Four years after the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) kicked off its demutualization process, the bourse has finally registered as a public company.
Thapelo Tsheole, BSE Chief Executive Officer announced to media this week that all processes have been completed with government being the major shareholder of the new company Botswana Stock Exchange Limited.
“We have demutualised into a public company with various stakeholders,” said Tsheolo, adding that the process started with the formulation of the BSE Transition Act, a piece of legislation enacted in 2015 to guide the process.
Tsheole said though the process took four years, he considers the timeline short compared to other jurisdictions like Kenya and South Africa where it took 13 and five years respectively.
“It was a painful and emotional process; the past two months had a lot of work.”
Under the new company, following lengthy valuing of government’s contribution and the brokers proprietary rights to trade on the bourse, government emerged with the largest chunk of 81.3 percent, Motswedi Securities 4.3 percent, Imara Capital 5.7 percent and African Alliance 2.8 percent.
As a new company, BSE will now follow the Companies Act and stop being guided by the BSE Act of 1995, allowing two non-independent directors and seven that are independent to sit on its board, opposed to having six brokers in the board and three appointed by government.
“It takes out the potential conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest,” said an optimistic Tsheole, adding that the new development will enable the bourse to attract capital in some of the sophisticated investors who are skeptical about conflict of interest in non-demutualised stock exchanges.
“Now we operate as a full company with clear motives. We are going to be following proper corporate principles,” said Tsheole, citing that the company already harbours plans to list on the bourse subject to the major shareholder agreeing.
“We are going to re-value the company and possibly persuade government to offer some of its shares as this is a practise in other private entities
Though brokers within the BSE were rumoured to have been against the demutualization, Tsheole believes the development will give BSE credibility, highlighting that brokers cannot own more that 20 percent shareholding.
Over the years, since 1995 to 2012 when the BSE started posting profits, government has invested heavily in the bourse to amounts reaching 75million pula.
Barclays Botswana has partnered with Fexco to launch Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), a product upgrading their swiping point of sale (POS) machines in order to enable foreign travelers to make payments in their home currency.
Fexco is an Irish-based financial services company focusing on bureau de change and payment card services. It will be responsible for DCC on-time exchange rates, giving customers convenience to know what they spent instead of waiting for bank statement on their return to native countries.
“There is a lot of tourist volume coming into Botswana faced with the dilemma of currency conversion and our new product enables the client to be able to track their expenditure in their local currency.
“The advantage here is that the customer will know in real time the amount that would be charged in the home currency of the card, including the currency conversion charge of three percent,” said Brighton Banda, Barclays Bank of Botswana Retail Director.
According to Barclays, the product is currently not compulsory for merchants. Banda invited retailers to register for the product, adding that only travellers using the VISA and MasterCard, debit and credit cards are enjoying the service for now.
“We hope that we will get a lot of merchants encouraging customers to settle bills in their currency,” said Banda, adding that for merchants every transaction converted to DCC, they would be incentivized with a rebate at rates pre-agreed with the bank.
“As a financial services provider, we always seek ways in which our payments solutions bring the convenience that customers need and expect. Spending in a currency best understood by a customer is meant to ease transactions for international customers so as to make their shopping experience more convenient,” Banda said.
John Lalit D’Souza, Head of Cards Acquiring and Issuance at Barclays Botswana said the product was developed after constant engagement with clients, on how to reduce cost.
He said the bank took nine months to develop the product, adding that the product has been in use in other markets particularly those with high volumes tourism and commerce, such as London and Dubai.
For the bank, DCC helps combat currency fluctuations since settlement is made in US dollar for all transactions by Visa and MasterCard, improves shopping experience for the tourist and reduce cost by 0.5 percent.
The business community has reiterated its call to authorities to provide incentives in order to improve the country’s competitiveness and productivity, to help spur the country’s exports.
The Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA) Chief Executive Officer, Mmantlha Sankoloba has prepared a dossier to help government identify gaps on local export capacity. The report has already been shared with government for consideration.
“It is well-known that developing export capacity is a critical driver of firm level competitiveness and productivity,” said Sankoloba, adding that thriving exports also have a ripple effect on sustained poverty reduction and job creation.
“It equally worries the Association to see a lot of youth roaming the streets, we have so much potential in manufacturing and we need a strategy to retain the investors.”
She said a lot of effort should be channeled on export development (goods and services) to create deep and durable markets and diversification of the economy to facilitate inclusive growth.
“Export capacity development activities that focus on sectors and markets where smaller producers as well as the poor are better represented can have real sustainable pro-poor trade impacts. Within the smaller landlocked countries, such as Botswana, exports led growth is a key priority to drive productivity,” Sankoloba said.
Though calls to improve the country’s exports revenue is now sounding like an old record, Sankoloba said government, trade support institutions and private sector should support competitiveness with a coherent strategy. “There is no pivotal point, where we meet and everyone is doing their own things, which, unfortunately is detrimental to trade,” said the BEMA CEO.
Sankoloba wants government to improve advocacy on key issues such as competition, standards, tax and inclusiveness of the benefits from trade and transport facilitation and private sector development.
Over the years Botswana has performed badly on AGOA, a trade programme that give preferential trade quotas for the country to export into the US.
BEMA argues that in order for local exporters to maximise utilisation of AGOA, authorities should improve the ease of doing business, provide export incentives and an inducement or reward to the exporters. Botswana’s exports efforts are crippled by high costs of transportation and logistics, lack of skilled manpower and the inability to import the required manpower due to difficulties faced in obtaining work and residence permits and lack of any incentives or funding for upgrading of equipment and replacements to meet quality standards set by overseas buyers and companies.
The Association also notes the non availability of training facilities locally for providing specialized skills required to operate, and maintain state of the art equipment, lack of access to land to expand existing manufacturing facilities.
On the other hand, other AGOA eligible countries such as Lesotho have competitive advantage over Botswana as they have incentives.
Sankoloba said the country has lost a few manufacturers to its peers in the region due to lack of incentives.
“We need incentives, it has not been easy for them (manufacturers and exporters) but they stick around. It’s about time government listen to the private sector,” calling for authorities to start implementing short-term initiatives.
G4S Botswana, the country’s biggest security services company said it will continue to implement operational and service improvements, with increased capacity to provide better customer satisfaction and enhanced security solutions.
Writing in the company latest annual report, Managing Director, Mokgethi Magapa noted that, ‘the leveraging of our technological capability regionally and globally would give us a competitive edge in a market that is still driven by traditional manned guarding solutions for customers’. The company competes head to head with big players such as Security Systems and Security Services in the manned security.
Meanwhile, the group which also has a property management division stated that its cash processing and management
space, including Automated Teller Machines(ATM) management, continues to offer great opportunity, despite fighting with other players such as the above mentioned for the same tenders especially in the financial services sectors. “As the first mover and with greater capability, we see cash as a great flagship business given the products and services that we are able to introduce to the local market,” said a confident Magapa who is writing his first annual report as the CEO of the company.
Meanwhile, G4S Botswana which saw its profitability in the past few years declining has now stabilised, as seen on its profit for full year to December 2017. “G4S is now more stable and on more sound financial footing, realising a Profit Before Tax of P40.22 million, which represents an improvement of 25.6 percent over 2016. Revenue grew at 2.2 percent in a subdued economy which struggled to break the 4 percent growth mark amid a record number of closures in the mining sector,” noted Chairman Dr. Masego Mpotokwane. Mpotokwane is also a shareholder in the company
Going forward, the company which is owned in majority by G4S plc, the London-listed company said that it will continue to acquire customers with great emphasis placed on reviewing our client portfolio and service mix to achieve sustainable revenue growth. “New areas (geographic) of business operation, new products/services as well as partnerships are set to provide us with the quantum leap that is required for revenue growth. This will create sustainability in our business and allow us therefore the ability to fully invest in our operation,” said Magapa who is among the youngest crop of CEO is the publicly listed companies.
‘As we strive to enhance our operational capability, automation and outsourcing of non-core activities will be top of the agenda. We believe this would give us the agility to improve our mainstream business. The Facilities Management business presents unparalleled opportunity given that we are the only security and risk management company that offers that particular service’
The last vestiges of the Khama dynasty that has spanned over 50 years are suddenly self-destructing in a public spectacle that defies logic and denigrates all the values that founding president Sir Seretse Khama espoused. Immediate past president Ian Khama is not only suing President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s government for refusing his choice of private secretary in the person of former director of the notorious spy agency, DISS, Isaac Kgosi, but his younger brother, Minister and MP for Serowe West, Tshekedi Khama is also suing the party (BDP) at whose pleasure he serves. Perhaps this sordid turn of events is best summed up by BCP president’s quip that ‘chickens have now come home to roost for the BDP government’ because in Khama- he posits an epigram- the BDP has built a ‘monster that knows no rules and respects no institution’, and must therefore, be allowed the opportunity to ‘reap what it has sown’ as factional wars begin to tear the party apart ahead of the 2019 general election.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) factional wars have started to tear the party apart ahead of 2019 general elections, Botswana Guardian can reveal.
The party is divided in two with some supporting former president Ian Khama while others are fighting in the corner of President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The fight between the two factions has resulted in Bulela-Ditswe which was scheduled for this weekend being suspended indefinitely.
The BDP postponed the primaries on allegations of hacking of the party’s system. However, insiders have revealed that this is just an ‘excuse’ by those in support of Masisi as they want to re-strategise following a tip-off that the Khama-led team is also targeting candidates who are sympathetic to Masisi. The regrouping is also for the Masisi team to consolidate power to be able to contain the situation even post primary elections.
The Masisi camp has also been targeting some of the candidates who were deemed to be anti-Masisi administration. Mostly those on the Masisi hit list are those who were not supporting him last year when he contested the party’s chairmanship. Intelligence from both factions is said to be high with each trying to infiltrate the other.
The dismissal of the hacking according to insiders is on the basis that verification of voters’ rolls has been ongoing for the past three months with the involvement of Electoral Board and Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) deployees across the country. The entrance of Khama in the factional turf follows the ‘perceived’ frustrations and humiliations the former president has repeatedly suffered lately at the hands of Masisi.
Indications are that Khama had thought Masisi would be eating from his palm but after assuming the presidency of the party and that of the country, Masisi started cracking the whip on Khama’s administration. Masisi has since asserted his control and Khama, like any other citizen or BDP member, has to dance to his tunes. This is said to have angered Khama who has since launched a war on Masisi and his team. Khama is said to be consolidating power especially in the central district which is BDP’s biggest Region.
Khama has the advantage of being Bangwato Paramount chief to gain access in the region where he addresses Kgotla meetings and does walkabouts. The Khama factor is said to be causing BDP Central Committee, some ministers and Members of Parliament who want to survive Bulela-Ditswe, a serious headache. Some have allegedly called for the former president to be put on a tight leash before things spiral out of control.
Some Members of Parliament and cabinet ministers are said to have expressed concern over Khama’s latest conduct. It is alleged that this has made them to influence the postponement of the elections. Khama has already visited constituencies held by some key members of the party and Central Committee such as party chairman and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane who faces a tight competition in Boteti West and Deputy Secretary General and Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi who is also facing an uphill battle in his constituency.
While the factional turf is getting nasty, it is said to have also hit Tsholetsa House where the voters’ roll and membership cards are made. Information gathered by this publication revealed that the party office does not make corrections to the voters’ rolls which were corrected by local structures, when they reach Tsholetsa House. In the same fashion some voters have been blacklisted from the voters’ rolls even staunch BDP members.
The secretariat, together with some Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) members, have been accused of conniving to blacklist some voters. Some voters have been removed from the voters’ roll of a certain ward and moved to another ward which they do not reside in. BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi has admitted that there has been a problem regarding the voters’ rolls. He has however maintained that there is no animosity between Khama and Masisi.
He said that just like other former presidents, Khama contributes to the party in any way possible. He said comments that are being made would not derail the BDP Central Committee from delivering credible elections. He said as a party that has been in power for more than 50 years and has been delivering credible elections, they would not risk this time around to deliver compromised primary elections in the 40 constituencies. According to Balopi, Khama has a right to his opinion on how he sees things but as BDP they are prepared to win the 2019 general election with a convincing margin.
Balopi indicated that a meeting with the over 1000 candidates, central committee members, branch and regional leadership scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) in Palapye is expected to address all the issues including the issues of the primaries. He said expectation is that at the meeting the issue of hacking would have been handled and a new date of election communicated.
Botswana Democratic Party’s transition to the presidency has never ever been smooth.
It started after the demise of founding president, Sir Seretse Khama when tensions arose within the party with aspirants jostling and positioning themselves for the coveted post ahead of Sir Ketumile Masire.
Although the majority BDP-led parliament eventually chose Masire, the writing was clearly on the wall that the presidency was a source of division within the ruling party. Masire was deputised by Lenyeletse Seretse then Peter Mmusi and later Festus Mogae, who would eventually become the country’s third president in 1998.
But, once again that was not without infighting between the party’s Old Guard and Young Turks. Festus Mogae then brought in Khama from the army barracks to deputise him, again opening the wounds of factionalism. But Mogae insisted that Khama was a unifying factor that would heal the warring factions.
But there were dissenting voices. At the Palapye congress some wanted Khama to take the party chairmanship from Ponatshego Kedikilwe but he declined saying he wanted to understand the party first.
Mogae endorse Khama
But to the surprise of many, in 2003 Khama opted to take over from Kedikilwe without first having the courtesy to inform the very person who had offered the chair a few years ago. Instead it was first announced by Mogae who requested the Democrats to vote for Khama as the chairman of the party during the women’s congress in Mmadinare.
Kedikilwe did not take kindly to this as did many of his followers. Mogae defended his position by saying Khama is his vice and confidante and he was duty bound to support him in all his endeavours. Khama won the closely-contested elections in Gantsi.
Once again BDP infighting reared its ugly head when the party went for its 2008 congress in Kanye. At this conference Khama supported Tebelelo Seretse - Jacob Nkate group. But the group failed dismally and lost all positions to the Daniel Kwelagobe – Gomolemo Motswaledi group which was also known as Barata Phathi.
Seeing that he’d been beaten Khama pulled the carpet under the feet of the winning group by choosing all Sub-committees without consulting the central committee. The move caught Barata - Phati napping as they had expected to be called for a meeting.
That was the beginning of many differences. Motswaledi, then Secretary General, questioned many decisions and Khama suspended him for 60 days. He sought redress at the high court but the case was dismissed on a technicality because a sitting president enjoys immunity against prosecution.
The BDP feuding ultimately led to the party’s split and formation of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). Its MPs - Phillip Makgalemele, Patrick Masimolole, Guma Moyo, Botsalo Ntuane, Odirile Mothala, Gilbert Mangole and Wynter Mmolotsi resigned to join BMD.
But most of them later returned save for Mangole and Mmolotsi. By then Khama was too strong and he won the general election with a convincing margin of 38 parliamentary seats, but with a diminished popular vote.
The situation is completely different today.
Although currently in disarray, the opposition has proven that it can still win as they did with by-elections in Mochudi East, which were in the hands of BDP.
This poses real doubts about BDP’s ability to win 2019, that is unless they unite now.
This week’s bold decision to postpone Bulela- Ditswe primary elections in all BDP’s strongholds and constituencies where they are incumbent may have far-reaching implications.
Firstly, the Independent Electoral Commissions (IEC) has called voter registration for 3rd September until 11 November 2018 and due to the new amendment to the Electoral Act, there will not be supplementary registration as it has been the norm.
Political commentators say the idea of BDP having primary elections in August and, or before was to ensure that party candidates are identified and start mobilising voters to register for the election.
The BDP delay will disadvantage them as their ability to mobilise voters will be affected because they do not have candidates.
Secondly, delaying the primary elections in its key constituencies could prove detrimental for BDP as it runs the risk of failing to resolve the appeals and subsequent counselling that will arise from the primary elections.
Thirdly, next year will be a tight year with the main focus being general election which will be held sometime in October. But, serious focus for general election starts in February where attention switches from one elective congress.
The first congress is the Youth congress in February, then followed by the Women either in March or April, finally the main congress in July.
If the first two congresses could start before the party is done with its appeals then there will be disaster for the BDP because both the youth and the Women’s elective congresses always set the tone for the main congress in terms of who will win.
Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama has taken the war to his party - Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) - over the candidature of Moemedi Dijeng at his c onstituency.
Khama will be defending his seat to represent the BDP in Serowe West in the 2019 general election against Dijeng and former Member of Parliament for Gaborone North and cabinet member Keletso Rakhudu. Khama has engaged his lawyers- The Law Practice CJ Mazhinye, to challenge in court as a matter of urgency the way vetting was carried out, during which process, Dijeng was approved.
This comes after Khama had put forward demands under time frames for Dijeng to be disqualified. In a letter dated July 20th 2018 Khama gave BDP Central Committee three days to disqualify Dijeng. Failure by the party to act on the matter Khama said he would be left with no choice but to demand for the holding of Extra-ordinary meeting of the National Council within Seven (7) days of receipt of the letter.
Should this fail Khama posited that he would move an urgent application with the High Court to review Dijeng’s approval and interdict holding of primaries in the constituency. He advises the party through his lawyers to act on the matter to avoid litigation.
The letter, addressed to the party chairman Slumber Tsogwane who is also Vice President, states that, “it is the impropriety of the manner in which the approval of prospective candidates recommended by the Branch Committee in Serowe West Constituency was carried out by yourselves that has precipitated the delivery of this communication”.
Khama argues that Dijeng was once found to have contravened the BDP Code of Conduct. He stated in the letter that Dijeng’s candidacy has been approved “despite the fact that the Disciplinary Committee of the very same Central Committee had on the 12th of June 2018, found the said Dijeng guilty of contravening Clause 16 of the party’s Code of Conduct for candidates in primary election stemming from a complaint raised by the Central Region Committee; and despite the fact that the central committee knew or ought to have known of this ruling not only because, in terms of the party’s procedures, all findings of the disciplinary committee are forwarded to it but also that our client made the Central Committee aware of such a finding prior to the vetting process by handing copies of said Disciplinary Committee finding to both the party Secretary General and Chairperson.”
The lawyer indicates that it needs to be pointed out further, that of the many complaints raised by the Central Region Committee before the Disciplinary Committee was also the fact that the Serowe West Branch had been “captured and working in cahoots with said Dijeng” given the circumstances surrounding the incidents leading to the complaint filed.
According to the minister, the Central Committee cannot exercise its powers or and functions beyond that which is prescribed by the governing law of the party. In doing so, Khama said it would be acting without legal authority and any decision taken that lacks legal authority is illegal and is of no force and effect.
“Luckily, the immediate aforegoing position also presents the Central Committee with the perfect opportunity to make the correct decision given that the one purportedly made is an absolute invalidity and to be ignored. In the premises, you are accordingly requested to adhere to the dictates of the party’s regulations and disqualify Moemedi Dijeng from standing as a candidate.
“Should you be unwilling, or believe yourselves unable to do as requested, we have instructions to demand that you convene an extra-ordinary meeting of the National Council within seven (7) days of your receipt of this letter, in order for said Council to review your resolution to approve Dijeng as a candidate. The said Council being empowered to review the Central Committee resolution as per the party Constitution,” reads the letter.
Khama’s lawyers have argued that the decision to approve Dijeng is ultra-vires and invalid when tested against the fabric of the party
President of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando has warned lawyers who are members of his party against being involved in any of former President Ian Khama’s legal battle.
Khama is currently suing government for refusing to employ his long ally former Director of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Isaac Kgosi as his private secretary. Masisi fired Kgosi from his plum post a few days after he took over as head of state.
Khama submitted the names of Kgosi after his then private secretary Brigadier George Tlhalerwa retired from the public service.
Saleshando told the lawyers in a position paper that, if approached by Khama, any attorney who also serves in the BCP structures or has been confirmed as candidate for 2019 general election, should bear in mind that there is need to balance the professional duties with the interest of the organisation they freely and voluntarily chose to associate with. “Retired President Khama presided over a corrupt government that had minimal regard for civil liberties.
Representing a person who embodies all that which we oppose will rightfully earn us the label of hypocrites. Taking instructions from those who championed looting of public resources diminishes our moral authority to make any promise for a better Botswana.
“I therefore expect comrades who may be approached by retired president Khama, or any other prominent member of Botswana Democratic leadership, past or present to be guided by their conscience and stand firm in promotion of the values we collectively promote,” said the BCP leader.
Saleshando explained that this is not to suggest that representing BDP members is prohibited, but representing those who are the face of the ills the BCP have sought to defeat should not be entertained.
The priority of the BCP, according to Saleshando, is to ensure that all those who are alleged to have aided the spiraling corruption that has come to define the country should have their day in court.
“It should worry Batswana that President Masisi says he knows nothing about the Isaac Kgosi docket. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions as well as Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime are also allegedly claiming ignorance on the whereabouts of the docket. It must be noted that in a majority of high profile corruption cases, there has been no conviction at the courts. The BCP will seek the input of its lawyers on the Kgosi issue and work on ensuring that the ‘missing docket’ is located and acted upon accordingly,” he stated.
According to Saleshando chickens have now come home to roost for the BDP government. He said that in Khama the BDP has built a monster that knows no rules and respects no institution. Saleshando pointed out that President Masisi deferred key leadership tasks, such as Vision 2036 to the retired president, giving him the impression that they are co-presidents.
The BDP must be allowed the opportunity to reap what it has sown, he said. Saleshando posited that the mantra that Masisi ‘o baakanya lehatshe’ when he was in full support of all the Khama policies should not lead to innocent citizens exonerating him from the mess that the country finds itself.
Botswana National Front (BNF) Veterans Association has accused the party’s Central Committee of snubbing them.
The association Chairman Patrick Kgoadi said their report was not discussed during the Rakops conference. He said they had hoped that the Central Committee would have called them to a meeting through Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa where the report would be discussed. Kgoadi stated that the veterans have sought a meeting with the Central Committee since April 2018.
“The veterans seek advice and clarification on central committee’s failure to hold meetings. The Executive Committee which runs the affairs of the Central Committee between scheduled meetings of the Central Committee and the Central Committee which runs the BNF between Congresses and Conferences has been failing to meet. As the veterans we demand explanation,” said Kgoadi.
He indicated that in the build-up to the conference, BNF President Advocate Duma Boko wrote letters dated 17th May 2018 to the Regions for them to submit reports, a duty he said falls under secretary general’s office. He questioned if this means Mohwasa is failing his office and if so has the party leadership reprimanded him.
“On the issue regarding the Treasurer General’s office, funds to finance the Rakops 2018 Conference and buses have been reported to be paid for by the President. Is there a change of policy of the BNF that all activities would be financed by the President in his personal capacity or by the BNF?
“How much has been expended. Has the Central Committee sanctioned such activity of funding BNF activities?” asked Kgoadi adding that they want answers from the leadership.
The veterans are this weekend meeting in Kanye to mobilise members. Kgoadi revealed that they are mobilising members in all the regions. He said hey want BNF veterans to be part of the veterans’ association.
He indicated that at the meeting they would also discuss status of the BNF and the developments in the UDC. BNF veterans have been calling on the BNF to leave the UDC and start talks with other political movements and unions.
The veteran association was formed through a resolution during a BNF Conference in Mahalapye in 2001. It was recognized as one of the party’s organs in Mahalapye recently. The association is the only BNF structure that has called on the party to leave UDC.
BNF Information and Publicity Secretary Justin Hunyepa said there is no may the Central Committee would refuse to meet an auxiliary body of the party. He said the issues that the veterans want discussed with the central committee could have been discussed during the party’s last month conference in Rakops.
“Veterans as an auxiliary body just like Youth League and Women’s League were at the conference. They were participating in the three commissions where issues were discussed.
They could have raised those issues during the commission for discussions,” said Hunyepa advising the veterans to follow-up with the party’s secretary general if they have any other outstanding issues.
Hunyepa said being the elders of the party the veterans are supposed to know the procedure within the BNF.