In the wake of media reports that have all but confused the names the late Harry Tembo and myself Liver Tembo on the construction of Isaac Kgosi’s house in Phakalane, I seek to set the record straight.
I am Liver Tembo and first met Isaac Kgosi at my office in Broadhurst nine years ago. I did not even know who he was then. One Friday afternoon, I received a call from the man who introduced himself by name only. He explained to me that he was looking for a Project Manager to assist him develop his property in Phakalane.
He had been advised by some of my clients that I managed a number of houses under a direct project management scheme I was operating. I explained to him the services we were offering and the fees that would be charged.
At the time, I did not know I was talking to a powerful man who was working in the office of the Vice President as his Private Secretary. Not at any time during our telephone conversation did he mention the office he held.
I requested him to come to my office for further discussion.He expressed satisfaction with the charge and said he would come that evening to my office with his drawings for further discussion.
He arrived at my office in Broadhurst around 1730hours in a twin cab Isuzu bakkie with his wife. We discussed the project and I advised him that the preliminary cost estimate indicated the project would cost approximately over P1,000,000.00 and he indicated he had no problem as he had already sourced funds from Barclays Bank.
It was only after I asked him what he did for a living that he explained to me that he worked as Private Secretary to the Vice President, who was later to be the President of the country.
Being a foreigner, I realised immediately that I was interacting with the one of the most powerful men in the government. Feeling ashamed because of the charge that I had given him, I then offered him a discounted figure for my services. The man refused and asked me to treat him as I would any other client. The contract agreement was signed the same weekend to allow me to supervise the project and secure a contractor to carry out the works.
He then informed me that he would be leaving the following week for a one year training programme in the UK while his wife would similarly leave for a year’s course in the United States of America. When I asked how the funds disbursement would be made for the project from the bank, he explained to me that he would give me the power of attorney to sign and request payment from the bank in his absence.
Obviously this was a man who trusted me at first sight. The following week he wrote a letter authorizing me to access his funds from the bank and left me with cash of about K200,000.00 to kick start the project. I then engaged a Mr Jere, a fellow Zambian as a contractor under a company called Transcon Pty Limited to undertake the construction under a labour only contract arrangement whilst I collect funds and purchased all the materials for the project as work progressed. Under our terms of agreement, I was to reconcile all the purchases of materials and balance them up in accordance with the funds collected from the bank.
However, by the time he returned from the UK, it was realised that an over claim of P400,000.00 was made upon reconciliation. Upon his return, Isaac Kgosi was appointed head of the DISS, one of the most powerful positions in government. And so there I was having over-claimed funds (which could have been tantamount to fraud) amounting to over P400,000.00 for a house which was far from being completed.
I remember the sleepless nights I had before I could break the news to him regarding my reconciliation report on his funds. The man had spent his hard earned savings and a loan facility which he was already paying monthly at a high interest rate only to find that this Project Manager had not utilised all the money on the project. I did not know what to expect from him, his reaction and what he would do to me if I told him the news.
I am talking of a man who by using his power could probably have influenced the non-renewal of my work permit or have it revoked instantly. I approached him that evening to give him my report, apologising over my over claim. “I knew it before you could tell me, I had done my own assessment and I was able to tell that you had not used all the money on the house,” he told me.
I remember then being nearly in tears as I told him. Being a man of few words, Kgosi simply told me, “It’s ok. I will give you time to pay me back the money but you will have to include the interest the bank has charged me.”
I was in shock. Here is a man whom I owed so much money telling me he would give me time to pay it back. After that, all my fears disappeared for this is a man who despite what I had done still wanted me to be his friend. I remember the following week he asked me to accompany him to Matsiloje, his village, to see his mother. As we discussed, he told me that he knew things had not gone right on his house but he realized that he could not fight a person who had told him he was sorry for what he had done.
Kgosi told me that his father, when he was alive, once told him that he should never take advantage of his high position in government to fight personal battles with people. He told me he was a believer in justice for all and therefore treated every human being equally. Given his background, he explained that he was in a privileged position to serve government at such a high position but that would not go to his head.
I came to know Kgosi as a man you would never find him in a company of a lot of people. He told me that the reason he had few friends was because he did not like to mix with people who simply want to know him in order to take advance of him just because he was close to the President.
I was impressed that the man that most people feared so much was a down to earth person who values people so much. I realized that I had become close to a man whom people fear so much yet he is such a simple man. He would invite me for dinner at his house and sometimes even visit me. A family man who loves gardening, he would spend his weekends with his family at home. I remember sometimes he would stand at the Phakalane round about to assist traffic during peak hours.
It took me over 3 years to pay back his money and at no time did he put me under any pressure. By that time, due to interest charges, it was more than P600,000.00. I cannot quite remember if I had even finished paying back the money when I told him I would be spending more time in Zambia. Yet he did not on any occasion put me under any pressure.
It struck me how noble the character was of a man who knew very well that my house in Phakalane was fully paid and that I was driving a top of the range Mercedes Benz ML350 car I had bought during the time his house was under construction. He could so easily have accused me of using some of his money to acquire this or sued me, demanding that I sell the house for him to recover his money. He did neither.
In the event, the construction of his house was delayed and he had to seek additional funds from the bank to complete the house. The trail of funds being made to Kgosi from me over a period of 3 or 4 years was purely to refund the money that was over-claimed on the construction of his house.
This is the Isaac Kgosi that I know. Since I have been spending more time in Zambia, I have constantly been in touch with him and visit him at his house whenever I am in Botswana. I am not Harry Tembo and have never done any consultancy work or construction work for the DISS. There is no record of L.T and Associates having undertaken any project for the DISS.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.