Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Members of Parliament will table a motion in parliament calling for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the companies which were awarded tenders of supplying equipments to Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
This follows a statement made by Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi in which he stated that the previous answer given to parliament by the then acting Minister Lesego Motsumi regarding the tenders won by Seleka Spring (Pty) Ltd was incorrect.
“The fact that two ministers gave contrasting answers to parliament is clearly a serious matter hence the need to establish a Commission of Inquiry to find out the truth,” MP for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi told WeekendPost.
UDC MPs suspect that Minister Kgathi wants to cover up for the owners of the company which has become centre of debate, Seleka Springs. The company is jointly owned by President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s brothers, Anthony and Tshekedi Khama.
In 2011, following her answer to parliament regarding the awarding of BDF tenders, Lesego Motsumi, who was a specially elected MP was relieved from her duties and replaced with Dr Gloria Somolokae. Motsumi was sent on ambassadorial duty to India.
Motsumi was answering a question in parliament asked by Mmolotsi who had wanted to know companies which were awarded BDF tenders to supply the army from 1990 up until 2000. In her response Motsumi mentioned Seleka Springs (Pty) as one of the companies which had won BDF tenders during the period.
In December 2014, Mokgware asked the incumbent minister to state the number of tenders that were awarded to Seleka Springs and the value of such tenders. The response from the Minister was that, Seleka Springs was never awarded the tender but only acted as an agent, leading to request by Kgathi to retract the previous answer presented by Motsumi as erroneous.
This week, however, Motsumi maintained in an interview with a local radio station that the answer she provided to parliament in 2010 regarding BDF tenders was accurate and she never misled parliament. Meanwhile the incumbent Kgathi said Seleka Springs (Pty) Ltd has never been a supplier to BDF but was only engaged as agent.
Opposition MPs are of the view that Kgathi’s answer leaves a lot to be desired after he stated that he is not privy to the manner in which the data used by the previous minister (Motsumi) to arrive to her answer. MP for Gabane-Mankgodi Major General Pius Mokgware said Kgathi was dishonest on his assertion that he was not privy to the manner in which Motsumi arrived at her answer, “What made Minister Kgathi to come to a conclusion that he is right because he is not privy to that information?” asked Mokgware.
Mokgware said it was not the right thing for the incumbent minister to remove the previous answer provided by the then minister. He said the development will set precedence and should not be allowed to go ahead without stern questioning.” Ministers arrive at decisions based on certain information and it certainly not right for them to present differing answers. The first answer provided by minister Motsumi was accepted by parliament,” he said. “It is not good for our records because the next minister might do the same and it would not be a right procedure for our parliament.”
The former army man said the answer provided by Motsumi in 2010 should remain the accepted answer and should be removed from the parliament Hansard only after the truth has been established. “We cannot accept Minister Kgathi’s answer without any sort of investigation because we suspect he is not telling the truth,” he said.
A motion for a Commission of Inquiry, if passed will see both the incumbent Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Kgathi and former Acting Minister Motsumi being summoned before the established committee to testify and reconcile the truth on the matter.
Mmolotsi is expected to present the motion to parliament after consulting with party parliamentary caucus.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.