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Masisi breaks rank with Balopi

Despite last October’s victory by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the party still has more obstacles to overcome and deep wounds to heal as it heads to its elective congress this year, which was consensually postponed last year by the members.

Prior to the elective congress which its dates have not yet been confirmed, the party is likely to see the incumbent Secretary General (SG), Mpho Balopi contesting against Shaw Kgathi who is currently the Deputy Secretary General (DSG) of the party and Kagelelo Banks Kentse who is Head of Communications.

However news reaching this publication shows that His Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi has broken rank with his ally, Balopi. It is said, Masisi has been watching how things pan out and finally came to a resolution that Banks replaces Mpho Balopi. Sources say that, Masisi is also hesitant of having Kgathi for the same position and the person he is deeply rooting for the position is Kentse. Kgathi is taken as old guards that should be replaced by new faces. Kentse joined the BDP from Botswana Movement for Democracy in 2018 after Masisi assumed the Presidency.

The Members of the Central Committee (CC) are also alleged to be against Balopi remaining in the same position. A close source to this publication has articulated that Masisi believes that the reason why the party is in “shambles” is because of Balopi, who he says has deeply divided the party over the years. Moreover, Balopi is reported to be still working with former President Ian Khama, which does not sit well with President Masisi. Reports from sources say that Balopi justifies his relation by saying that he and Khama have known each other from time immemorial and he is what he is because of Khama. Balopi first became the party SG at a time when Khama was leading the party.

In an interview with this publication, Kentse denied claims that he is also eyeing the SG seat and that he has the President’s support. “I have not considered standing in any position for the elective congress nor has there been any discussions on the position between me and the President.” He further slammed the alleged fall-out between him and Balopi emphasizing that theirs is a healthy political relationship.

When asked about the alleged reconciliation between he and Balopi meeting because of Masisi, Kentse said, “from time to time the President would call members of the party, yes we have met with the President but only to discuss the status of the party and not what is being alleged.”  When reached for comment Balopi said that it was too early to announce whether or not as an incumbent he would like to retain his position as Secretary General of the party. “All will be announced in due course, there are certain procedures and principles that need to be followed within the party, nevertheless, whether or not I am interested.’’

Balopi -who won the Gaborone North constituency by 9566 votes, was rewarded with a Ministerial position heading Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development- is alleged to be displeased by this appointment. Being one of the most senior amongst the elected MPs within the party structures, had his hopes high. Impeccable informants this week revealed that Balopi believes he should have been given a more senior ministry which corresponds with his position within the party. In fact, it is said, he was eyeing Kabo Morwaeng’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.  

As it is, Balopi is the third most senior member of a party, coming after Masisi and Tsogwane. However Kagiso Mmusi, who is Masisi’s ally has been given Ministry of Defence Justice and Security which is the second senior after that of Morwaeng, Balopi has read malice from that. Building up to the elections at a time when the Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane was de-campaigned by Khama, there were pessimism within the party that Tsogwane will retain the Boteti West Constituency.

By then the party’s top brass had a contingency plan and Balopi’s name was mentioned on numerous occasions to Masisi in case Tsogwane lost. This left him licking lips for possibility of bigger and better things in government, until Masisi revealed his cabinet, says a source.
The BDP SG is alleged to now be working overtime to de-campaign Morwaeng in Molepolole South constituency for the 2024 General elections. He is alleged to be against the appointment of Morwaeng at the ministry and feels betrayed by Masisi.  

A reliable source to this publication has also revealed that Balopi has placed Jeffrey Sibisibi, who is a former Council Chairman of Kweneng District to challenge Morwaeng in the 2023 party primary elections and has since dispensed resources within the constituency to hit the ground running. News reaching this publication is that initially Balopi had not been a part of Masisi’s cabinet plans and was only added a day before swearing in when other party advisors cautioned President Masisi that it might cause conflicts within the party.


In other related reports, there is another alleged faction that is building up behind the scenes. The team is dominated by the northern based party members and those who are feel betrayed after ‘sacrificing’ for the party, including those who campaigned for the party in the past elections. Most of them are angry members who were not rewarded despite their hard work (names withheld). The main agenda of the faction is to frustrate Masisi and ensure his preferred candidates do not succeed at the expected congress.

The alleged faction was seen at Dibete this past weekend where informants say they were plotting on how to execute their move. At this time, the team is yet to take shape but it is busy working to ensure that they will be ready when the time comes. Dates for the party elective congress are expected to be revealed by the party central committee which is expected to meet early February.

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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.

Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.

The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.

Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.

“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.

Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.

Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.

For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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