Connect with us
Friday, 19 April 2024

Masisi secretly meets BDP MPs


President Mokgweetsi Masisi is currently covertly meeting with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) legislators in the backbench to coax them against defecting to other political parties.

This comes after two prominent party members; Topisi Ward Councillor in the Serowe North Constituency, Samuel Kenalemang and former BDP Councillor for Xhosa Ward in Mahalapye East, Modiri Ramaribana resigned from BDP to join its splinter party Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). The BPF, with its patron being disgruntled former President Ian Khama, has become a fertile defecting ground for resentful members of the BDP.

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]BDP law makers, who spoke to WeekendPost this week revealed that following the latest defections, the President is said to be already pressing panic buttons – and in the process is individually engaging MPs whose prospects of defecting are high. This publication has gathered that so far the party leadership has met with Mmadinare legislator Molebatsi Molebatsi and Jwaneng/Mabutsane law maker Mephato Reatile and a few others, reports which they confirmed.

“I can confirm that I had a meeting with the party leadership through the Chairman Slumber Tsogwane. Masisi sent Tsogwane,” he told WeekendPost. Molebatsi continued: “Indeed Masisi has started talking to us as BDP MPs. I do not believe it is me alone. We are many, so he also spoke to others,” he said although cagey with details.

Another MP, when reached for comment, Reatile also confirmed that indeed he has met with the party Chairman Tsogwane on behalf of President Masisi, over what he said was his burning issues concerning him and the party.
“I told the VP on why the party leadership seems like they detest me too much. I was wondering what I did to deserve this dislike. Like an orphan, I even campaigned single handedly in the last 2019 election campaign,” he fumed.

WeekendPost has established that some party MPs were showered with a lot of promises in the series of meetings, particularly promises of cabinet posts as well as constituencies in delimitation commission expected in 2021 – to contain them from thought of imminent departure from Domkrag.

Crisis in the BDP as 14 Councillors expected to defect to BPF – claim

“There is a crisis building in the BDP. Party members are defecting bit by bit, one after the other. Some feel used to have abetted Masisi in his personal fight with former President Khama,” one separate immaculate MP told this publication on condition of anonymity. He further added that there is a serious problem especially in the Central District as some legislators believe Masisi’s leadership has regionalised the power, authority and government to the South.

He added that even cabinet Ministers are mostly from the South, and so, the North/South divide is alive.It is understood that around 14 Councillors are intending to defect from the BDP to the BPF in the Central District in due course.

BDP: “We are not aware” of the allegations by those MPs

Contacted for a comment, BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi claimed ignorance of the imminent de-camping: “I am not aware of the allegations,” he told this publication briefly on Thursday.

Political analyst says it’s naive to defect under COVID-19

Meanwhile, on the so called defections, the University of Botswana Senior lecturer and Political analyst Leornard Sesa stated that it is naïve for party members to be defecting to other parties while the country is under COVID-19 restrictions. He also observed that “these party members used voters and since they won elections, they now want to cross the floor to go to their real parties of choice or where their hearts are.”

The analysts continued: if you can observe, there is even also lack of consultation with constituents when they cross the floor. “But to be fair to them I believe probably some in the BDP do cross feeling under pressure especially at areas where the BPF is a threat,” he pointed out. The other issue is that the party, some party MP’s also believe the party is not delivering on what they promised the nation but the time is ticking fast.

Four Ministers face the chop in cabinet reshuffle expected in July

It is understood that Masisi will shake cabinet in his first reshuffle subsequent to the 2019 General Elections in the coming July sitting. Sources in the ruling party say, “It is already done” and it is “just waiting formality.” In the anticipated cabinet reshuffle, the sources say four Ministers are likely to become the fall guys.

The leaked reshuffled cabinet indicates that Mogoditshane MP and Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso ‘Chillyboy’ Rakgare; Assistant Minister of Health and Boteti East MP Sethomo Lelatisitswe, Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Security and Mmathethe/Molapowabojang lawmaker Dr. Edwin Dikoloti as well as Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development who doubles as Francistown East MP Buti Billy may be the fall guys.

The youthful Rakgare’s fall is linked to how he played the Mogoditshane corruption debacle that is said to have not gone well with the party politburo and Billy it is believed has not done much in his portfolio. Dr. Dikoloti is said to not be up to task at the key Agricultural Ministry with the food security discourse while Lelatisitswe is said to be uneconomic with some of cabinet’s confidential information.

It is however not clear on who will come in as their replacements if it comes to pass. Some believe the imminent cabinet reshuffle has come too early with barely a year following the 2019 General Elections.  “It shows the leader was deficient in his assessment when appointing the cabinet,” a BDP MP said.[/ihc-hide-content]


Nigerians, Zimbabweans apply for Chema Chema Fund

16th April 2024

Fronting activities, where locals are used as a front for foreign-owned businesses, have been a long-standing issue in Botswana. These activities not only undermine the government’s efforts to promote local businesses but also deprive Batswana of opportunities for economic empowerment, officials say. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has warned of heavy penalties for those involved in fronting activities especially in relation to the latest popular government initiative dubbed Chema Chema.

According to the Ministry, the Industrial Development Act of 2019 clearly outlines the consequences of engaging in fronting activities. The fines of up to P50,000 for first-time offenders and P20,000 plus a two-year jail term for repeat offenders send a strong message that the government is serious about cracking down on this illegal practice. These penalties are meant to deter individuals from participating in fronting activities and to protect the integrity of local industries.

“It is disheartening to hear reports of collaboration between foreigners and locals to exploit government initiatives such as the Chema Chema Fund. This fund, administered by CEDA and LEA, is meant to support informal traders and low-income earners in Botswana. However, when fronting activities come into play, the intended beneficiaries are sidelined, and the funds are misused for personal gain.” It has been discovered that foreign nationals predominantly of Zimbabwean and Nigerian origin use unsuspecting Batswana to attempt to access the Chema Chema Fund. It is understood that they approach these Batswana under the guise of drafting business plans for them or simply coming up with ‘bankable business ideas that qualify for Chema Chema.’

Observers say the Chema Chema Fund has the potential to uplift the lives of many Batswana who are struggling to make ends meet. They argue that it is crucial that these funds are used for their intended purpose and not siphoned off through illegal activities such as fronting. The Ministry says the warning it issued serves as a reminder to all stakeholders involved in the administration of these funds to ensure transparency and accountability in their disbursement.

One local commentator said it is important to highlight the impact of fronting activities on the local economy and the livelihoods of Batswana. He said by using locals as a front for foreign-owned businesses, opportunities for local entrepreneurs are stifled, and the economic empowerment of Batswana is hindered. The Ministry’s warning of heavy penalties is a call to action for all stakeholders to work together to eliminate fronting activities and promote a level playing field for local businesses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s warning of heavy penalties for fronting activities is a necessary step to protect the integrity of local industries and promote economic empowerment for Batswana. “It is imperative that all stakeholders comply with regulations and work towards a transparent and accountable business environment. By upholding the law and cracking down on illegal activities, we can ensure a fair and prosperous future for all Batswana.”










Continue Reading


Merck Foundation and African First Ladies mark World Health Day 2024

15th April 2024

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks “World Health Day” 2024 together with Africa’s First Ladies who are also Ambassadors of MerckFoundation “More Than a Mother” Campaign through their Scholarship and Capacity Building Program. Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “At Merck Foundation, we mark World Health Day every single day of the year over the past 12 years, by building healthcare capacity and transforming patient care across Africa, Asia and beyond.

I am proud to share that Merck Foundation has provided over 1740 scholarships to aspiring young doctors from 52 countries, in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Embryology & Fertility specialty, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Advanced Surgical Practice, Pain Management, General Surgery, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Internal Medicine, Trauma & Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Cardiology, Stroke Medicine, Care of the Older Person, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Child Health, Obesity & Weight Management, Women’s Health, Biotechnology in ART and many more”.

As per the available data, Africa has only 34.6% of the required doctors, nurses, and midwives. It is projected that by 2030, Africa would need additional 6.1 million doctors, nurses, and midwives*. “For Example, before the start of the Merck Foundation programs in 2012; there was not a single Oncologist, Fertility or Reproductive care specialists, Diabetologist, Respiratory or ICU specialist in many countries such as The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea, Burundi, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Namibia among others. We are certainly creating historic legacy in Africa, and also beyond. Together with our partners like Africa’s First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Gender, Education and Communication, we are impacting the lives of people in the most disadvantaged communities in Africa and beyond.”, added Senator Dr. Kelej. Merck Foundation works closely with their Ambassadors, the African First Ladies and local partners such as; Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building healthcare capacity and addressing health, social & economic challenges in developing countries and under-served communities. “I strongly believe that training healthcare providers and building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to equitable and quality at health care in Africa.

Therefore, I am happy to announce the Call for Applications for 2024 Scholarships for young doctors with special focus on female doctors for our online one-year diploma and two year master degree in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties, which includes both Online Diploma programs and On-Site Fellowship and clinical training programs. The applications are invited through the Office of our Ambassadors and long-term partners, The First Ladies of Africa and Ministry of Health of each country.” shared Dr . Kelej. “Our aim is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people by building healthcare capacity across Africa, Asia and other developing countries. We are strongly committed to transforming patientcare landscape through our scholarships program”, concluded Senator Kelej.

Continue Reading


Interpol fugitive escapes from Botswana

15th April 2024

John Isaak Ndovi, a Tanzanian national embroiled in controversy and pursued under a red notice by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), has mysteriously vanished, bypassing a scheduled bail hearing at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court in Gaborone. Previously apprehended by Botswana law enforcement at the Tlokweng border post several months earlier, his escape has ignited serious concerns.

Accused of pilfering assets worth in excess of P1 million, an amount translating to roughly 30,000 Omani Riyals, Ndovi has become a figure of paramount interest, especially to the authorities in the Sultanate of Oman, nestled in the far reaches of Asia.

The unsettling news of his disappearance surfaced following his failure to present himself at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court the preceding week. Speculation abounds that Ndovi may have sought refuge in South Africa in a bid to elude capture, prompting a widespread mobilization of law enforcement agencies to ascertain his current location.

In an official communiqué, Detective Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Selebatso Mokgosi of Interpol Gaborone disclosed Ndovi’s apprehension last September at the Tlokweng border, a capture made possible through the vigilant issuance of the Interpol red notice.

At 36, Ndovi is implicated in a case of alleged home invasion in Oman. Despite the non-existence of an extradition treaty between Botswana and Oman, Nomsa Moatswi, the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), emphasized that the lack of formal extradition agreements does not hinder her office’s ability to entertain extradition requests. She highlighted the adoption of international cooperation norms, advocating for collaboration through the lenses of international comity and reciprocity.

Moatswi disclosed the intensified effort by law enforcement to locate Ndovi following his no-show in court, and pointed to Botswana’s track record of extraditing two international fugitives from France and Zimbabwe in the previous year as evidence of the country’s relentless pursuit of legal integrity.

When probed about the potential implications of Ndovi’s case on Botswana’s forthcoming evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Moatswi reserved her speculations. She acknowledged the criticality of steering clear of blacklisting, suggesting that this singular case is unlikely to feature prominently in the FATF’s assessment criteria.


Continue Reading