Botswana National Front’s (BNF), Secretary General Arafat Khan
Botswana National Front’s (BNF) firebrand Secretary General Arafat Khan has revealed that he once more intends to invite South African Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema into the country.
Khan says the reason for his intent is to fulfil a pledge he made to his Borakalalo ward electorate to bring in the EFF Commander In Chief (CIC) before the 2014 general election, where Malema and his clique of EFF top brass were slapped with Visa requirements that effectively obstructed their visit into the country.
Malema was barred from coming into the country on the 12th of September 2014, a day before he was scheduled to publicly endorse Khan in Borakalalo despite having a diplomatic passport as a South African Member of Parliament, and told to apply again or appeal the snub after 8 months.
Khan described the requirement as, “an unreasonable and demeaning scheme that targets international friends of opposition (parties) requiring they awfully forfeit their fate to government in order to be granted entry into the country.”
Khan also assures that they come armed with a new tack after the South African local elections and should they encounter the might of the system’s resistance, he will seek recourse with the courts of law to compel the immigration department to reveal reasons for the barring of individuals associated with opposition parties.
Khan also sheds light on his notorious close association with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane, saying that they have been friends for so long and he now considers him “a dear brother.”He also continues that their friendship of 10 years has allowed them opportunity to know each other’s true political convictions adding, “He knows me as much as I know him and we do not even talk about recruiting each other but banter over side-line issues such as football.”
He also goes on to say that contrary to popular belief he is not any close to BNF and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko. This is despite Khan remaining the only council candidate who has had his municipal bid launched by the party president in the run up to the 2014 general election. Boko also went on to helm the guest speakership task at his subsequent electoral victory festivity at his ward in May 2015. He continues to state that he does not even have Boko’s mobile contacts and neither thinks the popular opposition leader has his.
Khan says that he simply defends Boko the same way he has always done with former BNF leader Otsweletse Moupo. He continues to say that even though he has his own political differences with Boko he can never in a million years be seen at odds or contradicting him on public fora. He also in a momentary sign of wonder states that, “I think Boko has done well for the movement by bringing the fractured opposition movements together and I sincerely think he deserves re-election because he currently remains the only suitable leader to lead the movement.
He also reasons that it is the first time BNF gets to enjoy unbridled stability in a long time and with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) inside the opposition bloc there remains little doubt that the establishment will be toppled in 2019.
Khan also sheds light on the late Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) leader Gomolemo Motswaledi describing him as “a dear friend of mine and a very unassuming politician.”
He says he first came across the expressive and likeable BMD leader in 2003 at a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) rally in Molepolole North and in no time they had befriended each other. Motswaledi more or less attained the status of martyrdom in the theatre of opposition politics and among the peasantry following his death 2 months before the 2014 general election in a freak automobile accident in the locality of Pitsane in Borolong.
Khan continues to describe him as a highly principled politico who sacrificed a lot for his political convictions and says he remains absolutely won over, without a shadow of doubt in his mind that Motswaledi never harboured any notion of retracing his steps back to the BDP which he once served as secretary general before being expelled. He also says that BNF founder Dr Kenneth Koma must be smiling in his grave because he has always been an ardent agitator of opposition unity in the country.
Khan also says that he is exiting youth league politics with a clear conscience to focus on his ward, his life and business and will also not be contesting any central committee position in the coming elective congress. He also denies having his hand pulling the strings of youth politics he claims to be leaving behind, in bid to influence his successive youth league leadership. Khan denies knowing if former student leader Kago Mokotedi will be contesting the BNF youth league presidency since the nomination process is not yet open, but swiftly moves to describe Mokotedi as a one of the most outstanding youth leaders of his life and his party.
Khan declares that, “I have not yet endorsed anyone’s candidacy and at present I’m not sure if I will, but if I do I will endorse someone with the right talent and capabilities to catapult UDC to greater heights.
The fire-breathing councillor has thus far been involved in over 30 acts of philanthropy in his ward including monetary, equipment and clothing donations.
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.
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.
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.