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Investors walk away from 400 million pula varsity in Kanye


Kgosikgolo Malope Gaseitsiwe II

Investors have allegedly abandoned an initial proposal to build a university in Kanye village in the Southern District, following a land tussle between them and Bangwaketse Tribal leadership. The technical state-of-the-art university was estimated to cost a whopping 400 million Pula which was already sourced from the European Union and available, Weekend Post learnt.  

The university’s aim was to assist bridge the skills mismatch, boost the economy in the village, create employment and provide practical education by training students on woodwork, welding, tannery (leather), mining, food processing amongst others.

Weekend Post has established that the university investors had wished to construct the institution under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) at a place known as Showgrounds – which was seen as strategic and a central location. The area is closer to amenities such as water and electricity as well as in the heart of the village.

Showgrounds is owned by morafhe and reigning Kgosikgolo Malope Gaseitsiwe II is the custodian. Although the land was supposedly allotted to host the Kanye Agricultural Show, it has been a white elephant for more than 20 years. With regards to the university proposal, Kgosi Malope has been “non-committal” on calling a lebatla to neither solicit advice from morafe nor allocate the land to the proposed university team.

Weekend Post has also gathered that the planned university was a brainchild of some prominent village elders who together with other citizens formed an organization dubbed Thuto Africa precisely for purposes of expediting the idea and securing funds – to fulfill the late Bangwaketse Chief, Kgosikgolo Bathoen Gasitsiwe II’s dreams of seeing the university in Kanye.

Amongst the organisations’ Kanye tribesmen with the vision for a university is former President Sir Ketumile Masire who chairs it, High Court Judge Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe, and top notch academic Professor Rodgers Molefhi, who all hail from Kanye. Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo and real estate magnate Willy Kathurima are also members of the organisation.  

This has always been the dream and aspiration of the esteemed Bathoen, who held education with high regard and envisioned a university in his village at one point.

Subsequent to securing the funds, Thuto Africa, therefore wanted to implement the matter but soliciting land was a ‘headache’ and have therefore withdrawn.

This publication has also gathered that the organization competed with other African counterparts for the EU funds and still triumphed and have always looked upon Kanye as a strategic planning and developing area for the project.

A high ranking source close to the developments told Weekend Post in an interview this week that “Malope is the custodian of the land which is owned by morafhe, and Thuto Africa, spearheaded by Professor Molefhi found it fit to rightly request for allocation from that authority hoping that he would call a lebatla for morafhe to deliberate on and advise accordingly – but although surrounded by a pool of advisors he was even not promising on freeing the land.”

This publication understands that the Show committee responsible for the Showground was also consulted on the matter and was “prepared” to relinquish the land “since it is currently not being utilized and has been a white elephant for more than 20 years and still counting”.

Show committee’s position with regards to Showgrounds

When reached for comment, Show committee Chairman, Richard Tshitlho, confirmed that Thuto Africa, chaired by former President Masire and Professor Molefhi as the Secretary indeed approached and consulted them that they need the land for constructing the university under PPP arrangement.

According to Tshitlho if they had their way they would release the land for the school as they believe it will widely benefit the village.

“We thought that since they are speaking of a university we could engage them as it will boost the informal sector, create employment and uplift the level of education in Kanye and by extension the country,” Tshitlho highlighted.

While investors thought the central position that is ideal is show ground and taking into consideration that it is not even utilized, Tshitlho submitted that others feel it still can be built on the outskirts of the village but at the same time worried that the location will be far from students especially those sponsoring themselves.

If the great opportunity of building a university in Kanye, for whatever reasons, does not come to pass Tshitlho highlighted that the consequences will be that developments will lag behind and the place may remain rural without buildings attracting more investors further. “We will remain stagnant, there will be no employment creation, no accommodation business opportunities, and no uplifting of the economy of the informal sector as well as local transport industry.”

The Show committee Chairman also pointed out that they were advised by The Low Level Local Consultation Committee and it posits that it is useless for the Showground land to keep idling but instead they can loan it to some people to utilize it under PPP like Southern District Council (SDC) did with Mongala mall previously.

“We also thought there could be thorough consultations with Southern District Commissioner, (SDC) Council Secretary and Ngwaketse Landboard Secretary to discuss the issue with them further so they advise accordingly.”

Meanwhile he also said they met Malope on the matter. “We went to Kgosi Malope to meet him on the issue,” he pointed out while adding that they had wanted Malope to consult morafe on the matter. “Right now Kgosi don’t want to call morafhe as he feels the strategy may not work.”

District Commissioner, SDC Council Secretary have their say

District Commissioner Mmoloki Raletobane also re-affirmed that the land belongs to morafhe and the Kgosi is the custodian. “He holds it on behalf of the community but it is that morafhe that can guide him on how best to utilize it,” he stated.

As DC, he said any development that is in the interest of government and in line with community, and also not breaking any law “we can give it a nod” while emphasizing that their job is to advise what is simply in the interest of government.

He however said he was not officially approached on the matter of the university but got winds of it being proposed to be built at Showground. “I just know there is a Showgrounds which they want.”

On his part, Council Secretary Mompati Seleka said he is aware of the move, and while they have not contacted his office, he gathers that some village elders came up with the university proposal to be erected at Showgrounds but were facing some resistance from certain quarters of the community.

He stressed that they could have approached them because as Council they are the planning authority and everything has to pass by them.  “When people want to start something like this, they engage us as a Council facility as we would assist them accordingly. We would facilitate the process with regulations to make them accommodative,” he stressed.

Kgosikgolo Malope II was not able to provide this publication with a comment on the matter when contacted this week. “I am sorry I cannot comment on that university proposal issue,” he said.

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State forged Kgosi’s arrest warrant

22nd July 2021
FORMER DIS BOSS: ISAAC KGOSI

In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).

The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.

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UDC parties discuss by-elections

22nd July 2021
UDC

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.

Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.

The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.

This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).

The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.

The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.

In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.

Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.

Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.

“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.

Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.

“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.

The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.

UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.

Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.

Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.

Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”

Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.

FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS  

With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.

BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.

BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.

It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.

Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”

It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.

At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.

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DIS infiltrates Police fingerprint system

22nd July 2021
Makgope

Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.

Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.

BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.

The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.

By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.

In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.

“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.

“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.

The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.

All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.

“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.

Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.

Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.

COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE

As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.

“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.

The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.

“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.

The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.

“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.

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