Phakalane Estates supremo and former Cabinet Minister, David Magang has furnished letters through his lawyers Akheel Jinabhai & Associates to former President Festus Mogae as well as to Mmegi newspaper demanding clarification over the remarks which appeared in one of the paper’s latest editions.
Magang confirmed to this publication this week that indeed, he is exchanging communication with the two parties to “explain themselves” with the view of establishing the truth over the remarks attributed to Mogae where he allegedly equated Magang’s actions to ‘criminality’.
According to the publication, Mogae accused Magang of having committed a ‘criminal act’ by entering into an unfair arrangement with Water Utilities Corporation, providing infrastructure and getting the utilities for free. “That’s criminal, it is criminal, but he is a lawyer, surely he knew what he was doing,” the paper had quoted Mogae.
However, a few days following the publication of the story in which Mogae bashed the current administration over a number of policy issues, the former president released a statement in which he stated that he was misunderstood on his position on Magang and the Water Utilities Corporation matter, but did little to dispel the “criminal act” part of the story which was attributed to him.
“The article displays serious miscommunication or misapprehension between me and the reporter, where I criticise the Water Utilities Corporation for demanding and obtaining compliance by Magang to build infrastructure, in this case a pipeline from Central Gaborone to Phakalane and a distribution water tower and giving them to the water utility free of charge, the article says I said “Magang built the infrastructure and got free’. For this misstatement of fact we owe Mr Magang an apology,” reads the statement.
But impeccable sources indicate that Magang was unimpressed by the statement as he is of the view that it does nothing to dispel the criminal tag supposedly hipped on him by the former president.
Magang has since last week instructed his lawyers to work on the matter with a view of examining who said what and the way forward.
Known to be headstrong and having penchant for leaving no stone unturned, Magang may take his childhood friend, college roommate and former boss to the cleaners. In the 1990s Magang took seriously reports by a local newspaper that his faction was planning to topple President Sir Ketumile Masire from power that he nearly took the matter to court until he was convinced by his then lawyer, Advocate Sidney Pilane to drop the charges. Despite his colleagues’ baulking, he insisted on litigation because “he did not want the press to get away with murder.”
Magang and Mogae, though childhood friends are known to differ rather vehemently on issues.
Magang’s battle with WUC is legendary, dating as far back as Masire’s presidency. At one point he took Masire’s administration to court after making an appeal to him in respect of the irregular stance WUC had taken over the primary structure in Phakalane. Masire had sat on the matter for nearly twelve months. Although Masire strongly advised against such recourse and suggested arbitration instead, Magang went ahead since Masire was failing to intervene on his behalf.
Meanwhile, the court case in which Phakalane Estates is suing WUC for not refunding Magang P5 million for putting up a water tower, when the onus was that of Government has been dragging on before the courts for close to 20 years.
In Phakalane’s formative years, Magang had no option but to spend P5 million on the erection of a water tower and reservoirs and millions more on the main sewer. However, thereafter Phakalane declared a dispute as to who was responsible for this aspect of primary infrastructure and consequently put on hold payments of the sums accrued; WUC would then cut off the water supply for a full two weeks at the instruction of the then water affairs minister.
Magang is however being cagey to reveal possible outcomes of the ongoing dialogue and dissuaded this reporter from possibly complicating the situation. “O seka ware o fithela batho ba lwantsha tau le wena wa tsena mo teng.” Magang preferred only to reveal that: “He is talking with the concerned parties over the matter.”
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.
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.
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.