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Moruakgomo retained as BALA president

He triumphed over nominated Cllr Peloetletse

Mpho Moruakgomo has been retained as the president of Botswana Association of Local Authority (BALA). Moruakgomo emerged victorious this week after outclassing outspoken Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s nominated councilor for Gaborone City Council (GCC), Macdonald Peloetletse. Moruakgomo garnered 70 votes against Peloetletse’s paltry 12 votes.


The vote means Moruakgomo is retained as president of the umbrella body of local authorities in the country for the next two years. Sylviah Muzilla also triumphed as a vice president for the organisation after hammering Caroline Lesang and Alec Seametso who each got 14 votes; Motlhophi Leo came fourth with 12 votes.


 The new Project Officer is James Kgalajwe who got 51 votes against Nthobatsang’s 27. After attracting 38 votes, Peter Williams also lost to Leonard Mojuta who got 41 votes. The additional members are Phenyo Segokgo and Ido Lesope. Other positions included Welfare officer which was won by Botho Ntirang after he garnered 57 votes to Foster Seretse’s 23 votes.

Geoffrey Sibisibi got away with the Finance Committee chair with 65 votes against 13 votes for Mohammed Sobhan while Jordan Makhura was voted by 54 delegates to Ezekiel Kajou’s 23 for the regions. The opposition put forward three names for contestation and won two.


Meanwhile the decision by the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) councilors not to field a candidate is said to have favoured the Moruakgomo camp.


It is understood that due to their inferior numbers in the Local Authorities around the country, the opposition collective did not fancy its chances of taking the reins of leadership at BALA. In most cases, politicians vote along party lines. Some say opposition didn’t contest for top positions as nobody was available from their parties – or atleast not ready to do so. However, it is not clear if they took a resolution as opposition to vote for a preferred candidate over the other. What is crystal clear though is that they have voted – and that is to say they have voted for Mpho Moruakgomo as a preferred BDP candidate in the just ended BALA elections.


Speaking to this publication after the elections, opposition Councillors spokesperson at the event, Stephen Makhura said they had no official position as opposition councilors with regard to who to rally behind between Moruakgomo and Peloetletse. As such, it is believed that Council Secretaries (16) also played a vital role in the outcome. But Makhura confirmed that they all cast their vote in accordance with their individual conscience.

WeekendPost has however established that although they were divided, Moruakgomo had enormous support from the opposition bench. Peloetletse was dismissed as a new comer who doesn’t know anything with regard to running of Councils – this publication gathered.


Makhura defended the opposition’s no-show for the presidency and voted for the BDP’s Moruakgomo saying it was not the first time a party supported the other for BALA leadership. “BALA is not formed under BDP but it’s for all Councils in the country regardless of party affiliations, he clarified.

“Besides the late Botswana National Front (BNF) stalwart Paul Rantao, who was the mayor of Gaborone then, was at one point president of BALA, somewhere between 1989 and 1994, before going to parliament – and he was elected to the position by the ruling BDP. BALA was never formed for BDP or opposition but for all the parties,” he said.


 It has also come to this publication’s attention that some BDP followers are also calling for non politicisation of BALA and want to avoid by all costs turning the organization into pro-BDP organ. They say it should be a representation of all people despite party affiliations. According to Makhura, opposition did not necessarily make an outstanding impact but added that, “only lobby influenced the outcome of the election and not a party bloc supporting one candidate over the other.”


Only delegates were allowed from the Councils to cast their votes. Basically, on average it was 5 delegates per Council. From Gaborone City Council (GCC) was a delegation of 5 Councillors casting their votes in which only 2 were opposition and 3 BDP, while Central District Council (CDC) there were 7 in which 2 were opposition and 5 BDP, Kgatleng District Council (KDC) 6 delegates 5 from opposition and 1 BDP (Moruakgomo himself). Chobe District Council (CDC) had 3 BDP delegates while opposition had 1. Many of the Council delegates were made up of more BDP Councillors than opposition.


Besides the UDC Councillor Makhura also stated that the opposition needs to further understand the organization before they contest for the presidency of the latter. He said they only fielded other positions like that for regions and one of the three special nominated members in the just ended elections.


BALA was formed to promote unity, cohesion, solidarity and cooperation among Local Authorities across the length and breadth of the country. Currently, there are 16 Councils – including ten District Councils, three Town Councils and one Town Authority. In the build up to the formation of BALA, it was found that there is need for information and exchange of experiences among councilors and as such an organisation that was later to be named BALA came to being.

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State forged Kgosi’s arrest warrant

22nd July 2021
FORMER DIS BOSS: ISAAC KGOSI

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.

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UDC parties discuss by-elections

22nd July 2021
UDC

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.

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DIS infiltrates Police fingerprint system

22nd July 2021
Makgope

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.

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