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I hate politics Lt. Gen. Masire

Former Botswana Defense Force (BDF) Commander Tebogo Masire has indicated that he hates politics and has no intention of standing for political office.

Masire became active in politics at the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) following his retirement in 2012 after being Commander ever since 2006.

Weekend Post this week established that a cluster of BDP foot soldiers at Masire’s home village, Kanye are covertly lobbying for him to stand for the 2019 General Elections at Kanye South.

In fact, it’s not the first time the activists have lobbied him, prior to the 2014 General Elections, less than 2 years into his retirement they approached him but he turned the offer down on grounds that he was “not ready to contest”.

“You will recall that he was influenced in 2014 but refused to stand on grounds that he was not prepared as he had just retired,” a BDP source in the area told this publication on Thursday.

“The problem was that he was not familiar with the constituency so he needed time to sell himself before the electorates,” the source further explained.

In 2014, Kanye South pitted Dr. Lemogang Kwape and the youthful Thato Baruti in the BDP primary election with soft spoken Kwape emerging victorious although he was later to be humiliated by the combative Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Abram Kesupile who triumphed at the General Elections.

According to the BDP activist in the area probabilities are that Kanye South may be split in the BDP’s bid to expand the number of constituencies. He said a motion is expected to pass swiftly before next parliament session, and Masire may contest in one of the constituencies that will be riven at Kanye South.

Sparking debate that he may be enticing potential electorates, and through his THC (initials for his names Tebogo Horatious Carter) foundation, the 4th commander was spotted last year December at Moshaneng village during Christmas hosting orphans and old age destitutes, an event he confirmed to this publication.

At Moshaneng, he donated hampers, sweets, goodies, drinks and chocolates to more than 70 needy kids and provided 40 old aged folks with groceries which included sugar, bread flour, tea packs, sorghum meal and washing powder among others proving that he may be spending the rest of his life in community service as he says he enjoys making a difference to other people’s lives.

Some in the party believe that the Motebejana born is already positioning himself and gearing up for the upcoming elections.      

On the contrary, Masire, who is a cousin to former president Sir Ketumile Masire, told Weekend Post this week in an interview that he detests the idea of running for political elections.

“I hate political elections, I hate running for public office,” he said before declaring that he is and remains a BDP activist – although he will not run for office.

According to Masire, who came after Matshwenyego Fisher, Ian Khama and Mompati Merafhe at the barracks, all who later joined active politics save for Fisher, he is “disturbed by the current trend of politics as it’s not appealing at all” hence his stance not to stand.

“The current trend of politics doesn’t excite me, it is not something I will get into,” he declared to this publication.  

He has been seen in recent BDP events with his wife Orefitlhetse who holds the position of treasurer in the BDP Women’s Wing as they both grew in the party.

While still Commander at BDF, Masire irked some opposition politicians after uttering what they regarded as political insinuations in 2011 during the notorious public servants strike which prompted a joint statement from the then opposition leaders.

At that time, in 2010, his contract had just been extended by President Khama for another 2 years under controversial circumstances. He was to retire that year (2010) as he had reached the mandatory retirement age of 55.

According to the joint statement, penned by the then leader of opposition, representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Botsalo Ntuane, Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Dumelang Saleshando and Botswana National Front (BNF)’s Isaac Mabiletsa, Masire had crossed the line into partisanship while still holding public office.

“An examination of the remarks in question clearly demonstrates that by attacking opposition politicians and falsely accusing them of inciting BDF officers to stage a mutiny during the recent public sector strike, General Masire deliberately crossed the line into active partisan politics,” they stated.

The trio continued to point out that they do not recall any instance in the history of this country when a BDF Commander has ever assumed such a partisan political posture in favour of the ruling party.

“In conclusion, we challenge General Masire   to retract his words and tender an apology to opposition politicians. Should he fail to do  so, we extend an invitation to him to resign his post, discard the uniform which he wears  with such great honour, and join active politics; his new  found passion. We can assure a civilian Masire that we will be ready for him at the freedom squares,” the trio had said back then.

However, fresh information suggests that the retired Masire will not be contesting for any political position in the foreseeable future.

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Mascom, Letshego partner to deliver the MyZaka instant loan

31st March 2023

Letshego Botswana has recently partnered with Mascom to launch the Mascom MyZaka Instant Loan, a customer focused mobile money microloan service designed to provide customers with swift and convenient access to funds, driven by the underlying theme of “Ithuse” meaning “help yourself”

The loan is said to have been developed through a partnership driven by a deep customer focus with the key objectives of access, convenience and flexible financial support to customers of Letshego Botswana and Mascom through instantly disbursed short-term loans from P50 to P1 500 over the period of one month.

Letshego’s head of transformation, Molebogeng Malomo highlighted that working through agile methodologies, the partnership was able to develop and be released as what they call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or solution. “In keeping up with the spirit of design thinking and agile methodologies, the experiences and viewpoints of both Letshego Botswana and Mascom’s customers will be valuable to inform further enhancements to the Mascom MyZaka solution,” he said.

He further noted that the partnership and the development of the MyZaka instant loan will provide both the organizations to diversify their offering and customer base, while also offering the customer more choices and flexibility to initiate and be in control of their loan requests through the self-service mobile based application.

Mascom’s Chief Executive Officer, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni also alluded that their origins, priorities and initiatives are firmly rooted in Botswana and in the success of all Batswana, and that their strategy and intent is supported by embracing innovative problem-solving.

“The speed with which Letshego has grown over the years gives us confidence that we have partnered with the right service provider. Their expertise and most of all, innovation, a value we both share, will be beneficial to MyZaka Mobile Money for growth and for the convenience of our subscribers,” she concluded.

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DCEC granted warrant to arrest Khama twins

29th March 2023

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has been granted permission to apprehend the former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, and his twin brother Anthony Khama.

Information gathered by this publication suggests that the DCEC is actively searching for the Khama brothers, this is in connection with events that transpired whilst Tshekedi was Minister of Environment. The duo is currently in exile in South Africa together with their elder brother, and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.

Approximately two weeks ago, the corruption-busting agency discreetly filed for an arrest warrant that was approved by the Broadhurst Magistrate Court for the two to be taken into custody, according to a highly placed source within the government enclave.

DCEC is also said to have filed an affidavit signed by a high-ranking officer known to this publication. Reports indicate that after being presented with details of the case, the Broadhurst magistrate issued the agency an arrest warrant.

It is also believed that the agency has been conducting extensive investigations into the supposed suspects for quite some time. Furthermore, Weekend Post has it on good word that the DCEC has been looking for methods to summon the two for questioning but has been unsuccessful.

According to unconfirmed reports, DCEC met with attorney Victor Ramalepa, who refused to accept the summons, saying that he is not their attorney. Furthermore, it is believed that DCEC has enlisted the assistance of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) in flagging the suspects’ names in the International Criminal Police Organisation INTERPOL.

Responding to WeekendPost enquiries, DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said, “I am not in good position to confirm or deny the allegation,” adding that such allegations may fall within the operational purview of the DCEC.

When contacted for comment, Ramalepa briefly stated that he is unaware of the purported arrest warrant. “I know nothing about the warrant and I haven’t been served with anything,” he said.

Meanwhile, former president Lt Gen Ian Khama recently issued a statement stating that DIS is intensifying the harassment and intimidation of him, family, friends and office employees.

“It is reprehensible for state officials and agencies to abuse government resources to terrorise their own citizens for personal gain,” said the former president in a statement.

He also stated that his brother TK’s staff and security were ordered to falsely implicate him. “Their desperate tactics will never work, it only serves to motivate me more to pursue regime change and free Botswana from tyranny,” he said

This comes after the corruption busting agency wants to interview the alleged suspects as they are still hiding in South Africa since last year.

Despite the hostility between government and Khama family going unabated, last month, Masisi extended an olive branch to Khama in political rally, indicating that he hopes the two of them settle their differences, of which the former responded by welcoming the gesture.

Khama further said his brother, Tshekedi, will facilitate the reconciliation of his behalf. Many have indicated that Masisi did not say what he said in good faith, and was only scoring political brownies since he was in Khama’s territory in Shoshong.

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DCEC’s Tshepo Pilane still has his mojo

29th March 2023

Tshepo Pilane silenced his critics after being named the head of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in May of last year and served his opponents humble pie. Many believed he would only last for a month, but almost a year later, he is still standing.

Pilane, a trained soldier whose appointment surprised both the general public and some officers within the DCEC walls, has never glanced back in his duty to steer the DCEC ship forward.

It is alleged that immediately after his appointment the man embarked on a nation-wide trip touring the DCEC offices across the country in order to confirm and reaffirm the DCEC’s mandate. Sources from inside the DCEC claim that Pilane won the hearts of many DCEC employees due to his humility and plain message; “people at the top of the DCEC will come and go but the mandate of the DCEC remains relevant and unchanged.”

Pilane was appointed the Acting DCEC Director General at a time when the organisation was undergoing turbulence through court proceedings in which the suspended Director General Tymon Katlholo had interdicted the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing the DCEC premises. At the time, the DIS had raided the DCEC offices in the absence of Katlholo claiming to be looking for high profile corruption cases allegedly held by Katlholo.

At the time Pilane was Head of the DCEC Intelligence Division holding the position of Senior Assistant Director General reporting directly to the Deputy Director General Operations Ms Priscilla Israel. Contrary to his detractors, Pilane who is a reserved and humble person by nature won the support and backing of many DCEC officers due to his unassuming nature.

In a recent questionnaire sent to the DCEC regarding Pilane’s term in office, the DCEC was resolute on its commitment towards the fight against corruption. When quizzed on allegations of rife corruption since he took over, Pilane through his Public Relations (PR) office stated that the corruption landscape in Botswana remains unchanged as the DCEC continues to receive reports on allegations of corruption with sectors such as procurement (tenders and supplies), Transport (licensing and certificates), and land (dubious allocation and collusion) still leading issues reported. This trend has been consistence in the DCEC database for more than 10 years.

When further quizzed on accusations that suggest that due to the infighting at the agency, particularly at the top management, Investigations of cases has dropped significantly the DCEC claimed ignorance to the matter, stating that they are not aware of any “infights” at the DCEC “at the top management”, further stating that, investigations of cases has increased significantly, contrary to the allegations raised. “The DCEC is currently seeking new ways of expediting the investigations in order to fast track its enforcement role,” said the DCEC Head of Public Relations Lentswe Motshoganetsi. He further stated that the DCEC is in pursuit of high profile cases involving money and assets valued over P900 million. Three companies are involved in the scandal and two cases have already been committed to court while on one, investigations are about to be completed.

When WeekendPost inquired about Pilane’s roadmap, the DCEC stated that in the past, anti-corruption interventions were reactive, particularly in dealing with national projects that involve large sums of money. It was further started that in most instances investigating such matters takes a long time and in most instances, the money looted form Government in never recovered. As a result, the DCEC has taken a deliberate stance to attach its officers from the Corruption Prevention Division to be part of the implementation of these projects before, during, and after implementation.

The DCEC cited the Economic Stimulus Programme which, although meant to grow the economy and uplift Batswana from poverty, yielded incidents of corruption and poor workmanship. To date, the DCEC is still grappling with cases as some projects were not done, or were completed with defects beyond repair. Currently the DCEC is involved at the Ministry of Education conducting project risk management in the Multiple Path Ways Program at Moeng College and Maun Senior School. This intervention will spread to other sectors of the economy as part of the DCEC’s corruption prevention strategy.

Of recent, the DCEC has been in the media for all the wrong reasons following leakage of high profile cases and allegations claiming that the executive management is at war with each other more particularly with some within the agency harbouring ambitions to dethrone Pilane from the Directorship.

Although the infighting was denied by Pilane’s Office, he acknowledged that leakage of information is a problem across Government and stated that it is a pain at the DCEC. He however stated that Staff has been cautioned against leakage of investigation information and that they have roped in the Botswana Police to assist in investigating incidents of leakage. He further stated that they have increased continuous vetting and lifestyle audits for DCEC employees in order to enforce discipline.

Pilane’s term comes to an end in May 2023 after serving the DCEC for a year on acting basis. It will be in the public interest to see who will be given the baton to continue the anti-corruption journey if Pilane’s contract is not renewed. The DCEC has seen arrival and departure of Director Generals having alternated the top seat five times in less than seven years.

 

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