Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) founding Patron former President Dr Ian Khama has expressed worry that the ruling party might postpone this year’s general election.BPF is a breakaway party from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
This past weekend the BPF converged in Palapye to usher in a new leadership. The elective congress which attracted multitudes of members and well wishers ended with a star rally where Khama said his suspicions are that the BDP under President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is not ready for this year’s general election. He said the current BDP is different from the old one founded by his father and other democrats. He rubbished claims that Dr Masisi’s life is under threat.
There have been claims especially from Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) that the life of the president is under serious threat. Director General Peter Magosi told the media recently that security dynamics in the country have changed. He said there are two centres of power in the country and third forces with interest in the country are being used to destabilise the country.
However, Dr Khama is not buying any of that. “They say me and former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi are staging a coup. They say we want to kill the president and all of this is not true. “We have not crossed the border to plan anything. If it is true why are they not contacting their counterparts in South Africa and have those involved get arrested?
“We know they are saying all of this because they do not want elections,” said the former president who revealed that they have people within government who are their eyes and ears and leak such information to them.The BPF Patron said what will happen is that Dr Masisi will call a state of emergency so that there would not be elections this year. He said claims pertaining to the killing of the president and the coup are just a political stunt to build a case to call for state of emergency and postpone the general election expected in two months’ time.
According to Khama this is because the BDP has realised that it would not retain power this time around. He told the rally that opposition specifically Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), will assume power come October with the help of the BPF. The BPF has said it would be supporting the UDC where it (BPF) would not be fielding candidates. The party has beginning this week opened up for members interested for contesting for political office to express their interest through the Secretary General’s office.
Members of the newly-formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will hold a meeting tomorrow (Saturday) at Tsholofelo Community Hall in Gaborone to discuss the future of the party. This is the BPF’s - a breakaway party from ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) - first meeting since its founders announced their decision to dump the BDP.
The party also has the blessing of former President Dr Ian Khama who has since also dumped the BDP. Dr Khama has told international media that where possible he will be giving support to BPF. Information gathered by this publication is that the weekend meeting will discuss the party slogan, colours, constitution and special congress at which an interim committee will be elected. It is alleged that a copy of the draft constitution has been shared with party members across the country for perusal and input before a final draft is sent to Registrar of Societies sometimes next week.
Some key players in the formation of the party who have not yet been revealed are expected to also be unveiled at the meeting some of which are said to have been long serving members of the BDP especially at Tsholetsa house. According to sources each constituency is expected to send two representatives to the meeting. While there are claims that the new party would dent the BDP’s fortunes in this year’s national polls, the ruling party has since pointed out that it is more organised and united to retain power.
The BPF is made up of mostly supporters of Dr Khama and those who rallied behind Member of Parliament for Serowe South and former cabinet member Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi when she challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency.
Dr Venson-Moitoi pulled out from the race at the last minute in Kang indicating that the elections would not be free and fair and she was not ready to legitimise them by taking part. This week Dr Masisi told Batswana leaving in the United States of America that it is unfortunate that they have lost the former president but all they have to do is move forward. He explained that it was not an avoidable situation and they have to live with it. The president stated that the political cost of retaining Dr Khama was not the cost he (Dr Masisi) was willing to take to the BDP.
Contacted on Wednesday this week BPF Convener Biggie Butale confirmed the meeting. He stated that they are expecting a minimum of two representatives from each of the 57 constituencies. Butale stated that the meeting will discuss the constitution, slogan, colours and registration. He said a congress would be held about two to three weeks after the weekend meeting to elect an interim committee of the party. According to the convener, a former Health assistant minister who was suspended from the BDP before dumping the party, BPF has received overwhelming support across the country than they expected.
He said the BDP is in denial by believing that BPF would not make an impact. “There are two things to be considered here. It is either by targeting key members of the party by Dr Masisi in the central district where the party is a strong hold was a political brilliance.
“Number two if not then, it means it is the opposite of political brilliance and will leave that for the polls to decide. I am disappointed by the president that after having created this mess he went on record to state that if the party loses general elections, he would then quit the presidency.
“He is already conceding. I thought what he was doing was about principle and doing things right for the benefit of the party. Now who is supposed to inherit the mess by someone who cannot stand it after general elections? “If they do not believe that we can make such an impact then let us wait for Election Day,” Butale who is also MP for Tati West revealed.
Former Members of Parliament have blasted former head of state Dr. Ian Khama accusing him of dividing the nation. The former MPs made a resolution during their Annual General Meeting on the 11th of this month during The Association of Former Members of the Botswana Parliament to condemn Dr Khama.
According to the former MPs there is national instability and anxiety created by the Former President emanating from his unfounded appeal for sympathy from across the nation. “We observe with regret that his sympathy seeking antics are fast turning into promotion of regionalism and tribalism. “Our collective view is that the Former President’s actions and utterances are uncalled for and must be rejected by all those who live in this beautiful country if we are to preserve our national peace and tranquility that we have enjoyed over the years and have become the envy of many a nation,” the MPs said.
The association was established on the 24th September 2018 under Section 6 (1) of the Registration of Societies Regulations of the Societies Act. It is a non-profit making and independent organisation whose membership is drawn from former members of the Botswana Parliament from various political parties. According to the association what Dr Khama is doing presents grave risk to the stability of the nation and its core values and principles.
The Association further called upon the Former President to desist from his divisive gatherings and statements and play his role as a statesman who has enjoyed the support and recognition of Batswana during his term of office. “Our plea is informed by the diligent job our other former Presidents did in their retirement. They did not only subordinate themselves and allowed space for their successors to run the affairs of the nation but also became ambassadors of Botswana across the globe through their noble peace-making efforts.
“We believe this immediate past Former President must do the same,” argues the association. The former MPs are further disturbed by the level of corruption which they say happened in the past ten (10) years. Dr Khama was the president of the country in the past ten (10) years.
The Association says like the nation at large it is alarmed by the high levels of corruption in the economy that is being reported in the media. Incidences of corruption according to the former MPs seems to have literally spiraled out of control during the past ten years.
“To this end, we call upon Batswana to embrace the fight against corruption in all its forms across the economy”.
The Association says its objectives are among others, to provide collective opinions or pronouncements on matters of national interest and importance and to advise Government, the nation at large or any other institution on any matter that may be within its competence.
Former president, Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama said the current head of state betrayed his trust as he thought he chose the future president of this country who was very intelligent and an expert in governance.
He expressed the concern in an interview with this publication after a caucus meeting with BDP councillors in Serowe on Thursday at Central District Council Chambers, where he was accompanied by Presidential candidate, Dr. Pelonomi Venson Moitoi. He described Masisi’s administration as dictatorship which undermined the rule of law for personal benefit.
He warned that if Batswana are not vigilant the country will plunge into turmoil like it is in other countries. Khama says nowadays Batswana are living in fear and are no longer free because of the Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS). The feud between Masisi and his predecessor which is believed to be breaking BDP apart, Khama says, is fueled by Mpho Balopi’s (BDP secretary general) leadership who is favouring one candidate over the other.
Suspended Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) member, Tshepang Mabaila says he was not under any pressure to withdraw his candidacy as an Independent Candidate for Mogoditshane Constituency.
Mabaila was last year slapped with a five (5) year suspension for bringing the name of the party into disrepute. He appealed the decision of the Disciplinary Committee to party President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, an appeal which was dismissed. Mabaila then announced that he would be contesting this year’s general election as an independent candidate and registered with Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Last week Mabaila a close associate of former President Dr. Ian Khama who is currently involved in a standoff with the current president, revealed that he is withdrawing his candidacy. In response to enquiries about his withdrawal, Mabaila said he was not under any pressure to chicken out.
There has been claims that Mabaila decided to change his mind because of allegations of a forgery case where he is being investigated for allegedly having forged his academic qualifications. He was also said to be on the list of the taxman for tax evasion.“I am not under any pressure to withdraw. I am doing this for the BDP because I am a BDP member and I want what is best for the BDP. Regarding the issue of forgery, I can tell you that there is nothing like that.
I never forged any document. It is an issue of accreditation. There is a university called Belford in the United Kingdom and that is where I was doing my degree. I do not know why people are making noise about the issue of a fake certificate. There was nothing I could do and that same qualification I enrolled for my Masters in Degree with and there was nothing wrong, but since it emerged that there is an issue of accreditation, I stopped my studies and enrolled at Boitekanelo.
I did my four-year degree in Bachelor of Arts in Counselling, so I cannot be under pressure over something I know is not an issue,” he revealed. He told a press conference in Gaborone that the tax issue is for anyone who is not paying tax. He posited that anyone who is not complying would obviously have BURS knocking at his or her door.
According to Mabaila he would not say he is being targeted and therefore has to make a coverup by pleasing the current administration by withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Mabaila to contest as an independent candidate was seen as a move that is highly likely to dent the BDP performance in Mogoditshane Constituency.
The constituency is currently held by opposition- Alliance for Progressives (AP). Mabaila last year stirred controversy when he was alleged to have been part of the team that orchestrated a motion of no confidence against President Dr Masisi. He also offered to broker peace between Dr Masisi and former President something which is said to have earned him the dismissal of suspension appeal.
Khama: “Although recent events show that the United Kingdom is struggling a bit with that unity as a result of recent referendum, one thing I think we can learn in our Union- the African Union, is that the governments and parliaments on this continent should always consult our citizens on key issues of our sovereignty, whether they be immigration, free movements across the border, single currencies and the autonomy of our legal entity. It is very important as we were discussing coming here that we do that. I think we can learn no lesson on how to run a referendum, particularly as we were discussing. I hope the British High Commissioner is not here.
We have a situation in the UK recently where you can have the prime minister passionately trying to sell the UK to remain in the EU and then you have some of his ministers joining the opposition to say let us leave the EU. It is something we have not yet come to understand. Of course at our independence we tried to borrow a lot from the Westminster system, but obviously it has moved on because apparently they are doing things differently and maybe we need to go and benchmark how they are doing things now.”
Kenyatta: “I want to concur with my friend (Khama) to say that we have more that we can learn from each other, today we share much more in common because if we look at our historical past as we share a common colonial history, we were once told the sun never set on the British empire. But today, it looks like the sun is setting on the British isles. As Africans we need to ask ourselves if we want to ensure the sun never sets on Africa, what can we learn from each other so that we can pull on our respective strength to keep the hopes and dreams of our children alive, while at the same time respecting the sovereignty of our nations, but accepting that there are some areas where me must work in close collaboration in order to secure a common future for all of us.”
Kenyatta: “Both of our countries hold our wildlife in high regard and we have often stood together in conservation efforts including at the giant club earlier in Nairobi, and indeed we share many ideals. We are adamantly opposed to alcoholism and committed to curbing this. We have a stronger and more resilient relationship between our two countries and our people.”
Khama: “It is worth noting that both our Governments attach a lot of importance to wildlife conservation and management. In view of the enormous potential that this natural resource has in contributing to the growth of our respective economies, we need to do all in our power to ensure its preservation and sustenance for present and future generations. It is, however, disturbing that incidences of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife seem to be increasing on the continent.”
Addressing Kenyatta, Khama further said he was pleased that in Kenyatta’s delegation there were members of the Kenyan business community. “I am therefore confident that the Botswana-Kenya Business Seminar that you are scheduled to officiate tomorrow will provide an invaluable opportunity for our business community to further engage and build on the momentum that has been gained to further strengthen investment and trade relations between our two countries”.
Sons of former presidents
Khama: “I should perhaps also indicate that we share some common denominators, in that we are both the 4th Presidents of our respective Republics. We are also sons of the founder Presidents of our countries.”
Peace and security
Khama told Kenyatta that another notable challenge which continues to elude a number of African countries relates to the maintenance of peace and security. “As a result, many of our people still suffer unjustly in a continent that is endowed with immense natural wealth.
Whilst conflicts in some African countries remain unabated, I wish to commend your leadership and the tireless efforts of your Government to restore peace and stability in Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan”.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) will hold a commissioning parade for 17 special Entrant Officer Cadets this Friday at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks in Mogoditshane.
The Special Entrant Officers programme was recently introduced in the BDF to address the skills gap existing within the organisation. A press release from the BDF this week stated that through the programme the organisation will be able to attract and retain well-experienced professionals from different fields.
“This exercise targets professionals in the form of medical doctors, dentists physiotherapists, pharmacists, radiologists, nurses, clinical psychologists, Bio medical engineers, environmental health officers, veterinary officers lawyers and chaplains,” said Deputy Lt Colonel Machola, Deputy director of Protocol and Public affairs through a statement.
President Dr Ian Khama is expected to bestow a Presidential commission on the graduates that include 12 male and 5 female special entrant officers.
Host President Lt. Gen. Dr Ian Khama has one thing in common with his guest, Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on a three-day state visit beginning this week Monday until Wednesday.
Both men are sons of founding presidents of their respective countries! Sir Seretse Khama led Botswana to a relatively quiet and peaceful independence transition in September 30, 1966 whilst Jomo Kenyatta (Burning Spear) sauntered from gaol, in 1961 to ascend the country’s exalted position as Prime Minister on Independence Day December 12, 1963 in the wake of the Kikuyu-led Mau Mau rebellions that forced the British into submission.
President Uhuru jetted into Gaborone this morning landing at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport just after 11 AM where he was met by his host, Ian Khama. Like Botswana, Kenya’s international airport is named after its founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, Uhuru’s father. Both Ian and Uhuru spent some considerable time during their youthful days in Europe either studying or living with parents.
Uhuru joined President Khama for a state luncheon at GICC Monday afternoon after which both men were locked in official talks at the Office of the President, which most certainly revolved around improving trade and commercial relations between the two countries as well as the contentious political issue of International Criminal Court (ICC) in which they are diametrically opposed. The occasion also gave Khama an opportunity to lobby Kenyatta to rally behind Southern Africa’s candidate for Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who is Botswana’s foreign minister at next month’s election during the AU Summit of Heads of State and Government in Kigali, Rwanda.
Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open Botswana-Kenya Business Seminar at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) in the morning in a speech that will urge and call for stronger private sector investments between the two nations. Kenya is the seat of the East African Community whilst Botswana hosts the Southern African Development Community’s headquarters and both regional economic communities have together with the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) initiated a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) whose talks are scheduled to start in earnest next year.
Sadly, trade between Botswana and Kenya or between east Africa and southern Africa is low. Kenya ‘s exports to Europe and the rest of the world include cut flowers, fresh produce such as mangoes, pineapples and avocados and it also exports black tea and coffee among others, while Botswana is renowned for her diamond and beef exports. Kenyatta is expected to seek support from Botswana, which is the current Chairperson of SADC as it prepares to host the 6th and first-ever Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi from August 27-28th. TICAD is Japan’s multilateral framework for the advancement of Africa, crafted during the height of donor fatigue at the dawn of the 21st Century.
Kenyatta, who is accompanied by his wife, Margaret and senior state officials will wrap his Tuesday programme with a tour of the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) in Gaborone and finish off with a tour of Orapa Mine. He will return home Wednesday at 10 AM according to an official schedule circulated by the foreign affairs ministry. Late May this year, Kenyatta played host to South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, who is also the daughter of South Korea’s former president, Park Chung-Hee, who ascended to power via a military coup in 1961. International media reports say she served as her father's first lady during the 1970s after her mother's assassination in 1974.
Ian Khama served as the youngest Brigadier (24 years) in the military service under his father and later ascended to Commander of the Botswana Defence Force under President Sir Ktumile Masire and is now Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces.