It has been months since President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his protégé, who is also Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), Karabo Gare, held their usual frequent casual calls and meetings following a big fallout which nearly saw the latter being ejected from cabinet last year, WeekendPost has established.
Highly placed sources told this publication that the once ‘best of buddies’ are now not seeing eye-to-eye as the relationship has reached its lowest ebb. Masisi when ascending to presidency in 2018 fought with everything he had, to ensure that the ‘little known’ Gare wins the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections in Moshupa to succeed him. Masisi later rewarded him with a junior ministerial post while still a political greenhorn.
Information before this publication however paints a picture of love on the rocks between the two, with Directorate of Intelligent Services (DIS) head Peter Magosi being the kingpin of the never anticipated fallout. It is said that Gare, in his capacity as Moshupa-Mmanyana constituency MP, met with Magosi to ask about last year’s groundbreaking ceremony for the much awaited Moshupa Primary Hospital. This was before High Court issued a judgement on who is to erect the hospital amid public pressure for the construction to commence.
It is believed that Gare engaged Magosi, not the relevant office, (then Minister of Health Dr Alfred Madigela) on the basis that the latter wrote and signed a directive blacklisting the Chinese company from doing any business with government saying they are a national security threat, sources say. The Assistant Minister’s interrogation to Magosi was motivated by the election heat he was feeling and wanted to know whether the ground breaking event will be before or after elections so that he can answer and explain to the constituents distinctly.
The meeting never bore fruit as DIS head accused Gare of conniving with China Jiangsu International, which was initially awarded the P419 million hospital project. The tender was later withdrawn from Jiangsu International and given to another Chinese company; Zhengtai Group after a court order. China Jiangsu dragged government to court over the withdrawal of the tender but lost the matter which was ultimately decided by Court of Appeal (CoA).
“Magosi, when Gare asked him about the ground breaking event, suspected that the Minister wanted to get the information and share with the Chines Company (Jiangsu). Not only that, he also accused the Minister of being sponsored by the company which the government has blacklisted from getting tenders of P3 million to push campaigns, this distressed the young Minister,” explained a source.
The informant continued: “Gare, after being accused of this wanted to tell Masisi but decided not to as it would seem he is reporting Magosi to his boss. On the other hand Magosi after the same meeting, hit below the belt by reporting Gare to Masisi who is now furious with Gare.” Owing to that encounter, the relationship between the two ‘homeboys’ turned sour, with the President furious about the fact that he even discussed this with his (Masisi) family.
“I don’t want to engage with him, he is dealing with corrupt individuals,” Masisi reportedly responded when one family member (sister), proposed a ceasefire meeting between the two. Masisi, a source says finally met with Gare at State House some time last year, with the Minister seeking to present his case but in vain. “I’m not interested to hear anything from you and you might as well close the door as you go,” a seemingly furious Masisi said before his sister intervened once again.
The intervention by the family member also hit a brick wall. “I made you and now you want to put me in the pockets of corrupt Chinese,” those were the last words from President Masisi to Gare in that meeting, reveals an impeccable source. Since that time, which was early September, the two have never contacted each other again and Masisi has vowed not to put his faith in him again, disclosed an informant.
It is said that the matter is so serious that Gare was as good as dead, as he was not part of Masisi’s cabinet plans. Reports say, the Minister was rescued because of a lack of wealthy pool of BDP legislators and was roped in to continue as the Assistant Minister. Gare told this publication that: “I have not asked anyone anywhere about the hospital. It is all lies. As to my relationship with the President, there is nothing I can share with you because it would be disrespectful to share that with the media,” a livid Assistant Minister responded to WeekendPost enquiries.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.