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Friday, 19 April 2024

Saleshando Okays election results

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Botswana Congress Party (BCP), an affiliate of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has this week confirmed that they distance themselves from the ongoing preparation for the objections of the 2019 General Elections results.

In earnest BCP and their leader, Dumelang Saleshando accepts the just released results in which the party emerged with the highest number of seats amongst the umbrella affiliates; Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP). The BCP moved from a paltry three seats in 2014 General Elections, to a whopping 11 seats (in UDC), as opposed to the BNF’s 4, while BPP failed to win a parliamentary seat.

In the just ended elections, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), vanquished the opposition parties combined, by achieving a resounding victory that increased its popular vote from 48 percent to virtually 52 percent. BDP amassed 38 Members of Parliament while the opposition managed 19 seats in which UDC got 15, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) manged 3 while Alliance for Progressives (AP) trailed behind with 1 seat.

Therefore, in terms of the objections, the BCP having achieved a great performance feels they are fine with the results, especially in the North side of the country. “I am fine with the results. We have accepted the election results. In Maun, there is no issue that warrants any protest with the High Court against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC),” Saleshando told the WeekendPost this week.

But the BCP leader emphasised that, it does not mean however that they can stop those especially the BNF with issues on the other side of the country, to pursue their petition with the court within the mandatory 30 days. “Election petition is allowed in 30 days after elections. All have a right to file petition. We allowed candidates to talk to lawyers of the party,” he observed.

Asserts he won’t count his chickens before they hatch in terms of LOO

Although Saleshando who is the leader of BCP with majority opposition seats in parliament under the umbrella, and by virtue of him being the Vice President of the UDC, says he cannot reveal his plan, vision and main agenda as the presumed Leader of Opposition elect because he cannot count his chickens before they hatch.

On BCP taking over the leadership of UDC from the BNF

Saleshando has put it in the hands of those who call for exchange of leadership from the BNF to BCP of the UDC on their belt. “It’s not for me to say, people will decide on who takes over the UDC at a later stage and time. There is a procedure if there is need to be and the delegates will decide,” the UDC VP pointed out to this publication.

Saleshando grills Masisi for thinking BCP is dead after their recruitments

According to the Maun West elect, Masisi said they killed the BCP after recruiting the likes of BDP Gaborone region Chair, Lotty Manyapedza and others “but we proved them wrong.” In the Southern part of the country, he highlighted that the BCP/UDC did not do well and therefore lost some constituencies where they were incumbent. “As such we have to find out about this in our final report.” He stressed that the UDC launches looked good with good numbers in attendance and there was no early warning bell or red flag to illustrate they may be losing them come election day.


He explained that there is a possibility that in terms of the fight between Khama and Masisi; maybe Masisi supporters were fighting for fellow Southerner in the election. In the last three of four elections, the BCP President pointed out that their numbers have been growing steadily and this is easy to explain in statistics. In addition he mentioned that the BDP split to form BPF also made their job easier, as it worked for the UDC.

He believes the old days of people staying long in parliament is over

The MP, who comes back in a different constituency after losing Gaborone Central in 2014, pointed out that the parliament is wiser with relatively new legislators. “To the extent that most MP’s are new, it’s good for institutional renewal, the old days of people staying for long in parliament is over,” he stressed out. He however said although the BDP is bringing people who are new to politics, the opposition on the other side are highly experienced.

Priority to Maun West and not the country per se

My mind is to have a Maun constituency plan, Saleshando pointed out. “In Gaborone Central, people were told that I only excel on national issues and therefore I will jealously prioritise Maun first and Ngamiland on a second level, then country later” he concluded.

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Nigerians, Zimbabweans apply for Chema Chema Fund

16th April 2024

Fronting activities, where locals are used as a front for foreign-owned businesses, have been a long-standing issue in Botswana. These activities not only undermine the government’s efforts to promote local businesses but also deprive Batswana of opportunities for economic empowerment, officials say. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has warned of heavy penalties for those involved in fronting activities especially in relation to the latest popular government initiative dubbed Chema Chema.

According to the Ministry, the Industrial Development Act of 2019 clearly outlines the consequences of engaging in fronting activities. The fines of up to P50,000 for first-time offenders and P20,000 plus a two-year jail term for repeat offenders send a strong message that the government is serious about cracking down on this illegal practice. These penalties are meant to deter individuals from participating in fronting activities and to protect the integrity of local industries.

“It is disheartening to hear reports of collaboration between foreigners and locals to exploit government initiatives such as the Chema Chema Fund. This fund, administered by CEDA and LEA, is meant to support informal traders and low-income earners in Botswana. However, when fronting activities come into play, the intended beneficiaries are sidelined, and the funds are misused for personal gain.” It has been discovered that foreign nationals predominantly of Zimbabwean and Nigerian origin use unsuspecting Batswana to attempt to access the Chema Chema Fund. It is understood that they approach these Batswana under the guise of drafting business plans for them or simply coming up with ‘bankable business ideas that qualify for Chema Chema.’

Observers say the Chema Chema Fund has the potential to uplift the lives of many Batswana who are struggling to make ends meet. They argue that it is crucial that these funds are used for their intended purpose and not siphoned off through illegal activities such as fronting. The Ministry says the warning it issued serves as a reminder to all stakeholders involved in the administration of these funds to ensure transparency and accountability in their disbursement.

One local commentator said it is important to highlight the impact of fronting activities on the local economy and the livelihoods of Batswana. He said by using locals as a front for foreign-owned businesses, opportunities for local entrepreneurs are stifled, and the economic empowerment of Batswana is hindered. The Ministry’s warning of heavy penalties is a call to action for all stakeholders to work together to eliminate fronting activities and promote a level playing field for local businesses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s warning of heavy penalties for fronting activities is a necessary step to protect the integrity of local industries and promote economic empowerment for Batswana. “It is imperative that all stakeholders comply with regulations and work towards a transparent and accountable business environment. By upholding the law and cracking down on illegal activities, we can ensure a fair and prosperous future for all Batswana.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Merck Foundation and African First Ladies mark World Health Day 2024

15th April 2024

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks “World Health Day” 2024 together with Africa’s First Ladies who are also Ambassadors of MerckFoundation “More Than a Mother” Campaign through their Scholarship and Capacity Building Program. Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “At Merck Foundation, we mark World Health Day every single day of the year over the past 12 years, by building healthcare capacity and transforming patient care across Africa, Asia and beyond.

I am proud to share that Merck Foundation has provided over 1740 scholarships to aspiring young doctors from 52 countries, in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Embryology & Fertility specialty, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Advanced Surgical Practice, Pain Management, General Surgery, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Internal Medicine, Trauma & Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Cardiology, Stroke Medicine, Care of the Older Person, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Child Health, Obesity & Weight Management, Women’s Health, Biotechnology in ART and many more”.

As per the available data, Africa has only 34.6% of the required doctors, nurses, and midwives. It is projected that by 2030, Africa would need additional 6.1 million doctors, nurses, and midwives*. “For Example, before the start of the Merck Foundation programs in 2012; there was not a single Oncologist, Fertility or Reproductive care specialists, Diabetologist, Respiratory or ICU specialist in many countries such as The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea, Burundi, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Namibia among others. We are certainly creating historic legacy in Africa, and also beyond. Together with our partners like Africa’s First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Gender, Education and Communication, we are impacting the lives of people in the most disadvantaged communities in Africa and beyond.”, added Senator Dr. Kelej. Merck Foundation works closely with their Ambassadors, the African First Ladies and local partners such as; Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building healthcare capacity and addressing health, social & economic challenges in developing countries and under-served communities. “I strongly believe that training healthcare providers and building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to equitable and quality at health care in Africa.

Therefore, I am happy to announce the Call for Applications for 2024 Scholarships for young doctors with special focus on female doctors for our online one-year diploma and two year master degree in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties, which includes both Online Diploma programs and On-Site Fellowship and clinical training programs. The applications are invited through the Office of our Ambassadors and long-term partners, The First Ladies of Africa and Ministry of Health of each country.” shared Dr . Kelej. “Our aim is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people by building healthcare capacity across Africa, Asia and other developing countries. We are strongly committed to transforming patientcare landscape through our scholarships program”, concluded Senator Kelej.

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Interpol fugitive escapes from Botswana

15th April 2024

John Isaak Ndovi, a Tanzanian national embroiled in controversy and pursued under a red notice by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), has mysteriously vanished, bypassing a scheduled bail hearing at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court in Gaborone. Previously apprehended by Botswana law enforcement at the Tlokweng border post several months earlier, his escape has ignited serious concerns.

Accused of pilfering assets worth in excess of P1 million, an amount translating to roughly 30,000 Omani Riyals, Ndovi has become a figure of paramount interest, especially to the authorities in the Sultanate of Oman, nestled in the far reaches of Asia.

The unsettling news of his disappearance surfaced following his failure to present himself at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court the preceding week. Speculation abounds that Ndovi may have sought refuge in South Africa in a bid to elude capture, prompting a widespread mobilization of law enforcement agencies to ascertain his current location.

In an official communiqué, Detective Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Selebatso Mokgosi of Interpol Gaborone disclosed Ndovi’s apprehension last September at the Tlokweng border, a capture made possible through the vigilant issuance of the Interpol red notice.

At 36, Ndovi is implicated in a case of alleged home invasion in Oman. Despite the non-existence of an extradition treaty between Botswana and Oman, Nomsa Moatswi, the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), emphasized that the lack of formal extradition agreements does not hinder her office’s ability to entertain extradition requests. She highlighted the adoption of international cooperation norms, advocating for collaboration through the lenses of international comity and reciprocity.

Moatswi disclosed the intensified effort by law enforcement to locate Ndovi following his no-show in court, and pointed to Botswana’s track record of extraditing two international fugitives from France and Zimbabwe in the previous year as evidence of the country’s relentless pursuit of legal integrity.

When probed about the potential implications of Ndovi’s case on Botswana’s forthcoming evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Moatswi reserved her speculations. She acknowledged the criticality of steering clear of blacklisting, suggesting that this singular case is unlikely to feature prominently in the FATF’s assessment criteria.

 

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