VP says he must prepare himself for Presidency now
Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi who is lobbying to become the next chairman of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has pronounced his claim to the throne this week at a meeting organised to launch his bid for chairmanship and announce his campaign team in Kanye on Monday.
Briefing profiled members of the ruling party in the southern region on Monday, Masisi, who was handpicked by President Lt Gen Ian Khama to become his right hand man during his last term of office, told party members that he will be President of the party and country come 2018. Ministers, Councillors, and other former cabinet ministers and veterans attended the meeting.
Ministers who attended the meeting include Minister of Agriculture, Patrick Ralotsia; Assistant Minister of Trade, Sadique Kebonang; and Assistant Minister of Health, Dr Alfred Madigele. All BDP Members of Parliament in the Southern District attended. Ishmael Legwaila was announced as the National campaign manager for Masisi’s bid for chairmanship.
Some BDP members who attended the meeting told this publication that the Vice President did not mince his words when challenged all those who doubt his popularity to stand up now and take him head on. “He made it clear that he is surprised that people are postponing their intentions to challenge him for positions in the party. I am ready for the challenge now, he said,” one of those who attended the meeting explained.
A defiant Masisi probably got provoked by sentiments that he is an unpopular Vice President and that there are BDP members who are supposedly lined up to challenge him for the presidency of the BDP as soon as President Khama vacates the scene.
Masisi’s unpopularity was extensively measured through the Moshupa-Thamaga constituency council bye-election that saw the ruling party lose by a good margin to the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) immediately after a general election in which the latter was associated with the political definition of decline. “If I am very unpopular, why should people wait for 2017,” he remarked, our informer/s said.
According to our informers, Masisi made it clear that being Vice President cannot stop him from being party chairman. “I am going to be president and run the country while at the same time I will be president of the party. I am surprised that people now assume I cannot be vice president and party chairman at the same time,” he is said to have told his listeners.
The Vice President also sold the argument that as a president in waiting, he should fix the party the way he wants so that by the time he is president, he knows every detail of the organisation.
Masisi also had a few musings on reports that Tati East Member of Parliament, Samson Guma Moyo will dent his support for the chairmanship bid. He said there is no need for such issues to be turned into corner politics, “issues must be addressed now,” he said demonstrating his appreciation of the support he is getting from Guma.
The Tati East legislator has been linked to controversy every time there is a BDP internal election. After his victory at Maun congress as chairman, Guma was accused of using his financial resources to entice delegates. He was later fingered in a plot to ditch ‘popular’ BDP heavy weights through the party primary elections in 2014.
He later resigned as party chairman. Guma has made it clear that he supports Masisi for chairmanship and vouches for Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri as secretary general.
On another subject, Masisi is said to have discouraged the idea of lobby lists but told his listeners that they are free to canvass support for any person of their choice for other positions because he is ready to work with anyone. Masisi currently has support from the BDP Youth Wing, while the BDP Women’s Wing may find itself between a rock and a hard place because of Tebelelo Seretse’s candidacy. She was the first person to make her intention clear and she has already done 360 degrees in her campaign trail.
Masisi’s campaign manager, Legwaila is a former councillor for Mathathane ward and also former sub-council chairman. He is assisted by Selibe Phikwe Mayor, Cllr Mojuta who will serve the campaign team as its secretary. Other members of the campaign include Isaac Maforaga from Palapye; Cllr Monageng from Serowe; Former Sua Township Mayor, Cllr Medupi; and former nominated Councillor, Victor Malete among others.
Legwaila confirmed that he has been appointed Masisi’s campaign manager and could not share details of the Kanye meeting.
While Masisi’s entry into the race was indeed a game changer, his campaign team still has stones to unturn because other candidates had already made inroads. All aspiring candidates have been given until June 1st 2015 to make their intentions known in writing to the Secretary General of the BDP. The congress will be held in July from 3rd to 5th in Mmadinare.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.