Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) defenders, Secretary General Mpho Balopi and Youth Wing chairman, Andy Boatile have lashed at Johnson Motshwarakgole and his Federation for ‘interferring’ in the party’s internal elections.
Balopi and Boatle are of the view that the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU)’s efforts to try and influence the outcomes of BDP’s upcoming elective congress will come to naught. BOFEPUSU announced last week that it will influence its members and sympathizers within BDP not vote for Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi in his bid to become the party chairman.
This has irked BDP party leadership, and the ruling party’s secretary general issued a subsequent statement castigating the union for what he called “meddling in the affairs of the BDP.”
Balopi defended Masisi’s policy towards workers, and noted that the Vice President believes in a society that is just and opens up opportunity for all its members. “He believes that workers should be renumerated fairly and their conditions of service must also be improved,” said Balopi in a statement.
Balopi said BOFEPUSU is still held on pre-elections rivalries instead of adopting a reconciliatory stand. He further accused, BOFEPUSU’s Labour Secretary, Johnson Motshwarakgole of being a divisive character. “Once again, BOFEPUSU is wasting limited workers resources and time in a political campaign that has nothing to do with them and the interests of members,” he stated.
In the run up to the 2014 general elections, Masisi was among the list of Members of Parliament who were viewed as anti-workers therefore having to be de-campaigned. Among the list include former Gaborone Central MP and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando and former Leader of Opposition Botsalo Ntuane who went on to lose their parliamentary seats.
BOFEPUSU has had not a good relationship with Masisi ever since the 2011 public servants strike in which Masisi was then minister responsible for public service. BOFEPUSU has described him an enemy of labour movements therefore deserving to be de-campaigned.
Balopi said BOFEPUSU has lost the true mandate of the trade unions and it is has now lost the plot as its leaders are politicians masquerading as trade unionist. “The race for the BDP Chairmanship is a matter to be decided at congress by members of the party and we don’t understand why Motshwarakgole imagines he has the power to dictate how our people will vote,” he contended.
The BDP Secretary General said Motshwarakgole is still smarting from electoral defeat and he personally is still dealing with having his ambitions of being specially nominated thwarted.
Meanwhile Boatile has observed that Motshwarakgole wants to influence BDP members to vote weak leaders. “The reason why he is afraid of Masisi is that he knows that he is the one who will take the BDP to victory in 2019,” observed Boatile. The Youth Wing chairman said he was ready to defend the Vice President against Motshwarakgole who has lost his sense of purpose as a unionist.
Masisi announced his bid for chairmanship a few weeks ago, changing the race for the coveted central committee position. The battle for chairmanship will see Masisi facing strong contenders in former Cabinet Ministers Ramadeluka Seretse and Tebelelo Seretse, while the youthful Biggie Butale has also been mentioned as a candidate who’s likely to cause major upset in the race.
Tebelelo Seretse, tried her luck in the Chairmanship in 2009, when he faced the than indomitable Daniel Kwelagobe but suffered a defeat.
Masisi’s entrance into the race is viewed as a strategic move to consolidate his power within the party as he readies to take over the presidency in three years time. Masisi will automatically become president of Botswana when the office becomes vacant at the beginning of April in 2018.
BOFEPUSU has made it clear that they will do everything in their power to block Masisi from becoming Vice President, though he will ascend with the help of constitution provision.
BOFEPUSU leadership is convinced that Masisi played a mainstay role in the government’s decision to take away multimillion GEMVAS tender from Unigem (Pty) Ltd, a company which is owned by affiliates of BOFEPUSU save for Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) which de-invested from the company last year for what it called “business reasons”.
“He (Masisi) is the one spearheading the GEMVAS in-sourcing such that by the 1st of June, 2015, it would be totally under the control of government. We disqualify Masisi because if he succeeds Khama as the next President he would be a much worse dictator than him,” said Motshwarakgole.
Special Economic Zone Authority’s (SEZA) P126 million Master Planning of Pandamatenga Special Economic Zones Business Case, Urban & Landscapes tender is in court after one of bidders, Moralo Design challenged its disqualification from the tender.
SEZA is transforming Pandamatenga into an Agropolis which will combine modern farming with top notch industrial, residential, commercial and recreational land use. The project is measured at 137, 007 ha which comprises of 84, 500 ha for commercial production, 12 400 ha for the subsistence production, 107 ha will be for Agro-processing while 40 000 ha will be for the Zambezi Integrated Agro-commercial Project (ZIACDP).
In their court papers, Moralo Designs, represented by Jones Moitshepi Firm, said they received a letter from SEZA on or around the 12th November 2020 notifying that their bid has been disqualified at the technical evaluation stage of the tender adjudication process.
In their response, Lonely Mogara who is Chief Executive Office of SEZA said Moralo Designs is not entitled to be heard by the court as the company never participated in the disputed tender hence SEZA knows the bidder as Moralo Design Consortium.
“Moralo Designs had failed to establish any right to be heard by the court. The fact that they had submitted a tender was not guarantee that they would be awarded the tender,” he said. “The reasons for the disqualification of Moralo Design Consortium’s bid were valid and justified because their bid was insufficient as it lacked vital information as required by the terms of reference.”
SEZA Chief said the requirements for the work plan and project programme were clearly stated in the Invitation To Tender (ITT). Moralo Design Consortium was not penalised for non-existent requirements. In disqualifying the bid by Moralo Designs Consortium, Mogara further indicated that SEZA considered that there was a requirement for a programme and work plan.
“The purported “project programme” that was submitted by Moralo Design Consortium failed to depict the activity durations, activity phasing and interrelations, milestones, delivery dates of reports and logical sequence of activities constituent with methodology and showing a clear understanding of the terms of reference,” said Mogara in responding affidavit.
He said the ITT required that there be provision of delivery dates within the programme hence Moralo Designs Consortium failed to consult with SEZA when they felt that such a requirement would be impossible to provide. He continued to say there was an avenue available when the tender was being prepared, but they failed to use it.
“Moralo Designs’ application for interim relief lacks merit and only seeks to delay SEZA from completing the evaluation and award of a tender that will serve the greater good of the nation,” said Mogara.
He went on to say Moralo Designs has no prospects of succeeding in its review application as the possibility of court granting the review are so remote in that the court does not possess the requisite technical knowhow on what constitutes an adequate work plan and what ought to be contained in it.
A bidder disqualified for failure to provide adequate information has no right to be protected by the court. Irreparable harm can only be suffered by one who has shown that there exists a right in so far as having stood the chance of being awarded the tender.
The financial benefit likely to be derived by Moralo Designs- which is highly unlikely- is outweighed by the nature of the project. In the unlikely event that the application for review is successful, they can claim for damages. The availability of such remedy weighs in favour of the interdict being refused. The refusal stands to benefit the nation more than the financial interest that Moralo Designs seeks to protect.
Moralo Designs failed to establish the urgency of their application. They waited for more than a month and half after the disqualification to approach the court on urgency. Meanwhile when delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year, President Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed that the detailed design and construction of 12 steel grain silos — with an overall storage capacity of 60 000 metric tonnes — is underway at the Pandamatenga SEZ and the P126 million project will be completed by August 2021.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has taken a stern but unpopular decision within the August House by putting to an end a hefty P403, 200 monthly budget directed towards legislators’ housing allowance.
Since the beginning of the 12th Parliament in November 2019, MPs have been staying in rented spaces. At first they were lodged at Avani hotel and a whooping P6, 2 million was paid by government for accommodation and meals for Members of Parliament and their spouses from October 31, to December 20, 2019.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka could be forced to provide a detailed explanation to a number of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers who are not impressed with Government expenditure for the 2020/21 financial year.
The unconvinced lot smell a rat and suggest that the Minister should furnish them with all the balance sheets for all the procurements and reports of all the transactions carried out by government from April 2020. This is so because within them, there is an air of disbelief in relation to the use of national funds by the powers that be.