Eric Molale (pictured) and Motsaathebe headline wish list
Four candidates of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who submitted their names for the Goodhope-Mabule constituency primary election attempted to nail a final minute deal to have only one of them taking on cabinet Minister, Eric Molale in the party primaries scheduled for July 11th but failed.
The four, Kenaleone Motsaathebe, Topo Mononi, Mogatle and Phillip Sebakile met at the Phakalane Gold Resort to try and agree on a consensus candidate among themselves but failed. The talks were doomed to fail because the four candidates met after paying the P5000 application fee to earn a right to contest the primaries.
Another indication that the talks were nullity was the fact that the BDP political education sub-committee held talks with all candidates to try and rally around one person but the talks also collapsed as the candidates could not agree. The four candidates have since agreed to disagree and go for the jugular.
The candidates have been notified that the primaries will be held on July 11th, this will be immediately after the party’s elective congress in Mmadinare.
The party central committee has taken a decision that no time should be wasted after the central committee and all members of the new central committee will be expected to descend in Borolong to activate the campaign which is expected to be challenging because the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will be fielding the paramount chief of Barolong, Kgosi Lotlamoreng II.
The 11th July date makes the situation very tricky for primary election candidates because it makes the campaign time very short. Some have even decided not to go to the Mmadinare congress because of time constraints as they want to canvass votes. They have only one week to do that. Given the vastness of the constituency, the contestants will need resources to be able to cover it in a short space of time.
The other candidates seem to be riled by Molale’s decision to contest, veterans within the BDP point to the issue of resources as the most pain for them. Molale may present a formidable challenge because of his access to resources despite his less colourful political experience.
Motsaathebe was seen as the heir apparent to former Member of Parliament for Borolong, Kitso Mokaila. But as fate will have it, Molale was drawn into politics by way of special nomination and this changed prospects for Motsaathebe altogether. He hopes to win the primaries though since he has been through the structures.
Motsaathebe has a colourful political curriculum vitae – he has served the BDP at various structures. He has been the national chairperson of the BDP Youth Wing between 2008 and 2010, a position that put him straight into the ruling party’s central committee.
He also served in the same structure from 2006 to 2008 under the leadership of Kefentse Mzwinila. Motsaathebe was a member of the BDP national disciplinary committee between 2007 and 2009.
At one stage he was at the helm of Tshekedi Khama’s bid to come to Parliament, replacing his brother, Lt Gen Ian Khama. He has also helped the course of BDP’s fraternal relations with the African National Congress (ANC) during his days as Youth Wing chairman by engaging them on various issues and inviting them to Botswana. Today most of those he fraternised with are elevated in the ANC or outside the ANC.
Pule Mabe is a member of the ANC executive and also a Member of Parliament; while Julius Malema has formed his own party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and is also in Parliament. Motsaathebe now wants to emulate his peers and go to Parliament, but first he must win BDP primary elections.
He is said to be against primaries being held on the 11th because the campaign time is very short. He has tried to make himself relevant in the constituency by registering the Barolong Development Trust at the behest of former MP, Mokaila. He has also provided his legal services pro-bono to residents of the constituency.
BLOCK MOLALE PETITION FOILED
Molale is the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration – he came to Parliament by way of Special election by the President. He is also a former Permanent Secretary to the President, a career civil servant who cultivated friends and foes during his career. He is the most senior of the candidates, and is well resourced.
At a meeting of the PEEC of the BDP, he denied allegations raised by his opponents that he was flouting regulations by campaigning before time. He also put to bed, talk that he is running because he wants to be Vice President in 2018; he denied such reports as they were put before him by other candidates. He made it clear that he only wants to serve the people of Morolong by direct appointment.
Molale appears however, to be having the support of the majority of BDP councillors in the constituency. The Khama card may also work for him, his campaign troops on the ground are citing the fact that he is trusted by the President as a wild card for him.
Molale is not moved by the issues raised by his opponents that he is already in Parliament hence he should not be contesting. They state that Borolong already has two representatives in Parliament and Molale wants to reduce the number.
Molale will have to resign his Parliament seat should he win the primaries so that he contests Goodhope-Mabule. On the other hand Molale seems to have crossed the bridge in regard to a would-be protest from the four other candidates which alleged that he submitted his application to contest the primaries late.
They alleged that he submitted his papers well after the cut off time of 12 noon. But indications are that Molale’s name has been accepted by the branch in Goodhope and indeed by the central committee which sat in Mmadinare on Thursday.
Mononi has tried his luck on a number of occasions. He has always been unlucky with elections. In the last general election he tied with a UDC candidate for the Goodhope ward but went on to lose the re-run. In 2008 he lost the BDP primary elections for Goodhope ward to Seleha Ditshwane.
On the 23rd of May this year, Mononi lost branch chairmanship elections to Kago Kamodi in Rakhuna. However he is confident that despite his unimpressive record with elections, he may pull a surprise in the constituency primary election this time around.
Phillip Sebakile is from Mabule, and he expects to play the wild card of being the loner from the other side. He solely banks on Mabule residents to help him cross the bridge. He has no leadership track record in the BDP, safe to being a member.
Mogatle, a former police officer is from Pitsane and will help nurture democracy in the BDP primaries.
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has taken a significant step towards diversifying its energy mix by signing a power purchase agreement with Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village. This agreement marks a major milestone for the energy sector in Botswana as the country transitions from a coal-fired power generation system to a new energy mix comprising coal, gas, solar, and wind.
The CEO of BPC, David Kgoboko, explained that the Power Purchase Agreement is for a 6MW coal bed methane proof of concept project to be developed around Mmashoro village. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy in the energy mix. The use of coal bed methane for power generation is an exciting development as it provides a hybrid solution with non-dispatchable sources of generation like solar PV. Without flexible base-load generation, the deployment of non-dispatchable solar PV generation would be limited.
Kgoboko emphasized that BPC is committed to enabling the development of a gas supply industry in Botswana. Sekaname Energy, along with other players in the coal bed methane exploration business, is a key and strategic partner for BPC. The successful development of a gas supply industry will enable the realization of a secure and sustainable energy mix for the country.
The Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Moagi, expressed his support for the initiative by the private sector to develop a gas industry in Botswana. The country has abundant coal reserves, and the government fully supports the commercial extraction of coal bed methane gas for power generation. The government guarantees that BPC will purchase the generated electricity at reasonable tariffs, providing cash flow to the developers and enabling them to raise equity and debt funding for gas extraction development.
Moagi highlighted the benefits of developing a gas supply industry, including diversified primary energy sources, economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. He commended Sekaname Energy for undertaking a pilot project to prove the commercial viability of extracting coal bed methane for power generation. If successful, this initiative would unlock the potential of a gas production industry in Botswana.
Sekaname Energy CEO, Peter Mmusi, emphasized the multiple uses of natural gas and its potential to uplift Botswana’s economy. In addition to power generation, natural gas can be used for gas-to-liquids, compressed natural gas, and fertilizer production. Mmusi revealed that Sekaname has already invested $57 million in exploration and infrastructure throughout its resource area. The company plans to spend another $10-15 million for the initial 6MW project and aims to invest over $500 million in the future for a 90MW power plant. Sekaname’s goal is to assist BPC in becoming a net exporter of power within the region and to contribute to Botswana’s transition to cleaner energy production.
In conclusion, the power purchase agreement between BPC and Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village is a significant step towards diversifying Botswana’s energy mix. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy. The government’s support for the development of a gas supply industry and the commercial extraction of coal bed methane will bring numerous benefits to the country, including economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. With the potential to become a net exporter of power and a cleaner energy producer, Botswana is poised to make significant strides in its energy sector.
It is not clear as to when, but before taking a festive break in few weeks’ time UDC leaders would have convened to address the ongoing deadlock surrounding constituency allocation in the negotiations for the 2024 elections. The leaders, Duma Boko of the UDC, Mephato Reggie Reatile of the BPF, and Ndaba Gaolathe of the AP, are expected to meet and discuss critical matters and engage in dialogue regarding the contested constituencies.
The negotiations hit a stalemate when it came to allocating constituencies, prompting the need for the leaders to intervene. Representatives from the UDC, AP, and BPF were tasked with negotiating the allocation, with Dr. Patrick Molotsi and Dr. Philip Bulawa representing the UDC, and Dr. Phenyo Butale and Wynter Mmolotsi representing the AP.
The leaders’ meeting is crucial in resolving the contentious issue of constituency allocation, which has caused tension among UDC members and potential candidates for the 2024 elections. After reaching an agreement, the leaders will engage with the members of each constituency to gauge their opinions and ensure that the decisions made are favored by the rank and file. This approach aims to avoid unnecessary costs and conflicts during the general elections.
One of the main points of contention is the allocation of Molepolole South, which the BNF is adamant about obtaining. In the 2019 elections, the UDC was the runner-up in Molepolole South, securing the second position in seven out of eight wards. Other contested constituencies include Metsimotlhabe, Kgatleng East and West, Mmadinare, Francistown East, Shashe West, Boteti East, and Lerala Maunatlala.
The criteria used for constituency allocation have also become a point of dispute among the UDC member parties. The issue of incumbency is particularly contentious, as the criterion for constituency allocation suggests that current holders of UDC’s council and parliamentary seats should be given priority for re-election without undergoing primary elections. Disadvantaged parties argue that this approach limits democratic competition and hinders the emergence of potentially more capable candidates.
Another disputed criterion is the allocation based on the strength and popularity of a party in specific areas. Parties argue that this is a subjective criterion that leads to disputes and favoritism, as clear metrics for strength and visibility cannot be defined. The BNF, in particular, questions the demands of the new entrants, the BPF and AP, as they lack a traceable track record to support their high expectations.
The unity and cohesion of the UDC are at stake, with the BPF and AP expressing dissatisfaction and considering withdrawing from the negotiations. Therefore, it is crucial for the leaders to expedite their meeting and find a resolution to these disputes.
In the midst of these negotiations, the BNF has already secured 15 constituencies within the UDC coalition. While the negotiations are still ongoing, BNF Chairman Dr. Molotsi revealed that they have traditionally held these constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally. The constituencies include Gantsi North, Gantsi South, Kgalagadi North, Kgalagadi South, Good Hope – Mmathethe, Kanye North, Kanye South, Lobatse, Molepolole North, Gaborone South, Gaborone North, Gaborone Bonnignton North, Takatokwane, Letlhakeng, and Tlokweng.
The resolution of the contested constituencies will test the ability of the UDC to present a united front in the 2024 National Elections will depend on the decisions made by the three leaders. It is essential for them to demonstrate maturity and astuteness in resolving the constituency allocation deadlock and ensuring the cohesion of the UDC.
In Botswana, the Constitution Section 5 (3) (b) provides that conditions of bail are necessary to ensure that an accused appears at a later date for trial or for proceedings preliminary to trial. These conditions may include restrictions on interfering with state witnesses, the payment of a certain amount, the provision of sureties, the submission of travel documents, reporting to the police regularly, and appearing for all court mentions or proceedings. Failure to abide by these conditions can result in the revocation of bail. Robert Seditseng, a murder accused who has been detained since 2016, is currently facing the consequences of not adhering to his bail conditions – therefore paying the piper.
Despite numerous unsuccessful bail applications over the past five years, Gaborone High Court judge Michael Leburu denied Seditseng bail this week. Seditseng had requested to be set free before his trial starts on April 12th, but his freedom will now depend on the verdict. He is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Siscah Mutukee, on June 22nd, 2016, in Charleshill.
Judge Leburu ruled that Seditseng is not a candidate for bail due to being a flight risk, as he has previously absconded from court. Defense lawyer David Ndlovu pleaded with the court to consider the time Seditseng has already spent in prison, but Leburu questioned whether there was any guarantee that Seditseng would not abscond again, given that he had done so twice before.
An affidavit from Investigations officer (IO), Constable Kedibonye Botsalo, supports the view that Seditseng is not a suitable candidate for bail due to his tendency to abscond when granted bail. The affidavit explains that Seditseng was initially denied bail by the magistrate court due to ongoing investigations and the possibility of tampering with evidence. However, a concession was later made by the prosecution, and Seditseng was granted conditional bail by the lower court.
The court documents reveal that Seditseng failed to appear before court on March 7th, 2016, without providing any explanation. As a result, a warrant for his arrest was issued. The case proceeded without him on several occasions until he finally appeared before court on July 13th, 2017. On that day, Seditseng’s bail was revoked due to his inability to provide valid reasons for his absences.
On October 4th, 2017, Seditseng was granted bail for the second time. However, he was once again absent from court on October 31st, 2017, without providing any reasons. He continued to be absent from court on five subsequent occasions until his arrest and appearance before court on August 30th, 2018.
During a period of nine months, Seditseng absconded from court without providing any reasons for his actions. This repeated pattern of absconding demonstrates a clear disregard for the bail conditions and raises concerns about his willingness to appear for trial.
Given Seditseng’s history of absconding and the potential risk of him doing so again, Judge Leburu’s decision to deny him bail is justified. The purpose of bail is to ensure the accused’s presence at trial, and Seditseng has repeatedly shown a lack of commitment to fulfilling this obligation. It is crucial to prioritize the safety of the community and the integrity of the justice system by keeping flight-risk suspects like Seditseng in custody until their trial is concluded.
In conclusion, the denial of bail to repeat flight-risk suspect Robert Seditseng is a necessary measure to ensure his appearance at trial. His history of absconding from court and failure to provide valid reasons for his actions demonstrate a disregard for the bail conditions and raise concerns about his willingness to face justice. By denying him bail, the court is prioritizing the safety of the community and upholding the integrity of the justice system.