When it created the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), Parliament might have failed to pay attention to the finer details of the monster they were forming.
Many years later DIS has proved to all and sundry that despite being a creature of statute, its powers are beyond reproach. The spy agency’s Director General Isaac Kgosi this week confirmed what for years has been a subject of speculation: that he is the alpha and omega of the country’s intelligence apparatus and does not answer to any one, not even the president!
Kgosi does not answer to the president of the republic who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces nor his second in command the vice president, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration or Permanent Secretary to the President on matters pertaining to security and intelligence in the country.
According to Kgosi the buck stops with him at DISS as the Accounting Officer. DISS was established amid controversy shortly after President Ian Khama assumed office in 2008. Funds from Disaster Fund were diverted to help establish the organisation amid strong resistance from opposition MPs and some of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers.
This week the DISS boss told Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which is probing the books of accounts of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) that the committee cannot dictate to him how to respond to their questions.
He reminded the committee that as much as they have the law that governs them they should know he also has a law to follow and that the Act of Parliament does not supersede the DISS Act.
He said that how he spends the funds at DISS is an administrative issue which does not compel him to answer to anybody. He said even the oversight committee and the DISS Council he briefs them when the need arises as he can carry out a project or procurement and notify the committees later.
The spy chief revealed that he had requested for variation of the funds from NPF for the sake of transparency. According to Kgosi he could have gone ahead with the procurement of military equipment without asking for variation because the funds were already with DISS.
According to the Fund Order only the president has such powers of varying funds from special funds such as the NPF. Kgosi’s assertions have sent shockwaves throughout the country as to what Parliament could have created for Batswana- an all-powerful government institution that is not answerable to anyone.
While others believe Kgosi’s statement was meant to protect his principal’s participation or knowledge in the controversial P250 million NPF scandal others contend that the man spoke the truth.
Even within the ruling party MPs have expressed discomfort with Kgosi’s utterances. Those who spoke to this publication have indicated that Kgosi’s principals should contain him as he continues to show arrogance and becomes reckless with his choice of words.
They argue that the creation of DISS which some of them were hostile about could come back to haunt the ruling party. The BDP used its numbers in Parliament to push for the establishment of the DIS under former President Ian Khama’s administration.
However, there are some MPs who believe Kgosi has been given too much power by the presidency. They argue that while Kgosi has sensitive information and secrets about almost everyone including those in the highest office it might prove difficult to deal with him in the best interest of the public and reclaim confidence from Batswana.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President who is also Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Vice President Dumelang Saleshando says pronouncements by DISS boss that he accounts to no one, not even the president, for funds used by DIS even if the funds were allegedly inappropriately secured, will possibly shock many, including the BDP stalwarts.
“I think that the stance adopted by Kgosi is a good one for our democracy. At the time when the DISS law was adopted, we cautioned against the creation of an organisation that was going to be a law unto itself,” he stated.
Saleshando said the DIS Act was not crafted in a manner that allowed for checks and balances. According to Saleshando the thinking of the BDP MPs at that time was that accountability was a threat to national security. This has allowed the DIS to operate above the law, he said adding that this was what BDP and President Khama wanted at the time.
He posited that the days when state security was an acceptable defence against the need for accountability belong in the past.
“I think the DISS Act should be repealed, DISS disbanded and all the activities it got involved in investigated. Our security cluster needs to be subjected to a critical review and a decision be made as to how the intelligence community should be restructured. President Masisi needs to start this process by suspending Kgosi to allow for full investigations into his activities that have dominated headlines and attracted the attention of the DCEC,” Saleshando added.
The former MP for Gaborone Central said if the president is unable to act, it can only mean that like other ministers, he is gripped by fear.
Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe could not comment on the matter because he is part of the PAC and the committee has not made any finality on its probe. However during the party’s 1st Annual Policy Statement early this year Gaolathe was of the view that, DIS has amassed power to the extent that it literally runs the government of Botswana.
According to Gaolathe the Intelligence Services is more powerful than the rest of the Government decision making machinery. “DISS has an influential role in deciding appointments to key positions in both government and quasi-government institutions. It is them that re-allocate willy-nilly Government reserves as they did with the National Petrol Fund. They are above the law, and no one is able to find a way for them to face the wrath of the law.
“Currently Government does not have the interest to bring the DISS to the book, and even if they were willing to do so, the current governance mechanism would not allow them to effectively deal with the ‘rogue’ institution. Our Government system is centralised, and Parliament lacks the institutional capacity to fulfill its constitutional mandate, consequently our system is not one of checks-and-balances; it is a legitimised authoritarian rule,” he told the gathering at Big Five Lodge in Mogoditshane.
Political Analyst Anthony Morima does not buy Kgosi’s story. He does not think that there can be an authority which does not report to another in a higher office. “Even the President is accountable to the nation and the National Assembly. DISS director cannot say he is not accountable to anyone- who request for budget and who appoints the director general? If indeed he reports to no one, then we will be in a state of chaos. It cannot be correct in our law to say that because there has to be checks and balances,” he said.
According to Morima Kgosi adopted such a stance to avoid answering questions because this could have given the PAC the lead as to who it should subpoena to appear and account. Morima opines that the DISS oversight Parliamentary Committee should be empowered to undertake its duties of checks and balances. The committee has however been dysfunctional after members of opposition pulled out of the committee as they felt the committee is not allowed to carry out its mandate.
A fierce face-off is on the cards between Isaac Kgosi- Director General at Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DISS) and defense lawyer in the P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money laundering scandal case when it goes for trial.
Kgosi has hinted that DISS would give evidence in the matter. Defence lawyer Kgosietsile Ngakaagae has insisted on several occasions at Regional Court (South) said that Kgosi should go into the dock to also answer for the charges of money laundering.
He had during the past court appearance indicated that as the defense they would make an application before court for review of Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) decision to charge only his clients and leave out Kgosi and others.
Bakang Seretse, his company Khulaco Pty Ltd, Botho Felicia Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang are each facing a single count of money laundering contrary to Section 47 (1) (b) of the Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act.
DISS boss has however this week revealed that the DISS would be giving evidence before court on the money laundering case. When appearing before Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week, Kgosi indicated that he is not in a position to discuss some issues which are before the court with the committee. He said he cannot discuss Khulaco Pty Ltd and its directorship because such information is before the court (sub judice).
“I am constrained to answer some of these questions. The committee enjoys immunity in this matter, well I don’t. No one would be standing with me in the dock when I am asked to answer. I cannot discuss these issues because they are before court and investigations are ongoing. With these investigations, the DISS would be compelled to give evidence before court,” he stated.
With DCEC having not expressed its intention to charge Kgosi, it seems the defense team can only have a share of him during cross-examination when giving evidence. Ngakaagae has reiterated on several occasions that he would not stop talking about Kgosi until he is brought before court. “It seems there is this thing of people especially the DCEC and the prosecution fearing Isaac Kgosi such that they do not even want to mention his name. Well I do not fear him and I would not stop talking about him until he is here charged like others,” said Ngakaagae in a recent court appearance.
Kgosi this week indicated that he is the one who takes decisions at DISS and the buck stops with him as the accounting officer. He has also revealed that the DCEC has questioned him regarding the money laundering case. He indicated that he is however not in a positon to discuss in detail his questioning.
The issues that Kgosi is referring to are with regards to DISS having requested funds from NPF to be transferred into a Khulaco account. He also did not want to comment on the correspondences between him, Khulaco, Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.
In the letters which are already in the public domain, Kgosi in his capacity as DISS Director General wrote to Department of Energy Affairs under the ministry requesting for the P250 million from NPF for DISS to construct strategic fuel storages. There is a letter also from former Acting Permanent Secretary Dr Obolokile Obakeng giving a go-ahead for DIS to divert the funds from the initial usage to now be used for purchase of military grade equipment in Israel. Kgosi directed through a letter that the sum of P230 million be transferred into the Khulaco account.
Another letter was from Dr. Obakeng rescinding his decision for the variation of the funds. He also wrote to Kgosi requesting that the DISS should return the funds. All these correspondences, Kgosi said he would not discuss them because they are classified information.
He told the committee that a crime was committed in obtaining of the documents. “There is a clear indication that a crime has been committed. Whoever committed such a crime, action have to be taken,” warned Kgosi. However, attorney Nchunga Nchunga from Attorney General stated that as long as a government entity followed proper procedure in acquiring documents said to be ‘secret’ there is nothing wrong.
Basarwa from Boteti region have high hopes on newly appointed Vice President Slumber Tsogwane to attend to their plight in the area, When Tsogwane was Minister of Local Government and Rural Development they complained about the ill-treatment they receive at the hands of government officials over the land that they occupy.
Recently a delegation was sent to Tsogwane who is also Member of Parliament for Boteti West to air their grievances and seek his intervention as local government minister. Now that he has been elevated they have hopes that Tsogwane will use his influence to deal with wayward government officials especially council officials, District Commissioner and land board officials who continue to relocate them from one area to the other and take over their land without consultations.
In an interview with this publication Khwedom Council Public Relations Officer, Banyatsi Salutu said Basarwa are being ill-treated in the only areas they have known for most of their lives. He explained that whenever they try to find answers they are sent from pillar to post.
He said the council has taken upon itself to ensure that they fight for the rights of Basarwa in Boteti. According to Salutu residents of Makolwane settlement have been forced out of the area to Metsiaela settlement. He said the reason for their relocation has not been communicated to the affected residents.
“We believe some of the relocations are politically influenced. When we ask the council or the District Commissioner we are never given a proper answer. They also want to move residents of Makgama to Mosu. Makgama is located few kilometers from Mosu.
“These residents are only considered or get attention from government when it is elections time.
At first they said they were squatters but in the wake of the 2014 general elections their relocation was abandoned and now they are back at it again. They would say they cannot bring developments and other necessities but when it is election time all the resources would be availed,” Salutu posited. He added that they currently do not know where to go because the matter was taken to Office of the President, Ngwato Land Board and Letlhakane Sub-Land Board, but nothing has been done.
According to the PRO, about 400 people have also been moved in Tsutsuga village to pave way for farms for small stock farming.
The farms are expected to be allocated soon. He said the officials who undertake these exercises never produce any written document but just communicate by word of mouth. Salutu said if Tsogwane and his government continue to ignore them they would be left with nothing but to boycott next year’s general elections, as they are only known during elections to put people in office.
Central District Commissioner Berenice Mosime was not available for comment as she was said to be sick.
Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director General, Isaac Kgosi says he can only account for P118 million from the P230 million that was transferred to his organisation from National Petroleum Fund (NPF).
DISS had requested the sum of P250 million for engineering structures of storage facilities and expansion of strategic fuel storage facilities.
After being given access to the funds, Kgosi then wrote to the Director of Energy Affairs directing that an amount of P230 million be transferred to Khulaco Pty Ltd on behalf of DISS.
The DIS later diverted the funds towards the purchase of military grade equipment to be used in fighting poaching, human and drug trafficking which are a threat to the country’s economy.
An amount of P118 million was paid to an Israel company Dignia Systems for the purchase of the equipment. These are the funds that Kgosi owned up to this week when he
appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The DISS boss could not be drawn to say what happened to the other funds or who should account for them. He said he does not know why he is being asked to return the funds.
Kgosi explained that the consignment that was bought for P118 million from Dignia Systems has not yet arrived in the country. He said he was shocked to learn about a letter from former Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Dr Obolokile Obakeng that DISS should pay back the P230 million during a meeting in February this year.
At the PAC hearing it was revealed that there was nothing that the Auditor General was able to pick from Khulaco Pty ltd as financial statements or money trail for the P118 million. Kgosi stated that he could not comment on where the remaining funds are because that is the same question that would be asked in court.
It also emerged at the PAC hearing that the Khulaco Pty ltd account to which public funds were transferred, was not sanctioned by Accountant General as the law dictates. Kgosi has told the committee that he knows little about the Public Finance Management Act.
It was revealed at the hearing that the DISS approached PPADB asking for single outsourcing but the request was turned down and the spy agency was directed to go for public tender. It was following this rejection that the DISS then asked for variation of the funds.
Kgosi would not be drawn into discussing the dealings between DISS and Dignia Systems. He said he would also not know if the Israeli government knew about the contract between DISS and Dignia Systems. The DISS director also refused to comment if Attorney General Abraham Ketshabe and former president Dr. Ian Khama knew about the contract between DISS and Dignia Systems.
DISS boss, Isaac Kgosi seems on course to exposing the ignorance of law on the part of Members of Parliament as he appears before the Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) that is investigating the National Petrol Fund (NPF) scandal.
Through the two days seating, Kgosi remained consistent on three points, that he was sworn to secrecy, he is the custodian of government secrets and that he was bound by the founding statutes of the intelligence body, DISS Act.
The spy boss would not be intimidated by the MPs’s heckling rising to the occasion in a subtle undertone to score his point: “The Acts of Parliament rank equally; I have a law that governs me on what I do. You have a law that governs you on what you do. It does not mean that your procedures supersede what the DISS Act says”.
Kgosi was also quick to tell the committee that the NPF matter is before the court and therefore subjudice to discuss it, a matter that frustrated almost all members of the Committee except for Ndaba Gaolathe who maintained his calmness during the first seating on Thursday.
Presiding over the hearing, PAC chairman, Dithapelo Keorapetse - who was himself compromised by reason of recent utterances he had made to the Press claiming that he and MP Samson Guma were targets of elimination by DISS - had his back to the wall.
And recoiling in an emotional outburst, Keorapetse directed Kgosi to the parliamentary standing orders that empower the committee to compel anybody appearing before it to cooperate and answer its questions instead of telling them on how they should operate.
But Kgosi would not budge. After a lengthy exchange, PAC agreed to allow him to say his part and his statement hit below the belt particularly on Keorapetse.
“I am aware of recent newspaper articles, radio interviews and comments from some members of this Committee and those that appeared before me, that have sought to portray the DIS as a rogue institution.
This is unfortunate and I wish to assure you all that the Directorate is law abiding and shall at all times adhere to its founding statute, the Constitution and any other laws in force from time to time in this Republic.
“To this end I would like to put it on record that the DISS has never made threats to assassinate or cause harm to anybody, or acted outside its mandate. There is no reason for anybody to fear it, whether politicians or members of the public.
“The security of this country is way paramount to be always subjected to speculative and irresponsible commentary; Botswana is above all of us. On this matter, I want it to be put on record that I will cooperate with this committee to the extent allowed by Law.
“I would also want it recorded that I am appearing before this Committee in spite of grave allegations that have been levelled against me in person, and the Directorate by some members of this committee as read in the media. I do so in the hope that there will be fairness in the deliberation of the committee”.
Appeal to Speaker
What PAC stood to gain from Kgosi’s questioning may have been lost forever and the signs of their defeat and frustration was clearly visible on its chairman Keorapetse as he and colleagues Shawn Nthaile, Ndaba Gaolathe, Samson Moyo Guma, Ignatius Moswaane and Mephato Reatile announced that they would be writing to the Speaker of the National Assembly to invoke Section 13 of the National Assembly powers and privileges.
“In our view there are questions that we feel you must answer which you have indicated the reason why you cannot. At this point, it will be up to the Speaker to cause you to answer or not”.
Kgosi was bold in his response; “I will wait for the Speaker”.
Kgosi drew the attention of the committee to provisions of the DISS Act and National Archives Act on releasing classified documents. The Intelligence and Security Cap. 23.02 says permission to release classified information must come from DISS boss.
Section 9 (1) of the National Archives and Records Services Act states every person appointed under or employed in carrying out the provisions of this Act shall regard and deal with all public records which are secret or confidential or to which access may be restricted as secret. When the Thursday seating collapsed due to lack of quorum subsequent to the departure of MP Nthaile, Keorapetse told Kgosi that since he refused to answer some questions, then they will subpoena the Director of National Archives and Records Services and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
But there was a change of heart as it seems the Archives Director will be called. On Thursday the proceedings started 45 minutes late than the stipulated time as the PAC and the Attorney General teams were locked in a meeting where it was decided that the committee must appeal to the Speaker.
But the question is will the Speaker, Gladys Kokorwe order Kgosi to provide the answer?
The law does not compel her to as it says the Speaker “may” thereupon excuse the answering of that question or production of such paper.
As Mochudi East Constituents go to the polls tomorrow (Saturday) to elect their new Member of Parliament, the opposition coalition is tipped to have a better chance of reclaiming the constituency. The constituency with eleven (11) Wards has three (3) key wards in Mochudi that are a deciding factor. The eleven wards are Olifant/Ramotlabaki, Malolwane, Bokaa, Boseja South, Boseja Central, Boseja North, Oodi, Matebeleng, Modimo, Sikwane, Mabalane and Mmathubudukwane.
The three Boseja wards have proved to be Botswana National Front (BNF)’s strongholds. BNF a contracting member of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has been given responsibility of the constituency and has fielded Moagi Molebatsi as their preferred candidate. Molebatsi will be up against Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Mpho Moruakgomo and Japhta Radibe who is an independent candidate.
The constituency was won by the UDC in 2014 but last year the area MP, the late Isaac Davids defected with the seat to BDP. Those close to the developments have indicated that the UDC’s loss - if it happens - should be blamed on the BNF leadership which has not been in touch with the rank and file.
Ever since the campaign kickstarted the toxic atmosphere in the BNF Central Committee has hampered the leadership from showing a united force and support for the candidate. Given the numbers from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) a win is expected as the two UDC contracting partners seem to have rekindled their love.
The Bakgatla’s unhealed wounds due to the impasse between government and their Kgosi Kgolo Kgosi Kgafela II could also come in handy for the opposition.
While Vice President Slumber Tsogwane argues that all is well between Bakgatla and government, the ground tells a different story. This has also been one of the opposition’s campaign tools as they remind Bakgatla of what happened to their chief.
Tsogwane who is also former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has told Bakgatla in the constituency not to be derailed by this argument by the opposition that Kgafela has been betrayed. However, one of the BDP campaign team revealed to this publication that their chances of winning the constituency are slim. The member who has been camping in the constituency for almost three weeks indicated that the electorates in the core wards of Mochudi East are not moved as they feel the BDP government has betrayed them.
The BDP activist also decried the lack of presence by BDP leadership who are only now showing face at the last minute this week. The BDP campaign is led by Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Phillip Makgalemele whose team believe necessary support was not rendered on time. This was evident this past weekend when President Mokgweetsi Masisi together with his deputy was launching the BDP candidate as few people turned up.
The BDP has pleaded with Bakgatla not to be deceived by the UDC by using Kgafela’s name. It has since emerged that the constituency is no longer a political but a royal battle. When the BDP is banking on using Kgosi Kgolo’s younger brother Mmusi Kgafela to lure votes, UDC fielded Molebatsi who is in the same regiment as Kgosi Kgafela II. In a recent public rally Mmusi accused the UDC of using his brother’s name to lure votes. The UDC is however not moved on its stance regarding the treatment Kgafela II received at the hands of government. Bakgatla Royals have been at loggerheads over who should take over on behalf of Kgafela II in his absence. Kgafela II had made it clear that he preferred Bana Sekai.
Government has since acceded to his request following lengthy engagement between government and a delegation from Mochudi. The UDC candidate- Molebatsi was part of this delegation.
Last year during a Kgotla gathering where Kgosi Sekai was officially announced, speakers from the delegation indicated that the road and the engagement with government was not an easy one. It was revealed that some members of the royal family including Kgosi Kgafela II younger brothers and some of the uncles made things even worse as they were not cooperative and opted to work with the enemy (government).
Mangana- Kgafela II’s regiment -was said to have been the one that stood the test of time when they did not give up on the enduring journey. When Molebatsi requested permission from Kgafela II to be active in politics and contest under UDC for Mochudi East, Kgafela II is said to have given him his blessing. Member of Parliament for Mochudi West Gilbert Mangole has said that Molebatsi took the lead for Mangana to intervene when government was persecuting Kgosi Kgafela II.
According to the UDC legislator Molebatsi is one of Mangana regiment members who fought the former President Ian Khama’s administration on issues surrounding their Kgosi. He said Kgatleng is at peace because of Molebatsi’s contribution over recognition of Kgosi Sekai as Bakgatla’s Deputy Chief. Mangole revealed that Kgafela II would be addressing a Kgotla meeting in South Africa this Sunday (22nd April) and the best present Bakgatla could give him is to vote for Molebatsi.
According to UDC campaign team, Kgabo (Kgafela II) has made things even a lot easier as the leader still respected by his subjects seems to have been understood to be endorsing Molebatsi to be sent to Parliament.
They however maintain that better still this is still, their constituency and there is no how the BDP could win the constituency from the BNF or the UDC. The tension within the BNF Central Committee is of less worry to the campaign team.
When their candidate was launched this past weekend some of the party leadership among them both their President Advocate Duma Boko and Vice President Dr Prince Dibeela were not in attendance as they were said to be engaged in other activities. The candidate was launched by UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando who is also BCP President.
UDC could also be banking on votes from Alliance for Progressives (AP) which would not be contesting. AP has endorsed Molebatsi and called on its members to vote for him. AP, a breakaway from BMD, has stated through its President Ndaba Gaolathe that it would not field candidates in all the 57 constituencies in 2019 and would be supporting like-minded candidates where it has not fielded a candidate.
A recommendation by the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) disciplinary hearing committee to have party chairperson Richard Gudu and additional member Peter Kuchwe permanently expelled from the party has flopped.
This is according to information received by the Botswana Guardian from a reliable source. Peter Kuchwe one of the suspended members alongside Richard Gudu confirmed to this publication that he has received a letter from his party directing him to attend a reconciliatory meeting with the party executive committee. The source who was present during the weekend central committee meeting in Francistown revealed that a resolution was handed to the leadership directing that the two be expelled from the party since they were arrogant during their second hearing.
“The two were then saved by the party president and other leaders who did not agree with the recommendation but felt that the two be brought before them for reconciliation,” the source said.
He said the only two people that did not want both men to be forgiven was the party deputy president Mbaakanyi Lenyatso and Secretary General Venter Galetshabiwe who are said to be interested in contesting the Parliamentary elections in 2019 general elections. Galetshabiwe refused to be drawn into the matter. He said that the resolution regarding the disciplinary hearing of the two is still a secret as it is before the party central committee. Galetshabiwe, who is eyeing Tati East is allegedly developing some goose bumps to face Kuchwe during the primaries in a constituency Kuchwe has so far made strides since he represented his party under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) during the past elections.
When contacted for comment Galetshabiwe said he will make his intentions about contenting at Tatii East known at the right time. For his part Lenyatso has said he will contest at Tati West against any candidate to exercise his democratic rights.
It is end of the road for coalition movement Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) as key players Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) have resolved to pull out of the marriage of convenience. Botswana Guardian understands that a bilateral meeting between BCP and BNF Central Committees in Gaborone has agreed that the time is now for them to leave UDC. Bilateral meetings are allowed among contracting partners. The last week meeting was attended by all members of the two central committees except for BNF President Advocate Duma Boko who was not in the country.
Advocate Boko has been accused by his central committee members of always avoiding meetings where critical issues pertaining to UDC are expected to be discussed. Those who attended the meeting have revealed that an agreement was reached to bolt out of the UDC and leave Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP). It is alleged that there are talks among the BCP and BNF members to find a model of working together going forward without BMD. Others are said to be calling for a coalition by the two parties while others want Alliance for Progressives - a BMD breakaway to be roped in.
Information gathered by this publication suggest that a meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday this week to seal the deal had to be cancelled as BNF and UDC leader Advocate Boko was not available. He is said to have promised to avail himself in the next BNF meeting scheduled for end of this month. The UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) is also expected to meet on the 24th of this month.
The committee has never met since the February congress. The NEC was mandated to evaluate the congress and its resolutions and report back to its structures as soon as possible. The NEC has ever since the event failed to meet. Things fell apart at UDC following the split of BMD last year. Other contracting partners wanted some of the issues to be revisited especially the allocation of constituencies given the development that happened at BMD.
Some members especially from BNF and BCP wanted redistribution of constituencies arguing that BMD would not manage to deliver all its 14 constituencies because its numbers have been affected by the split and formation of Alliance for Progressives (AP). BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa confirmed the meeting between BCP and BNF. Mohwasa said this is nothing new but a general principle that bilateral meetings could be held by contracting partners. He however said he would not share contents of the meeting with the media.
“We cannot share what was discussed at the meeting with the media. It is up to parties who held a bilateral meeting to decide if they want to share the information with the media or not. So at this point we cannot share that with the media. And whoever shared such information with you was out of order,” said Mohwasa who is also UDC Head of Communications. BCP Secretary General Kentse Rammidi could not be reached as his mobile phone was off.
Makopong Sub-Chief, Kgosi Vincent Phologo has been relieved of his duties, this publication can revealThis follows a protracted dispute between Makopong villagers and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development regarding Kgosi Phologo’s ascendency to the village’s bogosi in 2016.
Some residents approached the High Court to challenge the then minister, Slumber Tsogwane’s decision to appoint Phologo as Kgosi without holding elections.
In February this year, High Court Judge Michael Leburu ruled that Minister of Local Government, Slumber Tsogwane’s 2016 decision to appoint a Kgosi for Makopong village without following proper procedure should be reversed. Judge Leburu described the minister’s actions as “un-procedural” and must therefore be set aside meaning that Kgosi Vincent Motlhabane Phologo should vacate his seat as Sub-Chief for Makopong village and new elections be called. Last month, just before he was appointed the country’s vice president, Tsogwane told this publication that his ministry through the Tribal Administration is appealing Leburu’s judgment.
However, it seems the newly appointed minister of Local Government Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi will not go the court route. The minister has since relieved Phologo of his duties.
In a letter signed by Assistant Minister Botlogile Tshireletso, she explained, regarding the court judgment that, “the judgment then in effect, set your appointment aside and as we all are subjects of the rule of law, we have to see to it that the full effect of the said judgment is realised in practice and spirit.”
The letter which was copied to the Kgalagadi District Commissioner and the Tribal Secretary further reads in part that, “You shall cease to perform your duties as a Sub-Chief effective 9th April 2018. Meanwhile, Minister Venson-Moitoi will address residents of Makopong next week Tuesday to try and resolve the village’s bogosi dispute. The minister confirmed to this publication that she will address a kgotla meeting next week Tuesday to try and solve the matter.
Phologo was appointed following the death of his father Kgosi Shadreck Hatshelotlhe Phologo. However, residents of Makopong, a village in the Kgalagadi District, were against Vincent Phologo’s appointment arguing that it was un-procedural and unlawful as chieftainship had always been determined through elections in the village. Leburu ruled in the applicants’ favour and ordered that the appointment of Vincent Phologo be set aside.
Alliance for Progressives (AP) Youth League says it is lobbying student bodies within tertiary institutions to mount pressure on government to increase students’ allowances.
Young Progressives President Jacob Kelebeng has revealed that his committee is in consultation with Student Representative Councils (SRC) on the matter. “As young progressives we believe it is time something is done about the issue. The cost of living is very high and what the students are getting is too little for them to keep up with the changing and challenging world. We have structures in most of our tertiary institutions and we believe this should make the work easy for us,” said Kelebeng.
Kelebeng who was addressing the media in Gaborone this week said they will get all the SRCs involved to come up with a document that would be presented to Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology on what informs the need for increase of students’ allowances.
“President Mokgweetsi Masisi as the former minister of education we are sure he is aware of the demand on the call of allowance increment by the students due to the current economic status. About eight (8) years ago student allowance were decreased from P1 920 to P1420 on the notion that the country was going under recession.
“Over the years the cost of living was escalated at a higher rate therefore there is a need for increment of allowance to match the cost of living. As the youth league we have since resolved to mobilise the SRCs, students and all members of progressive student movements to demand allowance increment as a matter of urgency”, he said.
Should government fail to accede to this demand he said they would change tactics to punish government of the day. According to Kelebeng they would mobilise the youth to ensure that Botswana Democratic Party loses the 2019 elections under Masisi. He said Masisi would be the only president to have ruled for a short period of time.
“The BDP led government must know that by refusing to increase student allowances they are unofficially promoting prostitution and blesser syndrome among the student community, thus exposing them to social ills and drug abuse.”