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Big Guns Fall in 2019 elections

The 2019 general election has seen some big guns fall after they lost their seats in their respective constituencies.  The Opposition bloc, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Alliance for Progressives (AP) fell the heaviest after their leaders were defeated in this election.

UDC have lost some big guns in Gaborone in this election – among them Advocate Duma Boko, the party leader. He lost Gaborone Bonninton North to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Annah Motlhagodi, who was trying her luck at legislating for the third time after two unsuccessful stints with her former party, Botswana Congress Party (BCP).  Motlhagodi garnered 6933 votes against Boko’s 4495 votes.

Boko was a casualty as a result of a red wave that had ravaged through the southern based constituencies where the victorious BDP white washed the opposition at both Local Government and Parliament level. Boko had hosted one of the biggest rally launches on the eve of election and the numbers had suggested he was on pole position to retain the constituency, but voters had other ideas.

Ndaba Gaolathe of the AP was another victim of the red wave. He fell to Christian Greef of the BDP who was also trying a shot at legislating for the second time after he was barred from contesting party primaries by his party in 2013. Greef defeated Ndaba with 4603 votes against 3460 votes. Ndaba, a likeable character because of his down to earth approach to issues and intellect was just collateral in the rage that came from voters in Gaborone Bonninton South.  

Two other Members of Parliament of the 11th seating from the opposition bench, Phenyo Butale of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) in Gaborone Central; and Haskins Nkaigwa of the UDC in Gaborone North lost their seats to the BDP’s Tumisang Healy and Mpho Balopi respectively. In its whitewash of the opposition in Gaborone, the BDP also managed to push in a new Member of Parliament in Gaborone South, Meshack Mthimkhulu, who won against UDC’s Nelson Ramaotwana.

The BDP also registered casualties as a result of former President Dr Ian Khama in the central district. The BDP lost all the Serowe constituencies hence Kgotla Autlwetse, a former cabinet member was a casualty. The most recognizable fall was that of former Minister of Transport and Communications, Dorcas Makgato who lost to Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang of the UDC. Makgato was a marked target of Ian Khama after he accused her of “insulting his father”. Khama used his influence in the central district to dislodge Makgato. Gobotswana overpowered Makgato with 9341 votes compared to her 5562 votes.

The Khama factor also played out in the Palapye constituency where another former Minister, Moiseraela Master Goya (5252 votes) was defeated by Onneetse Ramogapi (5282 votes). Khama’s party had fielded Dr Kolaatamo Malefho (1806 votes) as MP candidate to ensure that the BDP does not get enough votes to cross the line.

Former Acting Minister of Youth Sport and Culture Development, Dikgang Phillip Makgalemele could not stand against the Khama effect in Shoshong. He ended up losing the constituency to Aubrey Lesaso who pulled 8475 votes against Makgalemele’s 3843 votes. Makgalemele is one of the BDP MPs who was rumoured to have rejected a last minute call from BPF to contest under their ticket. Former Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng lost the Tonota constituency to Moathodi who is making a return to the august house. Olopeng attracted 7125 votes while Moathodi romped further with 8364 votes.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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