Despite being guided by a constitution that heaps enormous powers on its president, the ever-growing Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) may be a permanent home of constant divisions and power struggle whirlwinds because of its adopted two-centers-of-power system.
The BPF power alternates between the all-powerful former president, Lt Gen Ian Khama and party president, the University of Botswana political scientist, Professor Zibani Maundeni has warned.
Already there are some members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) who are pushing for Khama’s ouster from the NEC. They argue that the former head of state and ruling party leader, Khama wields so much power and influence in the NEC and retains a ‘Godfather’ type of status and influence in the committee. This, they say, stifles debates as he is a respected elder whose words carry more weight and cannot be ignored, even where he falters.
This has not been received well by the party patron’s loyalists. They have given the anti-Khama NEC membership a steeper challenge: to take their complaint to the congress which bestowed such a membership to Khama.
This amendment, according to the constitution should be circulated to members of the NEC not later than three months before the congress and should be approved by a two-thirds majority of the congress.
Maundeni sympathizes with those who want Khama outside the NEC: “The BPF needs some serious introspection if they are serious about going far as a political party. The challenge they are currently facing may have caught them unaware but many of us knew it was always coming. The reality is that the party is run through two-centres of power being the Patron and the President and this will always present challenges to any organization.”
Maundeni warns that any president who occupies the BPF seat will always feel the colossal shadow of Khama, “I don’t think any person who takes up the presidency will enjoy it, unless he or she gives up power for peace sake.”
The party constitution empowers the president: to convene and preside over meetings of the National Executive Committee and the Executive Committee; to give instructions on any matter to any official of the BPF, and empower any member to exercise any powers or specific functions for and on behalf of the BPF or the National Executive Committee; to create an ad hoc committee or committees to advise the BPF on any matter whatsoever; and in cases of emergency, to take action in the interest of the BPF pending review by the National Congress, among others.
What options does the BPF have to arrest to centralize power? Maundeni says Khama must step back, “he has done well to organize and set up and I think it’s high time he steps back and keep a good distance to allow the structures to run the party.”
This will further place Khama in an authoritative elder position in the party’s affairs and not a player, Maundeni concludes.
Khama indeed has been caught several times in the raging BPF fire flames involving the party president, Biggie Butale. The party president has allegedly called him a dictator who has no place in the NEC. The NEC is the administrative authority of the BPF and is empowered to uphold and enforce the constitution, rules and regulations of the BPF.
Observers point out that Khama cannot let go because the BPF is his ‘pet project’ which he uses to fight his personal battles.
Should the party fire their president, Butale as it seems to be coming, it is not yet known who will succeed him. Several names have been thrown around including those of former Ministers, Nonofo Molefhi, Tshekedi Khama and legislator, Samson Moyo Guma.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.