BLESSINGS FROM FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Botsalo Ntuane expects many Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members to approve his run for the position of secretary general. He met President Lt Gen Ian Khama on Wednesday to inform him about his interest.
President Lt Gen Ian Khama has given Botsalo Ntuane the green light to contest for the position of secretary general of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) at the July congress. Sources say the two met on Wednesday this week in a meeting that took about 45 minutes.
Ntuane had appointed with the President to inform him of his interest in the position of secretary general out of courtesy and respect as leader of the BDP. The former Gaborone South Member of Parliament has been reluctant in the past to confirm his availability for the position because he wanted to meet with President Khama before declaring interest.
Contacted for comment, Ntuane said: “Yes I have indeed informed His Excellency the President about my decision to offer myself for the position of Secretary General of the BDP. I felt he should be the first individual in the party to know about my decision as the party leader. The President has expressed no objection to my decision and further to that I have informed all candidates who have declared interest in the position of chairman that should I be elected secretary general in July, I am ready and willing to work with anyone of them. I believe they are all capable and committed democrats who can make a positive difference to the future of our party. I will state the same to anyone else who declares for chairmanship before July.”
Weekend Post has gathered that three people who have declared interest for the position of chairmanship, namely Tebelelo Seretse; Dikgakgamatso Seretse; and Biggie Butale have all approached lobbying him Ntuane to avail himself as secretary general of the BDP.
Ntuane is also being lobbied by Members of Parliament, Councillors, other party leaders, and other ordinary members of the party who have faith in his skills. Indications are that he had informed those whom lobbied him that he will make a determination before the BDP National Council scheduled for next weekend. About nine regions out of twelve have already approached Ntuane to ask him to stand for the position of secretary general.
What further enhances Ntuane’s chances is the fact that the current secretary general, Mpho Balopi, is not seeking re-election. Many pundits are of the view that the former Member of Parliament may sail through unopposed. While he comes along under the narrative that the political landscape has drastically changed, Ntuane is said to have offered cordial relationship with the party leadership should he be elected. It is well documented that Khama and Ntuane have had their differences as far as politics is concerned, but it appears they are ready to share notes going forward.
Those close to him say that he is done with adversarial politics within the party and he will be willing to give and take should he be allowed by party members to become secretary general. From their 45 minute meeting it is evident that Ntuane and Khama are prepared to work together to revive the BDP fortunes.
The 2014 general election performance is currently informing the way party members are approaching debates and decisions within the party. Most BDP members are said to be aware of the internal and external threats to the party and they want the best possible team to address those. Ntuane has all along called for reforms within the party that will influence the party profile.
The journey to the BDP congress has just begun and it is likely that more candidates could spring up along the way. Though Tshekedi Khama has not publicly declared his candidature for chairman, there is lobbying going on around the country.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.