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Masisis BIG fallout with Gare

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 The tender was later withdrawn from Jiangsu International and given to another Chinese company; Zhengtai Group after a court order.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.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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