Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Is Khama privy to Boko and Moti’s plan to take over Botswana and Zimbabwe?

Self-exiled Zimbabwean G40 kingpin Professor Jonathan Moyo and MDC-ALLIANCE leader Nelson Chamisa are banking on former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s supporters in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to force President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s hand in their favour for proposed dialogue with Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa.

The information is another building block in the scanty, but growing body of evidence that Khama may be privy to controversial South African businessmen, Zunaid Moti’s plan to take over Botswana and Zimbabwe.

The two Zimbabwean opposition leaders have allegedly written a letter to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and selected SADC leaders asking them to push for exclusive dialogue between President Mnangagwa and Chamisa, outside the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad).

The letter dubbed “Open Letter to President Ramaphosa” was not sent through official channels, but has been distributed to five newspapers, among them the Sunday Times for publication on Sunday, Kenyan sources said.

President Ramaphosa is especially targeted since he is taking over the African Union chairmanship in January next year.

“Chamisa and Moyo have agreed that they would not send the letter to the Presidents of Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Angola, claiming that ‘the regimes in these countries are as repressive as Zimbabwe.’

“Although they initially wanted to exclude President Masisi from the list of recipients of the letter, Chamisa assured Moyo that the Khama remnants in the BDP would be in a position to push Botswana towards a more friendly posture.”

Chamisa is close to Umbrella for Democratic Change President, Duma Boko who has a working relationship with Khama and his Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).

Chamisa and Boko are part of controversial South African businessman Zunaid Moti’s campaign to capture Botswana and Zimbabwe. Unconfirmed reports claim that BPF President Biggie Butale was waylaid by the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services after they were tipped off that he would be smuggling sponsorship money from Moti into Botswana.

Butale and his wife were arrested at the Ramotswa border-gate after failing to declare more than R 40 000 00 they had on them. Besides speculations, there is so far no confirmed report that both Khama and Butale are part of Moti’s plan to take over Botswana and Zimbabwe.

In the run up to Botswana’s general elections, the social media circulated audio recordings in which the shady investor revealed his plan to “takeover Botswana and Zimbabwe”.

With Boko at his back and call, the dubious South African entrepreneur had his eyes fixed on Chamisa and his deputy Tendai Biti in Zimbabwe.

Moti plan to have both Chamisa and Biti attend Boko’s elections official launch in Gaborone was however scuttled at the 11th hour after the audio tape was leaked.

According to the tape, Boko was to be joined last month by Chamisa and Biti in Johannesburg to discuss the Botswana/Zimbabwe “take over” plan. Indications are that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando now Leader of Opposition who was also flown to Johannesburg on the day of the meeting for mediation with Boko by Moti was closed out of the takeover plenary meeting.

Information from the audio tapes suggested that Boko had already bought into Moti’s Botswana/Zimbabwe takeover plan and even pitched a sale to his MDC counterpart Chamisa before their scheduled meeting with Moti.

The tape further reveals that Moti is still smarting from the US$ 300 million loss he suffered in Zimbabwe after backing the country’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga who have now ditched him.

Moti’s African Chrome Fields in Zimbabwe has shut down all but one plant and retrenched hundreds of workers. At its peak, African Chrome Fields boasted that it was Zimbabwe’s biggest exporter of chromium, employing 1,600 workers with an output of 30,000 tonnes annually. Over a thousand workers have been retrenched or left, turning the US$250 million investment into a white elephant. Moti who has now switched to courting the MDC hopes Biti and Chamisa will help improve his fortunes in Zimbabwe.

This is how Open Source Investigations describe the dubious South African businessman: Moti is no stranger to controversies – the mining tycoon has been charged with involvement in a murder plot after a businessman survived a car ambush and he was featured on the Interpol’s most wanted list after a dispute with a Russian businessman over a pink diamond worth 2.5 billion.

Even though he is no longer on the Interpol list and his first charge was cleared as the South African prosecution found no evidence, Mr. Moti still remains a controversial figure.

The car-loving businessman has been engulfed in a string of “weird” acquisitions, like the controversial illegal transfer of 33 tracts of prime land owned by the city of Johannesburg, and the speed in which he changes ownership of his enterprises is truly astounding – according to the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office, he owns more than 204 listed enterprises which deal with property, consulting, jewellery and mining. But what Mr. Moti wouldn’t like the public to know is the fact that most of his enterprises have an abysmal financial track record, making headlines after headlines for their bad debt.

“Chamisa and Moyo were advised by US officials to embark on a diplomatic offensive against the rising anti sanctions sentiments, ahead of the AU Summit in January 2020,’’ said the sources.

However, the initiative is unlikely to succeed as African countries are convinced that the sanctions are not justified.

MDC secretary-general Mr Charlton Hwende said last week; “My president Chamisa is very clear in engaging SADC leaders to mediate between Zanu-PF and MDC-A.

‘There is need for dialogue between the two major political parties in Zimbabwe to take the country forward.”

Analysts and political leaders have criticised the MDC-A leader for continuing to insist on dialogue between President Mnangagwa and himself outside POLAD.

Recently, Chamisa approached bishop of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Nehemiah Mutendi to facilitate dialogue with President Mnangagwa.

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku said if the MDC-A was serious about dialogue with Zanu-PF, it should do so through Polad.

“Polad provides that platform where two political parties can discuss certain issues without the involvement of other players.

“MDC-A should realise that they are the only party missing from the framework.

“They are welcome to join us. Sadc recognises Polad and so who are they to condemn the platform.

“This country does not belong to ZANU-PF and MDC-A only, other parties constitute almost five percent, which is a big number,” said Professor Madhuku

Political analyst Mr Tafadzwa Mugwadi said it was interesting that Chamisa was pushing for a parallel process that excluded other players at a time when the Polad platform had been endorsed by progressive forces.

“That only serves to show that he is aware that he is fast losing relevance even among his kingmakers in the vanguard. He should sort out his own problem than hiding behind the excuse of bilateral discussions with President Mnangagwa,” he said.

MDC-T vice president Obert Gutu said MDC-A should appreciate the efforts of local co-conveners of Polad led by retired Justice Selo Nare from the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and Mrs Margaret Sangarwe from the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to initiate the dialogue process.

“These two individuals are not only proud Zimbabweans; they are also people of impeccable integrity and credentials.

“This attitude of always wanting and preferring foreign things at the expense of our own home-grown solutions and ideas is clearly indicative of low self-esteem and self-hate. Dreaming of a foreign convenor to chair Polad is like experiencing a torrid and horrible nightmare.

“That is not going to happen. Zimbabweans will manage dialogue amongst themselves.

“They don’t need a foreigner to handle their dialogue,” said Mr Gutu.

Professor Richard Chinomona said Zimbabwe needed every patriotic citizen to contribute the best of his or her ability towards rebuilding the nation.

“The dialogue process should be done in the spirit of love for our country that should take precedence over our own personal political, economic or other ambitions.

“There should be no special treatment for certain individuals or groups.

“These platforms could be political such as Polad, churches and business among other platforms,” he said.

Professor Chinomona said Government should put together all these views and concretise them into policies, programmes and activities that promote peace, stability and prosperity for the common good of all.

“I think it is myopic for any one individual or group of individuals to think that they hold the keys to Zimbabwe’s economic challenges,” he said

Polad member, Rebuild Party of Zimbabwe leader Reverent Everesto Chikanga said MDC-A should not use Polad as a sticking point for dialogue with Zanu-PF.

“President Mnangagwa is everyone’s President. Chamisa is free to engage President Mnangagwa, but he should recognise him as the President of Zimbabwe first. If we are looking for a national dialogue that will take our country forward, Polad is the only platform.

“It has already been endorsed by the international community, including Sadc and the AU among others. President Mnangagwa is saying everyone should join Polad.

“If he is serious about dialogue, Chamisa should do so,” said Rev Chikanga.


Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.