Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane will meet with Kgatleng legislators to discuss the protracted and unresolved Kgosi Kgafela II issue.
Weekend Post has it on good authority that Kgatleng East Member of Parliament, Isaac Davids has made the Kgosi Kgafela matter a priority and want it settled as soon as possible. This week new Minister, Tsogwane had already agreed to meet the duo of Kgatleng MPs soon to map a way forward as the matter continues to haunt the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
The just ended elections in which the BDP lost both Kgatleng constituencies to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has proved that the Kgatleng chieftainship matter cannot be taken lightly. Some ruling party insiders believe it weighed on BDP performance in the just ended elections.
Dr Unity Dow and Mpho Moruakgomo both lost Kgatleng West and Kgatleng East to Gilbert Mangole and Isaac Davids of the UDC respectively. Kgosi Kgafela II who took over the reins in 2008 has been at war with the government over various issues. Efforts to resolve the Bakgatla saga by Lebonaamang Mokalake and Peter Siele who both had a chance head Ministry of Local Government drew blanks in the past.
The bone of contention started when the state charged Kgafela and his regiment for unlawful floggings of members of his morafhe. Kgafela responded later with a lawsuit of his own approaching the courts to challenge the legality of Botswana’s constitution. In his founding affidavit Kgafela requested the High Court to set aside the country’s constitution alleging that it was fraudulent. Midway through the case, Kgafela withdrew the case and announced in a Kgotla meeting that he was relocating to Moruleng in South Africa.
Kgafela’s relocation to Moruleng amid acrimonious relationship between Bakgatla and government officials left a political ruin on the side of the BDP. Ahead of 2014 general elections, the campaign message in Kgatleng was centred around Kgafela saga.
The UDC evidently enjoyed the support of the royal family, because it moulded its messages around sympathy with the estranged chief. Before his departure Kgafela had ruled that, government officials were not welcome in Kgatleng and encouraged resident to boycott the Kgotla meetings called by government officials.
The already nasty relationship was not helped by the then Minister Lebonaamang Mokalake’s decision to de-recognise him as the Chief of Bakgatla. The Bakgatla had also made it clear that they would not entertain anyone to assume the seat of their absent and de-recognized chief as long as Kgafela is alive. Bakgatla want all charged laid against their chief being scrapped and that be recognized as the chief of Bakgatla as he remains the only rightful man for the throne.
BDP had known the gravity of the matter going into the elections therefore adopting a change in their policy in favour of a friendly approach. Last year President Ian Khama agreed to reinstate Kgosi Mothibe Linchwe as President of Customary Court of Appeal after the latter pleaded for forgiveness from President Ian Khama. Mothibe together with Deputy Paramount Kgosi of Bakgatla Bana Sekai Linchwe and Senior Chief's Representative Kgosi Segale Linchwe were serving a suspension from duty since 2009 pending their criminal trials in relation with the destruction of the Mascom Tower in Mochudi and flogging of their tribesmen.
Although Bakgatla royals have seemed divided it looks like the Kgatleng community will not be happy as long as Kgafela is still abroad and not recognized. This would be a matter that the new Minister, Tsogwane will deliberate on in the next five years and hopefully to resolve if he is to change the BDP fortunes in the area.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.