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Gov’t considers selling Morupule B

Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water resources is contemplating selling the controversial and delicate Morupule B power station to CNEEC after the completion of the project, Parliament heard this week.

Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources made this startling revelation when responding to Leader of the Opposition Duma Boko’s question with regard to various legal options being pursued to recover costs in the interim time.

Mokaila revealed that government is considering various options including selling the plant to the contractor.

Mokaila also told Parliament that there are no cumulative cost overruns in the Morupule B project to date as the project cost was on fixed lump sum basis.

MP for Selebi Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse had wanted the minister to brief the house on the total cumulative cost overruns of Morupule B Power station to date, the estimated amount of work in progress to complete Morupule B Power project and the targeted time frames.

Mokaila informed Parliament that Morupule B power station project is currently under a 24-month liability period which is ending in June 2016.  

“The liability period will be accordingly extended for the contractor to make good the outstanding defects, some of which are impacting on the reliability or availability of the power plant,” he said.

Morupule B which was funded by World Bank and African Development Bank (ADB) to the tune of P11billion could not be delivered on time due to delays attributed to the contractor.

Mokaila also noted that the contractor has an obligation to make good the defects which are impacting on the reliability and availability of the power plant.

“Currently, proposals from the contractor, to remedy the defects, are being evaluated,” Mokaila added.

“Should the proposals be accepted, then there would be no cost to Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) or Government for remedying the defects as the cost would already be covered under contract.”

Mokaila also stated that there is an option of remedying defects through third parties, a route which would require government to make payments to the third parties and claim costs from the EPC contractor.

“As for timelines for remedying the defects, it is expected to be complete in 3 years time, as this would require taking one unit out of service at a time whilst the other three are running,” he said.

As per the agreement of government and contractors Morupule B Power station was supposed to be completed on the following date; 15th January 2012, 15th April 2012, 15th July 2012 and 15th October 2012 for Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3 and Unit 4 respectively.  However the taking over was completed in May 2014 due to delays.

With the government considering the option of selling the power station, Mokaila informed Parliament that a bill requesting for the establishment of independent power and water regulator is on the cards.

The establishment of power and water regulators will allow various independent water and power suppliers to come on board therefore improving service delivery in the utility sector.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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