The son to the late former President Sir Seretse Khama and one of the younger twin brothers to former President Ian Khama, Tshekedi Khama has this week attracted the wrath of a scathing response from the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Dr Thapelo Matsheka.
This comes after Tshekedi drew first blood when responding to Matsheka’s Budget Speech, saying the new Finance Minister has embarrassed the President in his presentation. However, Matsheka responded this week saying Tshekedi’s concern is more of a fight for control of the country and its natural resources than anything else. “In some instances, the fight for the control of the country and party is at the core of wild accusations. These people are fighting for the control of the nation’s resources,” Matsheka said of Tshekedi in Parliament.
Tshekedi blames Masisi’s administration on poaching
Matsheka said the nation should, however, dispel the myth that only a few people care or know about rhinos more than others. Tshekedi Khama was of the view that there has been an increase in poaching ever since the current government came into power but the views raised by Khama relating to poaching are misleading, he said. “It is not true that poaching specifically increased under the new government, as poaching has always been a challenge even under your leadership as the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources,” Matsheka observed.
However the Finance Minister admitted that recently, there has been an increase in rhino poaching and this has been the case even in neighbouring countries, such as Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This cannot be placed at the door of the current government, he lashed out. Matsheka said this after Tshekedi teared down his remarks on poaching, blaming President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration for poor policies towards rhino safeguarding.
“The poaching of rhinos, an endangered species is but only one example where the removal of the weapons from department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) was a huge mistake, the responsibility of protecting our wildlife was given to the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), which has demonstrated that they cannot protect our wildlife, in the same way as the DWNP anti-poaching unit did, also in this house last week Hon Kapinga read the Act that gives the Wildlife Department the right to carry arms – therefore the story that the DWNP were doing so illegally has to be considered as incorrect and misleading,” Tshekedi stated.
He had also added that it is apparent that there is little or no coordination in dealing with wildlife poaching. He continued: “stop telling the world your failings, as of today the country has lost more than 40 rhinos, let alone elephants as well as illegal bush meat trade which are no longer reported, as it is now common place, how tragic, do government have a plan to address these poaching, (dehorning and its announcement is the reason for the spike in Rhino poaching).” Tshekedi took the opportunity to offer his assistance to Masisi and the Ministry in combating poaching. In 2015, he added, whilst doing the northern Botswana elephant count not one elephant carcass was observed over an area of 110,000sq km, but today that is not the case at all.
Matsheka: missing P100 billion at Bank of Botswana under investigation
The Serowe West Member of Parliament, Tshekedi raised worry that Matsheka as the Minister of Finance remained silent on the P100 billion supposedly hived of from Bank of Botswana. “But we are all aware that Bank of Botswana has said no such amount is missing interesting that in the state of the nation address by President Masisi, he said that foreign exchange reserves stood at P71.4 billion,” Tshekedi highlighted.
He also said that this debacle will create suspicion as well as uncertainty amongst the world banking sector as well as investors. “What will they think of Botswana, this will damage our country’s reputation, and by extension effect the livelihood of Batswana, if it hasn’t already,” Tshekedi said. When responding to the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) MP, Matsheka posited: “the issue of the alleged P100 billion is still before the courts of law and the due process should be allowed to take its course, without fear or favour. We will all have our day in court; we know what we did in government”, which was later to be incorrect when Leader of Opposition Dumelang Saleshando interjected. Matsheka then rephrased to say the matter is still “under investigation”.
On Air assets; “we cannot afford these toys” – Tshekedi Khama
According to Tshekedi, BDF was spending recklessly on air assets and misplacing its priorities. “On BDF budget, air assets, it is astounding that this budget, would put so much of the budget towards air assets which would include helicopter gunships, Mirage 2000, fighter jets, amongst others, we simply cannot afford these expensive toys,” Tshekedi lashed out. He asked rhetorically: ‘‘does the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security or the Commander of BDF not live in Botswana? Have they not seen the diabolical state of schools, hospitals, roads, government buildings police stations, etc?’’
In response Matsheka said he does not concur with the members that the BDF sector has been allocated a substantial amount of the budget. However, he added that “we need to understand that the security of this country and its assets/infrastructure built over time has to be protected. Needless to say that the allocation Members are alluding to are not only for air assets but for the entire defence and security of this country.”
Further, he reiterated the clarification provided by the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Kagiso Mmusi that indeed, during the financial year 2020/21, the BDF will not procure any military or other aircraft from development budget allocated for air assets. “As the Minister has explained, the term air assets is broad. Out of P1.94 billion development budget allocated to the entire Ministry, an amount of P80 336, 890.00 (eighty million three hundred and thirty six thousand, eight hundred and ninety Pula), will be used for air assets, which in this case include radar operation system upgrades, integrated landing systems, etc.”
He went on to highlight that he does not need to go on to the issue of military expenditure in the current budget. “I will admit that Tshekedi Khama knows more about procurement at the BDF than I do but I assure him that we are dealing with the legacy of the past and that we shall resolve it,” he said.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.