President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi has warned some of the party members against their casual relationships with his adversaries former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and former Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) chief Colonel Isaac Kgosi.
[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]During the party’s Central Committee held last Saturday, Masisi expressed his worry about some of the senior members in the party who continue to peddle casual relationships with his rivals. He further noted that, with such relations it poses a great threat as most confidential information has been revealed to them.
Furthermore, the President also highlighted that if there are any members who intend to lobby Khama into returning back to the party, they should forget about it as he has no intentions of accepting him back into the party. Sources say that even though Masisi generalised his grievances, all the queries were directed to the party Secretary General (SG) Mpho Balopi.
“Balopi has been accused of a lot of things of late. We have also heard about his continued relationship with Khama and Kgosi. You might fight that some of the party’s confidential discussion are revealed by him to them,” a source said. Of late, Balopi has been alleged to be at the forefront of the party’s troubled paradise.
On January 20 this year, this publication reported that there were allegations that Masisi and Balopi have fell out. It was further alleged that the fallout was caused by the continued working relationship between Khama and Balopi. However, it is said that Balopi justifies his relationship with Khama by saying that he and Khama have known each other from the time immemorial and he is what he is because of Khama.
Balopi first became the party SG at the time when Khama was leading the party. As it is, Balopi is the third most senior member of the party, after Masisi and Tsogwane. Some members of the Central Committee are also alleged to be petitioning for the replacement of Balopi as party secretary general.
Further articulations by sources to this publication further indicated that Balopi’s relationship with his President might be heading for the worst, as Balopi eyes chairmanship of the party. Even though details on chairmanship aspiration have not been revealed yet, sources have revealed that Balopi has a guarded plan on how he will attain the seat.
The battle came to the fore after it became apparent that the party Secretary General has lost the support of Masisi, therefore falling down the pecking order in the latter’s succession plans.
According to party insiders, at least five individuals are considered frontrunners ahead of Balopi in the succession plan. The incumbent, Tsogwane is expected to retire from politics at the end of his current term, creating an opportunity for Masisi if he wins second term to choose his successor.
This publication reported last month of an alleged meeting initiated by Balopi at Manong Game Reserve along Lobatse. It is alleged that the agenda of the meeting was to establish ways to abet Sadique Kebonang to reclaim his seat as Member of Parliament (MP) for Lobatse constituency in the next elections.
WeekendPost is privy to names of BDP activist who attended the meeting, including two Central Committee members. Reliable sources have disclosed to this publication the secretive meeting shocked the party Chairman, Tsogwane who later reported the incident to Masisi.
“This did not sit well with the President, in fact he feels Balopi is trying by all means to provoke him. Balopi has said on numerous occasions that he made Masisi what he is today, something that does not sit well with the President, “said the source.
WeekendPost is reliably informed that prior to the Manong meeting, Masisi deployed robust investigations on the meeting in order to get to the bottom of it. However, Balopi had denied ever initiating nor attending such a meeting.
Masisi is reportedly drawing up his own succession plan on who could be his substantive assistant and ultimately President in 2028, and the name of Gabane-Mmankgodi MP Mmusi is leading the pack. Mmusi is the son to former Vice President, Peter Mmusi and he is said to be in the President’s good books.
In fact, it is said, Masisi and Mmusi have always been buddies, something which the parliamentary hopeful vehemently denies. “He is my boss not my friend,” Mmusi stressed in an interview with this publication in the past. Impeccable sources have informed this publication that recently, Balopi met with the former intelligence chief, Kgosi.
In their meeting it is alleged that Balopi had gone to see Kgosi peevish about his President. It is in the alleged conversation that Balopi disclosed to Kgosi that his relationship with Masisi has fallen off the wagon.
It is alleged that Balopi accused Masisi of being a dictator, indicating that the staggering relationship between the two has gotten out of hand that it has become very hard for both of them to have a smooth professional relationship.[/ihc-hide-content]
Ex-BDP youth leader speaks against selective justice
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) youth wing leader Bontsi Monare has questioned the party’s double standards policy in meting discipline following what he calls “deplorable incident” in Kumakwane.
A group of BDP members on Saturday made an untidy effort to disrupt a Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) event headlined by former party leader Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Khama was welcoming 200 members from BDP into BPF fold.
Monare wrote on his facebook page:
“I am a bit worried by the apparent silence that is coming from my party. It’s been 2 days and there has been not a peep of caution as regards the deplorable KUMAKWANE INCIDENT.
Can the person who embarrassed Kabelo Masvingo Kgwarae Mhuriro with a letter a couple of weeks ago please go ahead and write a letter of caution to my brother who made such a bad judgement call as to rally people to go and discipline the opposition.
Can whatever was being done to Masvingo by writing that strange letter be done to the person who embarrassed the party this past weekend. I am posting because this morning I was taken aback and drawn to think about why the BMD actually came to be. The burning point of contention back then was the obvious selective justice in the party. One set of people were never treated with restraint, always harshly disciplined, while another set of people were always ostracised. WE MUST NOT ALLOW THIS TO TAKE ROOT AGAIN.
We owe the body politique a clear and unambiguous admonishment of that embarrassing episode caught on camera this past weekend. I heard someone say that maybe there is some sought of investigation happening. THE VIDEO IS THERE at-least get out and tell the public that THAT IS NOT WHAT THE BDP STANDS FOR. What is difficult with that??
DO NOT LET SELECTIVE JUSTICE rear its head again. Do not allow a situation where certain democrats are less that others ka boloko. Ko bofelelong, if the party can recruit people from the opposition WHY CAN IT NOT ‘RECRUIT/REINSTATE’ democrats who were suspended donkey years ago. I am really trying to ask myself WHO BENEFITS FROM EMBARRASSING SOMEONE WHO IS ALREADY SUSPENDED FROM THE PARTY.”
Gov’t freezes four district council business
The Government through Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has directed that the country’s four most populous District Council resort to conducting their proceedings through digital infrastructure as a health precaution amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The four district councils are Kweneng District, Central District Council, Southern and North West District Council. The government in March this year, as Covid-19 ran riot across the globe, decided to halt all meetings including councils and parliament.
[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]On the 11th of June, MLGRD Permanent Secretary Boipolelo Khumomatlhare issued a correspondence on ‘resumption of committee meetings, sub council and full council sessions’. The savingram read; “Following the ease on lockdown restrictions, addressees are advised to resume committee meetings, sub council and full council sessions save for full council sessions for the following districts; Kweneng, Central, Southern and North West District Council.”
According to Khumomatlhare, full council sessions for the mentioned district councils will resume as soon as the requisite IT infrastructure is put in place for them to conduct such sessions. “This is important in observing the Covid-19 protocol of social distancing,” he emphasized. For instance Kweneng District has 82 members, Central has 174, and Southern has 64. All these are too much according to Ministry PS and will have to wait until the proper infrastructure is in place.
Various councillors from the affected districts are not happy with the way things are panning out. They lament that the significance of local government authorities is being down played, while other sectors such as schools, transport (buses), tertiary institutions are operating, with parliament also scheduled to convene very soon. In an interview with this publication, CDC Chairperson Ketshwereng Galeragwe said this will have adverse impact on their schedule and servicing the people.
“It is affecting the people who voted us because they always have complaints and the only way to understand their laments is through the full council meetings. The only way we can have a full council is when we have a fully equipped IT of which I am not sure whether we will achieve but if we fail we will revert back to the ministry so that they can give us another idea as to how to go about it,” Galeragwe said.
On the other hand, Southern District Chairperson Thami Chabalala said they have already started scheduled meetings but will engage the ministry on the matter to start full council sessions. “We should justify to the Ministry that we will follow the Covid-19 protocols like registrations, taking body temperatures and social distancing. We might even use a much bigger room for us to host the full session,” he said. Galeragwe did not discount the impact this has on their business.
Kweneng District which houses 82 councillors is also looking for a much bigger space to conduct their business. “We are too many and we should wait. This has however affected us because council have various structures and all of them should be functional. Our schedule has been heavily disrupted since March but if we adhere to the protocols set by Director of Health Services we will be good to go,” Council Chairperson Motlhophi Leo said in an interview. He added that they have met and raised this issue with the minister in charge, Eric Molale and they are adamant that he will take the advice they have submitted.[/ihc-hide-content]
Guma, Shumba Energy fight over P50 million loan
Samson Moyo Guma and Mmoloki Tibe are locked up in a dispute with Shumba Energy regarding the ownership of Coal Petroleum (Pty) Ltd and an outstanding payment of P50 million. Guma and Tibe are shareholders, co-founders and Directors of coal Petroleum (pty) Ltd, with initial 50:50 share split between them.
They had subsequently engaged Holland and Hausberger (H and H) to prepare a Pre-Feasibility Study for them which was fully paid for. As the project progressed, they gave H+H 10% shares in lieu of consultancy fees, resulting in shareholding of 45:45:10, for Guma, Tibe and H and H, respectively. The two have written a letter to Botswana Oil Limited Chief Executive Officer, Mr Gamu Mpofu to notice him of their dispute with Shumba Energy.
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According to Guma and Tibe, they carried out a lot of work to progress the project including Pre-Feasibility Study, securing 295.5ha land for the project, carried out Geo Tech, commenced EIA, signed MOU’s with Wison and Power China, responded to BOL Tender, etc. the result was a company with a valuation of USD12M.
But where does Shumba Energy come in, according to communication between Guma, Tibe and Botswana Oil Limited, Shumba Energy approached them to acquire 80% shares in the company on terms contained in various transaction agreements. Key to this agreement was the understanding that Shumba Energy will make available a loan of P50m (through a Bridging Loan Facility Agreement) in 3 days after Coal Petroleum fulfilment of the transaction conditions. The loan was to take the project to Financial close (FC), which will ensure that Guma and Tibe are paid the value of their shares, being USD5.2m, USD4, 2m for Guma and Tibe, respectively.
According to documents seen by this publication these amounts were arrived at by taking 80% the value of the company of USD12m (USD 12*80%), with Guma selling 45% (45% of USD9.6m = USD5.4m) and Tibe selling 35% of USD9.6m = USD4,2m). Further, a payment of R100, 000 and P50, 000 on a monthly basis, being out of pocket expenses for Guma and service level payments (for work done since inception to the time of the transaction) for Tibe, respectively were to be made by Shumba.
WeekendPost learns that the P50m was in place within 3 days as Guma and Tibe were made to believe and therefore enter into the agreements. “This has put a huge risk on the project to achieve CF and also a further a risk that we may not be paid the value for shares,” they informed Botswana Oil Limited CEO. The two businessmen also claim that there are also some amounts relating to work completed and/or on going at the time of the transaction which were to be paid out of the loan facility of P50m. “These amounts includes balance of Geo Tech, work done on EIA, and Lease for the land, etc.”
They state that these amounts remain outstanding due to the fact that the loan facility has still not been made available more than 6 months later. In the meantime, we, not Shumba, continue to receive reminders to pay and this makes us look bad and tarnishes our good names with service providers who were to be paid from the loan facility provided.
According to documents seen by this publication, “Other costs still to be paid includes Bankable Feasibility Studies conducted by Power China and Wison, Design work and ongoing consulting work. Without the P50m loan facility these critical aspects of the project will not be completed, not only on time, but also that there is risk that the project will not progress beyond the point we handed it over to Shumba, except for RFQ’s as and due diligence initiated by BOL.
There is need to emphasise that we only agreed to transfer the shares to Shumba on the commitment to make available the P50m loan facility available within 3 days in the interest of the project and the perceived benefit to the country.” Guma and Tibe inform Botswana Oil Limited that they believe that they were misled and as the P50m loan facility was a deal breaker for them, they believe the sale of the shares is null and void and therefore not bound by the agreements signed.
They further point out that the amounts paid up to date (31st March, 2020), have been paid late in most cases after the agreed contractual dates. They contend that Shumba Energy does not have money as evidenced by failure to arrange the P50m loan facility. “The delays in payments were sometimes attributed to delays in receiving money from coal customers in South Africa and in some cases were have been told that the money is kept overseas and there are delays in transferring money to Botswana,” they informed Botswana Oil Limited CEO.
When recently pushed to commit to pay these amounts on time, going forward, Shumba invoked force majeure due to the Covid 19 pandemic. However Guma and Tibe posit that Shumba Energy is conveniently forgetting that these payments were to be made out of the P50m loan facility which was to be in place more than 6 months ago.
“It now goes to show and demonstrate the explanation that money is kept abroad is not true and meant to buy time whilst trying to raise some money through coal sales. This for us amounts to not working with us in good faith.”
Guma and Tibe argue that Shumba Energy misled them to believe that there was P50m available in 3 days after they had met their side of the conditions.
“Without the P50m even besides the misrepresentation to get us to transfer the shares, Shumba is failing to meet is obligation to pay us monthly commitments to an extent that they are now invoking force majeure despite our payments not based on sale of coal but on the availability of the P50m long facility.”
According to the two Petroleum Pty Ltd directors, efforts to reach an amicable resolution have all been in vain and they remain far apart, therefore narrowing their positions to legal action to resolve the matter. Guma and Tibe told Botswana Oil Limited that they have taken a position to cancel this transactions.
Since BOL is an interested party, the two businessmen had requested to be privy to correspondences between BOL and Shumba Energy. Meanwhile Botswana Oil Limited declined to comment on the matter stating that “we can disclose client information to third parties.” When contacted for comment Samson Guma Moyo expressed that he will not discuss the matter with this publication because it is with the appropriate authorities.
However Shumba had written to Guma and Tibe indicating that they have evoked the force majeure provisions that are in the Services Contract. They pointed to Botswana lock down state of emergency from midnight on April 2 2020 which will be in place for a period of six months as one of the reasons.
They further said South Africa had also declared a national state of disaster as a result of the rapid spread of the virus in South Africa and the nation-wide lockdown. They shared that Mauritius is also on lock down. “Therefore all three countries where we carry out our business operations are in a state of lock down and further Botswana where we conduct most of our business is under a state of emergency. As a result thereof, we hereby advice Coal Petroleum, will be unable to fulfill its obligations (including payments).”