country’s GPD left the central bank.
Many insiders attributed the country‘s troubled financial status to the case, including the grey-listing, non-compliance and identified deficiencies, some of which were hitting citizens around the globe. Botswana was in 2018 taken aback by FATF news that the country has been listed alongside countries that do not comply with (AML/CFT). The European Union Commission later flagged Botswana in March 2019 for lacking strategic deficiencies in AML/CFT regulations.
A chance to restore the dignity of the law enforcement arms
The case, without a doubt, was a distraction object on the law enforcement agencies, which spent a chunk of their time bickering and finger-pointing. A leaked audio recording exposing the explosive meeting of the law enforcement arms of government, being the Intelligence Services, Corruption and Economic Crimes agency, and the Prosecutions division summed it all.
The case presented a monumental crisis threatening the core of their being. Following these developments, the Presidency, clearly under the influence of a tripartite member, took a spine-chilling decision to disband the DCEC, a move that was saved by the organisation’s founding director- Tymon Katlholo’s bold protest.
The DPP, the Police, and the DCEC staff were used in the process to carry out bizarre instructions, some of which left the state with an egg on its face. Mistrust and backstabbing were the order of the day within the law enforcement agencies, and the P100 billion case was to blame. “Some badly wanted the plot executed while the other side badly wanted it to end to restore sanity,” an insider says.
The source further adds that “if the case did not end soon, it was going to end a lot of people’s relationships and careers because those who refused to carry the insane instructions were seen as sympathisers to former President Ian Khama.” With the case having fallen, these agencies can reflect, reconcile and go back to work.
A chance to fix diplomatic relations…
It was not only South Africa that was accused of Sabotaging Botswana’s prosecutorial goal. The state also accused several countries of refusing or delaying to assist in the process. Of all the nations, only South Africa has decided to take Botswana to task, perhaps on its proximity to Botswana. Others long ignored Botswana’s requests for assistance to the frustration of former DPP deputy director who repeatedly told the courts that they were struggling to get responses from the international community. With the case having fallen, Botswana may get a chance to face her actions, apologise and rectify the promise that lessons have been learnt.
Pressure off the shoulders of those who have to account…
The case did not only affect the law enforcement agencies. All the stakeholders were put in the spotlight to provide answers. The first to bolt out of the circle was the central bank, Moses Pelaelo, who, like DCEC director-general, long declared the case a scam. He told the world that his books were in order and that no money was missing risking his high-paying job.
According to insiders, his superiors, the then Minister of Finance and Development Planning – Dr Matsheka and his subordinate, Dr Wildfred Mandlebe, were only whispering, without success, to the Gods that there is no money missing.
So concerned and under pressure was Dr Sethibe- then the head of the Financial Intelligence Agency- who, like his Ministry supervisors, was engaging in silent screams to warn the powers that be, all in vain. He later jumped the ship to his former employer, the University of Botswana, allegedly to protect his name and career.
At the time of the fall of the case, the DIS and the DPP were at advanced plans to higher American to come and probe the Bank of Botswana’s servers in a move that bankers feared could compromise them further.
The case was bleeding the country’s coffers…
Had it not ended, the case was likely to end up ‘genuinely’ costing the country P100 billion Pula duo to its complexity and challenges. Insiders say sources who had sold the law enforcement agencies some falsified documents were paid handsomely.
Moreover, investigations were costly as they involved the international community and frequent travelling. “We are told there was also motivation for some officers to act abysmally and out of their way,” an insider said.
Lessons leant for public officers…
Public officers are often duty-bound to obey superiors instructions, no matter how irrational. The case was an eye-opener to many public officers that principle pays in the discharge of one’s duty at all times. The professional careers of the P100 billion case conspirators are currently in shambles. And as expected, the influencers, if at all there any, are nowhere to be seen.
Botswana remains on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the “black list” of the European Union, a status quo that highlights the country as one of the high-risk jurisdictions to deal with money.
The far-reaching implications of these listings is a compromised Foreign Direct Investment drive for Botswana. In particular, these listings mean investors now have to exercise some caution and restrain when thinking about putting their money in Botswana. On Tuesday, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Peggy Serame said that Botswana could see itself out of the “undesirable listing” by October this year.
Serame called for united and concerted efforts towards liberating Botswana out of this financial noncompliance tag. She said the delisting could be archived by concerted efforts from all stakeholders: players in the financial services sector, non-financial services businesses, regulators, and every individual who deals with transactions.
Botswana is a founding member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG). This regional body subscribes to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.
One of the membership obligations to ESAAMLG is for Botswana to be peer-reviewed by the other Member States and other international bodies like the World Bank, IMF or FATF. The most recent assessment for Botswana to gauge compliance with the FATF standards was conducted by ESAAMLG in 2016 and culminated with publishing the Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) in 2017.
Following the discussion and adoption by the Task Force and approval of the MER by the Council of Ministers, the country was placed under enhanced follow-up. This led to a one (1) year observation period in which the country was expected to improve its technical compliance (legislative framework) by correcting the deficiencies identified in the MER.
After one year, in October 2018, the Task Force decided that the country was not taking sufficient steps to implement the recommendations made by the assessors in the MER. The Task Force recommended that Botswana be referred to the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) for monitoring and potential listing often referred to as the ‘FATF greylisting”.
Following the FATF greylisting, the EU placed Botswana on its list of high-risk third countries, often referred to as the ‘black list.’ In 2018, Botswana and FATF agreed to an Action Plan that had six items with several timelines. In terms of Risk and coordination, Botswana was told to develop and implement a risk-based comprehensive national AML/CFT strategy, assess the risks associated with legal persons, legal arrangements, and NPOs, and operationalize the modernized company registry to obtain and maintain essential information and Ultimate Beneficial Ownership information.
Botswana was further advised to enhance the capacity of the supervisory staff, including by developing risk-based supervision manuals and providing adequate training, implement risk-based AML/CFT supervision and impose sanctions against violations.
Furthermore, Botswana was instructed to improve analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence by the Financial Intelligence Unit, including operationalizing an online Suspicious Transactions Report filing platform and prioritizing high-risk predicate crimes, and enhancing the use of financial intelligence among the relevant law enforcement agencies.
Regarding terrorism financing investigation, Botswana was instructed to develop and implement a Counter Financing of Terrorism Strategy, operationalize the Counter-Terrorism Analysis and Fusion Centre, and ensure the Terrorism Financing investigation capacity of the law enforcement agencies.
In 2018, the 11th Parliament passed 25 pieces and, later, six others related to AML/CFT/CFP. At the just ended Parliamentary session of the 12th Parliament, lawmakers passed the Financial Intelligence (Amendment) Act to address the definition of beneficial ownership.
Cabinet approved the National AML/CFT/CFP Strategy of 2019-2024 in October 2019. At the June 2021 FATF Plenary meetings, the FATF made the initial determination that Botswana had substantially addressed the Action Plan and that this warranted an on-site assessment to verify that the implementation of Botswana’s AML/CFT/CFP reforms is in place and is being sustained. Furthermore, an assessment was to be instituted to check if the necessary political commitment remains to sustain implementation in the future.
Serame said in a televised press briefing that Botswana’s exit from the FATF grey list and the EU black list would be determined by the outcome of the on-site assessment, which will be discussed at the FATF Plenary in October 2021.
She revealed that the Botswana delegation attended the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group 42nd Task Force of Senior Officials meeting from the 26th August to the 6th September 2021, followed by the Council of Ministers on the 7th September 2021.
She told the media that at these meetings, Botswana was commended for making progress in complying with the FATF standards by addressing deficiencies in her AML/CFT/CFP framework. “We are making all these efforts of complying with the FATF standards so that we guard against our financial system being used for money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing,” she said.
“We are hopeful that at the October 2021 FATF Plenary meetings, the outcome of the on-site visit undertaken by the FATF in August 2021 will bear positive results, leading to Botswana being delisted from the FATF greylisting,” she said. However, Minister Serame called on all stakeholders to support the government to remove Botswana from the greylisting.
“As Government continues its efforts of putting in place the necessary legislative and institutional framework, due diligence must be exercised by all institutions, including the ordinary Motswana, so that no one is found dealing with financiers whose credibility is wanting,” she said.
The minister reiterated that all players in the financial services sector had a role to play: “It is important that where unsolicited funds are offered, the individual or entity so receiving the offer must ensure that the funds being offered are not associated with unlawful acts. If we are not diligent, criminals may use unsuspecting people and entities to launder proceeds of crime.”
She reiterated that the government is committed to doing all within its power to remove the country from the FATF “grey list” and the EU “black list”. However, she noted that to achieve that requires the cooperation and assistance of financial institutions, designated non-financial businesses and professions and individuals to ensure full compliance with AML/CFT/CFP rules and regulations.
“These efforts will not only assist us to be removed from these mentioned lists but are for the benefit of our country to maintain a high standard of financial prudence and an economy which genuine investors can have the confidence to invest in,” Serame explained.