Chinese ambassador to Botswana Zheng Zhuqiang has distanced his embassy from any involvement in forewarning of the Botswana government on the inappropriateness of China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) to construct the Morupule B mega-power station.
Zhuqiang said his embassy “wouldn’t have any records” of the ironically prescient counsel to the Botswana government. He remarked that the Chinese embassy does not know the origins of the alleged cautionary missive, saying the supposed lack of confidence in CNEEC to uptake the project of the magnitude and sophistication of Morupule B mega-power plant, “might represent his predecessor’s point of view”.
The evasive diplomat said that as far as he knew, several companies including at least two Chinese companies were invited to bid to construct the Morupule B power station. The two companies were CNEEC and China Tung Fa.
In absolving his government, he clarified that contrary to popular belief CNEEC is not a wholly government owned enterprise. He explained that under the Chinese arrangement, a company that government does not command a 50% stake in falls under the bracket of the Chinese State Assets and Administration Council therefore afforded the liberty and total autonomy in business operation. The diplomat distanced CNEEC from connection to the state and consequently said this dismisses any talk of diplomatic tiff between Botswana and China.
Zhuqiang also revealed that the findings of the Botswana government report compiled by its imported panel of American experts as well as CNEEC’ s report from its Chinese experts have reached contradictory conclusions. He said both the Botswana government and CNEEC have different opinions on the root cause of the protracted Morupule B quandary.
The emissary of the communist state also claims to have held several meetings with Chinese companies operating in Botswana advising them to deliver projects of first-rate and in time. He further added that the top officials of CNEEC have already been interviewed several times by the Chinese government.
Zhuqiang also said that both CNEEC and the government of Botswana are working together as they attempt to chart a path of redeeming the troubled Fluidised Bed Heat Exchanger (FBHE), a component of the power plant boilers which he branded as, “the heart of the power station”.
The ambassador also defended his country against the blanket judgement of Chinese shoddy workmanship saying not all Chinese constructed projects are poorly made, characterising the botched Morupule B mega power plant, the Francistown stadium as well as the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport Terminal building as isolated cases and a minor fraction of the Chinese works done in Botswana since the 1990’s.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.