Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Live and Let Live – A Rejoinder to “Adam Phetlhe”

FACT: Some naturalised citizens have a choice of relocating back to their countries of origin. Indigenous Batswana don’t have that luxury.
Two weeks ago I wrote an article which was thankfully published by The Telegraph newspaper. The article was about my position regarding protection of indigenous entrepreneur citizens vs naturalised entrepreneur citizens, especially when the matter is a clear exercise of monopoly tendencies.
I stand my ground. My position is crystal clear, not xenophobic, not hateful, nor racist. 

I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. No more..No Less.

Take it or leave it.
Government has a compulsory obligation to empower all citizens.

But still it is important not to forget that some citizens are more equal than others as they have elsewhere to go in the event of hard times.

These are naturalised citizens.

Indigenous Batswana don’t have that privilege.
It’s about time we do things differently. And for saying this, I do not owe anyone an apology. I will not even apologise to a certain “Adam Phetlhe” – a coward hiding behind some false names who in responding to me chose to do so through the Gazette newspaper and not the paper I had used.

I wonder how a person hiding their true identity was given an opportunity to rebut an article published by The Telegraph newspaper through a newspaper that had declined to publish it in the first place….! But that is an issue for media ethics. I leave it to those who are in the journalism profession.
As indigenous citizens we have to learn to protect our own.

We cannot be spectators in our own economy. We must NOT settle for crumbs anymore and be perpetually at the back of the cue.
In the said article I stated without fear nor favour that the likes of Mr Mehdi Jamali, an Iranian born property mogul, now a naturalised citizen of Botswana have been fully supported by government but yet do not want indigenous Batswana to benefit from this same government.

I also said the same applied to and the owners of Moghul Catering services.

That is evidenced by their recent seeking of court interventions when indigenous Batswana had won tenders and/or whenever indigenous citizens are preferred over them.
To the best of my knowledge, no indigenous Motswana has ever contested a decision that was taken in favour of Varsha Enterprises, owned by Jamali.

I am not aware of any indigenous owned citizen company that has contested against Moghul Catering Services benefitting from Government over the years.

For them winning tenders and Batswana never contesting, it seems like they now believe it is their birth right to monopolise such tenders.
It is a fact that Mr Ishmael Nshakazhogwe of the new Zambezi Towers building in the CBD and the Directors of Boitekanelo Catering Services have only Botswana and no other country they can call home. It is also a known fact that; “Goora motho go thebe phatshwa”……meaning, Mr Mehdi Jamali has one leg in Botswana and the other in Iran. The man has a choice to retrace his footsteps back home. The same applies to the owners of Moghul Catering services.
Because of the entitlement attitude that has been planted into the minds of some individuals in Botswana who have benefited through white collar crimes, it has now become an insult for them to be challenged.
It is sad that a minority wants to own and control the economy, whilst other players in the economy remain disadvantaged. Sadly, such a minority have some individuals who will do anything to defend inequality just because they depend on kickbacks from those who are benefiting unfairly.
By rushing to the courts, clearly Varsha Enterprises, through its owner Mr Mehdi Jamali must have known that their building would not pass the tender evaluation stage. This is confirmed by the facts before court.
Clearly, “Adam Phetlhe”, whose true identities I know chose to ignore these facts:

1) “The court’s decision to award the tender to Jamali by-passes all evaluation stages that the PPADB was still to go through at the time Jamali took the dispute to court.”

2) “Three government departments which are tenants at businessman Jamali’s building which is at the centre of a legal dispute are unhappy with the building.”

3) “Technical inspectors from the Department of Building and Engineering Services (DBES) had however determined that the building was not fit for purpose.”

4) “The tender documents as seen by the Sunday Standard however indicate that price was not the only determinant that was going to be used to award the office rental tender.”

5) “Other than price, substantial importance has also been attached to quality of the building.”

6) “This is not the first time the building is embroiled in a controversy.”

“A few years ago the Ministry of Defence tried in vain to rent the same building, but was overruled by PPADB for not following proper channels.”

7) “The decision by a High Court judge to award a tender has a precedent the final outcome of which is still to be decided by the Court of Appeal.”

Once again, and I repeat, it would appear that the same government tender monopolists and their shameless supporters hiding behind false names feel that by not allowing Varsha Enterprises and Moghul Catering Services the monopoly continuity there may have been corruption, shortcuts, maybe deliberate, to empower the other parties. That being the case, one would wonder how they themselves managed to have monopolised government tenders in their respective industries for so many years…….!

As a lawyer “Adam Mphethe” knows very well that Varsha Enterprises had registered an urgent application before the courts last year December but the case would not continue because the applicant Mr Mehdi Jamali was home in Iran or Australia for Christmas and was only scheduled to be back end of January 2016. That is why an urgent application registered in December appeared in court in February 2016.

 

MacDonald Peloetletse is a member of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. He writes in his personal capacity.

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.