Following the government’s contentious response to the United Nations Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (UNSR), businessman, Shadrack Baaitse has countered the information concerning his matters though a letter to the UNSR in which he details what he terms a string of lies by Minister Dr Lemogang Kwape.
In his letter, Baaitse says Kwape is lying when he says on the 3rd of November 2020, an armed robbery case was reported in Kumakwane involving a black station wagon Land Cruiser. “I have noted with great concern that Mr Kwape’s response carries a huge weight of falsified and fabricated information.
Firstly, there was NO reported armed robbery case on the 3rd November 2020 in Kumakwane involving a black Station Wagon Land Cruiser. The truth is that on the 27th October 2020 an armed robbery case was reported to have taken place in Kumakwane involving a Security systems cash in transit Ghanzi bound vehicle at or around 5AM. It is reported that 6 suspects overtook the cash in transit vehicle using a Ford Wild track (Double Cab) and made a U-turn facing Gaborone and started firing at the Cash in transit vehicle.”
Baaitse says “I must emphasize that this report was confirmed by Kweneng District Officer Commanding No: 11 Senior Superintendent Modise Gabatshwane. I have noted that Mr Kwape has deliberately lied to the special rapporteur to cover the brutality and gruesome acts the DIS has continued to carry out on what they call Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) such as myself and others who are deemed to be Masisi and Magosi critics.
There was NEVER a black station wagon Land Cruiser reported to be involved in an armed robbery case in Kumakwane on the 3rd November 2020 as Mr Kwape claims. This a plan to discredit my report which statement I gave to the Botswana Police Services in Serowe Police Station that the DIS planned my demise and tried to use the Botswana Police after several failed attempts by the DIS on trying to arrest me, pin me down (as Mr Peter Magosi has vowed) and do me harm as they warned me on the 18th September 2018 just because I am loyal to former President Khama.”
At point number 10 of his letter, where he concern himself with why he did not pursue the DIS threat to kill further, Baaitse narrates:
“As mentioned in the above paragraphs, I found no reason to lodge any further complaint to anyone or any state security agency save to say I have been filing reports and furnishing them to other organizations abroad. This is because the current regime under Mr Masisi and Magosi have deviated from the democratic pillars as demonstrated by several series of events and many high court judgements and no action is ever taken to pursue such reports and complaints.
My first unprecedented encounter with the current DIS was on the 18th September 2018 where I was detained in DIS Sebele office for over 4 hours where I was questioned about my relationship with former President Khama and former Director General Dis Colonel Isaac Kgosi whom I worked under during my time in the Botswana Defence force since I reported directly to them then. I reported such to the DIS Director General in his office in person but he has never gotten back to me save that he told me that there are certain politicians who are busy trying to destroy my name and he will sort them out for me”
He continued that Magosi “further asked me to work cooperatively with them and convince former President Khama to hand Isaac Kgosi over to them so that former President Khama could live his life freely. In that meeting Mr Magosi also said he is very much willing to assist me the current Botswana Unified Revenue Services Prevailing Securities Tax liability and he will instruct Mr Kaone Molapo to rectify the same if I agree to work with them the same way he has assisted Mr Tshephang Mabaila whose case was even worse since he had a criminal case.
He further disclosed that on the 3rd April 2019, he and Ms Marathe the who was then in the Botswana Police Services landed in Kang airstrip where he met my Prevailing Securities employees and as they complained to Ms Marathe about my whereabouts, he, Mr Magosi told Ms Dinah Marathe that she should not worry since he is in constant communications with me. It is therefore to my shock that Mr Kwape’s response continues to demonstrate the dishonesty of the Masisi regime as they continue to lie about facts that are very much available in public domain.”
The letter continues: “I must further state that I am disappointed in the manner the Masisi regime conducts itself ranging from fabricating information as they have done here in my case and many others such as the Butterfly case and Isaac Kgosi arrest, the list is endless.
We live in fear for our lives, we are literally ex-communicated from our loved ones, my family has been subjected to constant surveillance, my businesses have been subjected to discrimination and backlisting by the current Government and her parastatals, including falsified tax liabilities using the draconic pay now and complain later tax act as demonstrated by court papers.”
Baaitse further says it has been reported that Mr Magosi and Mr Masisi have also gone to an extent of lobbying 3 court of appeal judges to overturn certain high court judgements including my Prevailing Securities / BURS case since they embarrassed the State and such judges have been prepared to preside over those appeal cases and turn them down.
“This information came to a close Court of Appeal Judge whom I consider a sister and a very close associate of Mr Magosi who shared her serious concern as to what evil I have done to Mr Magosi such that he is so seriously determined to destroy my life and acting jointly with Mr Kaone Molapo of the BURS to pin me to an 85 million Pula false Tax liability. This is just one of the indications that several Security agencies and other institutions such as the BURS, the DISS, the DPP, 3 or 4 members of the Judiciary have deviated from democratic practices, the rule of law, human rights practices and violated people’s constitutional rights, wrote Baaitse
I was never interviewed as alleged by Kwape
According to Kwape, following linkages to the robbery, “Mr Baaitse was subjected to an interview and it was established in the interview that
he knew nothing about the robbery.”
To this Baaitse says, wrote that he challenges Kwapa to produce evidence.
“I must retaliate that I was never subjected to any interview, the two police officers asked for my national identity and upon noticing my identity they then contacted their superiors and recorded my details and mobile numbers and simply told me to go. The Botswana Police acted in theirprofessional duties as I stated above and did realize I was deliberately implicated,” wrote Baaitse.
He continued the allegations here are false, “I have never been subjected to any interview neither by any Government official, the Botswana Police nor Mr Kwape’s Ministry or any. In a Democratic setup, where one’s life is under threat as I have demonstrated with several reports including reporting to the Director General of the DIS Peter Fana Magosi, one has to be called for an interview by the concerned party, however, in my case I have never been asked to provide details apart from the letters I wrote to several organizations including the United Nations Secretary General, African Union, SADC and other human rights organizations abroad. I want to challenge Mr Kwape to provide the details of such interview and persons involved.”
Mowana Copper Mine in Dukwi will finally pay its former employees a total amount of P23, 789, 984.00 end of this month. For over three years Mowana Copper Mine has been under judicial management. Updating members, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) Executive Secretary Kitso Phiri this week said the High Court issued an order for the implementation of the compromise scheme of December 9, 2021 and this was to be done within 30 days after court order.
“Therefore payment of benefits under the scheme including those owed to Messina Copper Botswana employees should be effected sometime in January latest end of January 2022,” Kitso said. Kitso also explained that cash settlement will be 30 percent of the total Messina Copper Botswana estate and negotiated estate is $3,233,000 (about P35, 563,000).
Messina Copper was placed under liquidation and was thereafter acquired by Leboam Holdings to operate Mowana Mine. Leboam Holdings struck a deal with the Messina Copper’s liquidator who became a shareholder of Leboam Holdings. Leboam Holdings could not service its debts and its creditors placed it under provisional judicial management on December 18, 2018 and in judicial management on February 28, 2019.
A new company Max Power expressed interest to acquire the mining operations. It offered to take over the Mowana Mine from Leboam Holdings, however, the company had to pay the debts of Leboam including monies owed to Messina Copper, being employees benefits and other debts owed to other creditors.
The monies, were agreed to be paid through a scheme of compromise proposed by Max Power, being a negotiated payment schedule, which was subject to the financial ability of the new owners. “On December 9, 2021, Messina Copper liquidator, called a meeting of creditors, which the BMWU on behalf of its members (former Messina Copper employees) attended, to seek mandate from creditors to proceed with a proposed settlement for Messina Copper on the scheme of compromise. It is important to note that employee benefits are regarded as preferential credit, meaning once a scheme is approved they are paid first.”
A savingram the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development sent to Town Clerks and Council Secretaries explaining why councilors across the country should not have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term has been revealed.
The contents of the savingram came out in the wake of a war of words between counselors and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The councilors through the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) accuse the Ministry of refusing to allow them to have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term.
This has since been denied by the Ministry. In the savingram to town councils and council secretaries across the country, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Molefi Keaja states that, “Kindly be advised that the terminal benefits budget is made during the final year of term of office for Honorable Councilors.” Keaja reminded town clerks and council secretaries that, “The nominal budget Councils make each and every financial year is to cater for events where a Councilor’s term of office ends before the statutory time due to death, resignation or any other reason.”
The savingram also goes into detail about why the government had in the past allowed councilors to have access to their terminal benefits before the end of their term. “Regarding the special dispensation made in the 2014-2019, it should be noted that the advance was granted because at that time there was an approved budget for terminal benefits during the financial year,” explained Keaja. He added that, “Town Clerks/Council Secretaries made discretions depending on the liquidity position of Councils which attracted a lot of audit queries.”
Keaja also revealed that councils across the country were struggling financially and therefore if they were to grant councilors access to their terminal benefits, this could leave their in a dire financial situation. Given the fact that Local Authorities currently have cash flow problems and budgetary constraints, it is not advisable to grant terminal benefits advance as it would only serve to compound the liquidity problems of councils.
It is understood that the Ministry was inundated with calls from some Councils as they sought clarification regarding access to their terminal benefits. The Ministry fears that should councils pay out the terminal benefits this would affect their coffers as the government spends a lot on councilors salaries.
Reports show that apart from elected councilors, the government spends at least P6, 577, 746, 00 on nominated councilors across the country as their monthly salaries. Former Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso once told Parliament that in total there are 113 nominated councilors and their salaries per a year add up to P78, 933,16.00. She added that their projected gratuity is P9, 866,646.00.
A surge in consumer spending is expected to be a key driver of Botswana’s economic recovery, according to recent projections by Fitch Solutions. Fitch Solutions said it forecasts household spending in Botswana to grow by a real rate of 5.9% in 2022.
The bullish Fitch Solutions noted that “This is a considerable deceleration from 9.4% growth estimated in 2021, it comes mainly from the base effects of the contraction of 2.5% recorded in 2020,” adding that, “We project total household spending (in real terms) to reach BWP59.9bn (USD8.8bn) in 2022, increasing from BWP56.5bn (USD8.3bn) in 2021.” According to Fitch Solutions, this is higher than the pre-Covid-19 total household spending (in real terms) of P53.0 billion (USD7.8bn) in 2019 and it indicates a full recovery in consumer spending.
“We forecast real household spending to grow by 5.9% in 2022, decelerating from the estimated growth of 9.4% in 2021. We note that the Covid-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on economic activity resulted in real household spending contracting by 2.5% in 2020, creating a lower base for spending to grow from in 2021 and 2022,” Fitch Solutions says.
Total household spending (in real terms), the agency says, will increase in 2022 when compared to 2021. In 2021 and 2022, total household spending (in real terms) will be above the pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019, indicating a full recovery in consumer spending, says Fitch Solutions. It says as of December 6 2021 (latest data available), 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose, while this is relatively low it is higher than Africa average of 11.3%.
“The emergence of new Covid-19 variants such as Omicron, which was first detected in the country in November 2021, poses a downside risk to our outlook for consumer spending, particularly as a large proportion of the country’s population is unvaccinated and this could result in stricter measures being implemented once again,” says Fitch Solutions.
Growth will ease in 2022, Fitch Solution says. “Our forecast for an improvement in consumer spending in Botswana in 2022 is in line with our Country Risk team’s forecast that the economy will grow by a real rate of 5.3% over 2022, from an estimated 12.5% growth in 2021 as the low base effects from 2020 dissipate,” it says.
Fitch Solutions notes that “Our Country Risk team expects private consumption to be the main driver of Botswana’s economic growth in 2022, as disposable incomes and the labour market continue to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.” It says Botswana’s tourism sector has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the related travel restrictions.
According to Fitch Solutions, “The emergence of the Omicron variant, which was first detected in November 2021, has resulted in travel bans being implemented on Southern African countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Eswatini. This will further delay the recovery of Botswana’s tourism sector in 2021 and early 2022.” Fitch Solutions, therefore, forecasts Botswana’s tourist arrivals to grow by 81.2% in 2022, from an estimated contraction of 40.3% in 2021.
It notes that the 72.4% contraction in 2020 has created a low base for tourist arrivals to grow from. “The rollout of vaccines in South Africa and its key source markets will aid the recovery of the tourism sector over the coming months and this bodes well for the employment and incomes of people employed in the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants and hotels as well as recreation and culture businesses,” the report says.
Fitch Solutions further notes that with economies reopening, consumers are demanding products that they had little access to over the previous year. However, manufacturers are facing several problems. It says supply chain issues and bottlenecks are resulting in consumer goods shortages, feeding through into supply-side inflation. Fitch Solutions believes the global semiconductor shortage will continue into 2022, putting the pressure on the supply of several consumer goods.
It says the spread of the Delta variant is upending factory production in Asia, disrupting shipping and posing more shocks to the world economy. Similarly, manufacturers are facing shortages of key components and higher raw materials costs, the report says adding that while this is somewhat restricted to consumer goods, there is a high risk that this feeds through into more consumer services over the 2022 year.
“Our global view for a notable recovery in consumer spending relies on the ability of authorities to vaccinate a large enough proportion of their populations and thereby experience a notable drop in Covid-19 infections and a decline in hospitalisation rates,” says Fitch Solutions. Both these factors, it says, will lead to governments gradually lifting restrictions, which will boost consumer confidence and retail sales.
“As of December 6 2021, 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose. While this is low, it is higher than the Africa average of 11.3%. The vaccines being administered in Botswana include Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson. We believe that a successful vaccine rollout will aid the country’s consumer spending recovery,” says Fitch Solutions. Therefore, the agency says, “Our forecasts account for risks that are highly likely to play out in 2022, including the easing of government support. However, if other risks start to play out, this may lead to forecast revisions.”