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LIES AND DECEIT

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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CENTRE OF THE STORM: Tsholofelo Hall

Following the much publicised narrative that the newly-formed Botswana Patriotic Front(BPF) was barred from using Tsholofelo Hall for their meeting on Saturday, it has emerged that actually the party never made a booking to use the facility.

If anything, according to gathered information, the Gaborone City Council (GCC) employees were misled by the person who booked the hall earlier last week.  The hall was purpotedly booked for use by the BPF but mysteriously shut down on Saturday morning when the party’s meeting was due to start. Curiously, Maharaja Conference Centre was immediately available for use by the BPF.

It is not clear who exactly booked the hall, the official response is that a lady who only identified herself as Disoso – her real name known to this publication – approached the City Council to make the booking. But BPF Convener and Member of Parliament for Tati West Biggie Butale says the hall was booked on Monday and paid for by their member on Tuesday. Asked to say who paid, he said:
“I think it was our Roselyn Panzirah who went to pay, the revenue officer did not ask her what kind of a meeting it will be, and she too did not tell them what kind of meeting it would be,” he said.
Butale adds that they did not experience any problems until Friday evening when the City Clerk, Lebuile Israel called Panzirah enquiring if it was true the BPF had booked the hall and what they were going to use it for.

This is because, according to Israel in a separate interview with The Midweek Sun, there was no written information on the City Council records suggesting that the BPF had booked the hall for Saturday. The City Clerk says he was only prompted to ask when on Friday evening he saw announcements and invitations on social media saying Tsholofelo Hall, a facility under his care, would host the first meeting of the BPF on that Saturday, when the City Council had no such record supporting the booking – hence his call to the party officials to enquire.

Israel says the booking record they had for a Saturday morning meeting on June 8, which was also paid for and receipted, was by an individual who had given the impression it would be for a small private gathering, not a political party meeting. There was not even any mention of BPF on the booking and receipt book. It is because of this false information that the City Council Management then called the BPF convenors to tell them that they would not be allowed to use the hall as the right procedure was not followed.

He said by law, where “political parties make requests for use of community halls, there is need for submission of a permit issued by the Botswana Police Service which will inform the Department responsible for bookings of these facilities, of the nature of the meeting to be held as the Public Order Act Chapter 22:03 states.” Such police permit was not availed. The order states that any person who wishes to convene a public meeting or to form a public procession within a controlled area shall first make an application to the regulating officer of the area concerned. This procedure, according to Israel, was flouted.

However, Butale gave a different version, saying the City Clerk asked if Ian Khama would be there, and that if so, they would not be allowed to use the hall. Asked to clarify further, Butale could only say to this reporter, “O motona o itse se ke se rayang.” (You are an elder you know what I mean.) He said this led to Panzirah calling the Mayor, Kagiso Thutlwe, who told “us that there is no such policy and gave us the go ahead to use the hall.”

Butale said on the strength of the mayor’s confirmation they then went to clean the hall and arranged the seating arrangements only to return in the morning to find the placed locked down. Butale said they had to move to Maharaja where they immediately started their gathering. He could not field more questions as he said he was going into a meeting with H.E. (former president Ian Khama) and promised to call back.

Curiously, yesterday Mayor Thutlwe and Israel co-authored a statement in which they clarified that they only got to be aware on Friday evening after working hours that the said booking was for a political gathering, and that it had not met set requirements as proper procedure was overlooked. According to the response, these requirements are for purposes of ensuring that government procedures are followed especially in terms of security provision.

Responding to claims that the City Clerk was acting on instruction not to allow the BPF access to the community hall, the GCC responded: “We wish to reiterate that the Town Clerk did not act on any instruction but rather in accordance with procedure as per the Public Order Act Chapter 22:03 cited above.”

Regarding the statement that certain individuals were denied entry into Block 6 Park, GCC clarified that the park booking “was never made and this was confirmed by the area Councillor.” GCC said that all Batswana citizens and any other persons requesting to access and use its facilities including community halls are allowed to do so for as long as the right processes and procedures have been followed, reads the statement co-authored by the Mayor and the City Clerk.

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I broke the law in good faith – Moswaane

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YES I ERRED: Ignatius Moswaane is weary of some within his party, BDP.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane, has his electorates behind him. The maverick MP has recently found himself on the wrong side of the law after circulating a graphic video clip on social media depicting a woman in South Africa being brutally knifed to death.

At a consultative meeting with his constituents at the Leseding Hall on Saturday, he explained that his action was done in good faith. “I am a member of the SADC committee that deals with issues of abuse and harassment relating to women and children. I shared the video on facebook with our parliamentary group. This was to bring about awareness amongst ourselves on gender violence and brutality against women,” he said to the bemused audience. Moswaane, who admitted that he broke the law, swears that, the video was leaked deliberately by his enemies in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to put him into trouble with the law and jeopardise his political career.

The outspoken legislator claimed that when he shared a similar video of an unnamed country in the past, he achieved the desired results because the SADC committee he is a member of, took up the matter and an investigation was made. According to recent media reports, the MP has been viewed with suspicion of disloyalty to President Mokweetsi Masisi given the ongoing feud the state president has with his predecessor Ian Khama. Those looking at him with suspicion have suggested that he was loyal to Khama who is leading a crusade to topple Masisi from power at the general elections this year.

According to Moswaane, some with vested interests in the BDP want him out of the race for Francistown West constituency so that their preferred candidate may contest in his place. “I do not think it is the party. Maybe it is just some individuals in a faction within the party.” After the video was leaked, BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi issued a statement expressing dismay at the circulating video.

The MP however, does not see the video clip incident in isolation. He is convinced that considering his motive of sensitising people of the brutal act, he should have been warned instead of being arrested and his cell phone taken away from him. “It is clear that DIS is looking for something else in my cell phone which has got nothing to do with the video,” said Moswaane who accused the spy agency, DIS and his political opponents in the BDP of working against him. During question and comments time, a woman who introduced herself only as Senjoba, called for financial support for Moswaane should he need the services of a lawyer.

Another speaker, Moalosi said that what was happening to the MP was an indication that no one is safe. “The opposition has always said that DIS is used for witch-hunting. It shows we are also not protected,” he said. Olebile Motsamai called on the people to protect their MP. “As the electorate, you know what to do to end these things,” said Motsamai. The legislator

recounted a number of instances where some of his constituents have come to confess to him that DIS had offered them money to help frame him but they refused. This is not the first time that the MP has accused DIS of being used for political ends. The head of the spy agency, Peter Magosi has, in the past, rubbished Moswaane’s claims that he is being followed.

Moswaane’s collision with the BDP leadership is not new as he has also clashed with the leadership of former president Khama. In 2009 Moswaane contested and won Monarch south ward as an independent candidate after rejecting the primary election results which he found controversial.

In 2013 he and the BDP were disqualified from contesting a by-election by the Independent Electoral Commission. This was after the party had neglected to hear Whyte Marobela who had challenged the primary election results involving himself and Moswaane.

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BEWARE THE BPF

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NOT TRUSTED: The BNF veterans body does not trust anything with BDP roots

Botswana National Front (BNF) Veterans Association is cautioning the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to “tread carefully” regarding a possible working relationship with newly-formed Botswana Patrictic Front (BPF).

“UDC has to tread carefully because BDP never changes and the opposition never learns,” said the Association’s Chairman Patrick Kgoadi ahead of their meeting this weekend.The BPF is the latest breakaway offspring of the ruling party and is backed by a number of former BDP’s disgruntled members among them former president Ian Khama, former minister Biggie Butale and Tati East MP Guma Moyo. At a recent meeting in Serowe, Khama confirmed the membership of Moyo while over this past weekend, Butale insinuated that former minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was also a member of the new party.

Kgoadi said even though it might be seen to be a good thing to work with BPF, the opposition should vigorously scrutinise the party and its intended purpose as the relationship could backfire and cost the opposition victory in the national polls. The purpose of the Saturday meeting is to discuss the collapsed structures of BNF, preparations for 2019 general elections, developments at UDC and formation of new party BPF.

According to Kgoadi, they have observed that the BNF structures are not as active as they should be especially during the election year.“Our structures used to be more active on election year. This year things are just blurry and this is worrisome. Even at UDC level BNF should be playing a leading role not only in the presidency but across the country. “We always have to be taking a leading role as a party that plays a significant role in uniting opposition parties.

“So as veterans we would be discussing these issues and how we could advise both the BNF and UDC leadership,” said Kgoadi. The veterans have since the formation of the association been at loggerheads with the BNF Central Committee on how things are run both at the BNF and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The veterans have thus been accused by the party leadership of always blowing things out of proportion and failing to use proper party channels when discussing internal matters.

BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa has on several occasions pointed out that the veterans have served the party for long and should know processes and procedures to be followed when addressing internal matters. He expressed concern that the veterans always use channels that are not sanctioned by the party and its constitution. Kgoadi said the BNF central committee has for long been disingenuous and refused to meet them since 2017.

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