Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, who is also the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman, has reported at least five of his party members to President Mokgweetsi Masisi for venting out ‘anti-BDP’ sentiments when responding to the Budget Speech.
As scores of legislators have been responding to Finance Minister, Dr Thapelo Matsheka’s speech, Tsogwane has been observing how his colleagues were rampantly attacking their own government. The contribution by some BDP legislators has left Tsogwane irritated. The Boteti West legislator, who is also the Leader of the House, believes the members should be the front liners in defending their party. The disappointed Tsogwane now wants Masisi’s intervention, fearing that the attitude will swell if unattended.
WeekendPost has established that five MPs are expected to be hauled before the hot coals, facing President Masisi to explain why they responded in the manner deemed ‘anti’ BDP. Kanye North’s Thapelo Letsholo leads the line followed by Ghanzi North MP John Thiite and party’s Chief Whip Liakat Kablay, in a meeting set for next week. Others that will face the music include Jwaneng-Mabutsane representative Mephato Reatile and Nata-Gweta legislator Polson Majaga, informants confidently say.
Letsholo punched holes in the budget speech and even warned his party that it would have not won elections had it not been its election pledges. “In our election manifesto, we pledged to “Create jobs in the entire value chains of the digital innovation, agriculture, mining, tourism, education, auto-motives, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, solar and manufacturing industries,” he said. “I can bet on my last Thebe that if we had pledged to buy more air assets for the military, we would not be the governing party today,” he responded in Parliament. Tsogwane was not impressed by this statement, hence he wants Masisi to have a word with the maverick legislator.”
On Thursday this week, Letsholo told this publication that his response was based on his responsibility as a democratically elected MP. “As a BDP MP, my response was aligned to the BDP manifesto in terms of priorities on creating employment for the youth, improving the quality of education and the welfare of the teachers, improving the quality of health care in Botswana and infrastructure development good enough to attract investors amongst others,” he contended.
He added, “I am not aware of any concerns by the BDP leadership over my response. I have attended all the party meetings that I should and never heard of such.” Another member who critiqued the speech and even posed questions in Parliament that the party leadership opined put the party in negative light is, Thiite.
“As the BDP, we are just returning from a campaign that led to the last elections, where we promised Batswana jobs, and economic activities across the country, in our election manifesto and electoral promises, my concern is we have promised electorates to vote for us with the intention to create jobs for them but this has not been brought to life,” he told Parliament. The BDP MP continued: “we promised to utilise our natural resources. In tourism, we specifically promised Batswana to create jobs in the industry.”
A case in point, he added, is the employment creation in the CKGR which has a very huge opportunity in terms of economic activities but out of reach for the citizens to utilize as compared to foreign nationals. This has also rubbed the party leadership the wrong way and he will be cautioned, sources tell WeekendPost.Kablay, who was rampant in his response has also attracted the wrath of the party politburo. The Letlhakeng-Lephepe legislator lamented about lack of water for his constituents and dilapidated infrastructure as his concerns.
Already reports say, this week Tsogwane summoned him for a meeting to ask him about his ‘anger’ of late. A more formal meeting is expected next week in the presence of Masisi. “I was speaking for the constituents because there is pressure after elections. But I am clueless about leaders not being happy,” Kablay told this publication. Reatile, has also responded ferociously to the speech lamenting that the BDP government should stick to its electoral promises.
“Remember we promised electorates that when we assume power we will ensure that students- teacher ratio will be 1:30 but even up to now, in my constituency for instance, I still have classes accommodating 59 students. I was speaking for the BDP manifesto and there is no how I could seem to be attacking it,” he told this publication. Majaga, apart from his brutal Budget Speech response, in which he was involved in a verbal war with Tsogwane, also wants the government to ensure that they have vehicles to use at their respective constituencies. Majaga is also expected to be reprimanded next week. He is said to be leading and mobilising others to push for a car-scheme.
The proposal is in such a way that the government pays 50 percent and the remaining 50 percent is settled by the MP. The lawmakers say, this is practiced in many countries including Zambia and Kenya. Last week the BDP backbenchers gathered again to fine-tune the proposal before handing it to Tsogwane and Masisi next week. This has also not sat went well with Tsogwane and wants his boss, Masisi, to address it with the implicated actor.
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.
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.
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.