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Sunday, 03 December 2023

BDP, Govt to stop Khama

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In an effort to silently deal with former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama who is on a mission to fight back what he deems injustice against his person, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the Government on the one hand appear to have devised a modus operandi to stop the marauding Khama.

Key to this method of push back against the former President is a move to deny him access to facilities that are under government control; while on the other hand the ruling party will not amplify his sentiments by responding to them. Khama and the BDP are on the war path with the former accusing the latter of breaching the constitution of the party and subverting democracy. Meanwhile the former President has numerous cases lined up in the courts where seeks to claim compensation from Government after he was denied services which he feels are legally recognized by the law.

Since handing over power to President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, there has not been peace between the former President and his successor. This past week he made known his intentions to quit the ruling party and to support the opposition and various independent candidates.
There is however a school of thought that the BDP will employ similar machinery with that used in the run up to Kang congress. “It is very important that the party’s veterans speak out against Khama. The current leadership does not need to fight back, but rather use respected veterans to put Khama in his place,” asserted a party senior official.

FORMER MPS BLAST KHAMA

BDP former Members of Parliament released a statement telling that Khama is not bigger than the party. “In its 57 years history, BDP has remained welded together by the selfless service of its members, and leaders alike. The desire to put the interest of the nation and party before those of individuals is the reason for its strong foundations. The recent events are foreign to our party and cannot be allowed to pass by without any counsel. We hereby offer this much needed counsel,” they wrote.
 

The 39 MPs stated that they hold the view that all are equal before the BDP constitution and that of the Country. We are convinced that our long and proud history is not the result of the labour of a select few, it is rather the product of the collective. “No person who holds, or who has held BDP membership nor who has had the privilege of office should lay sole claim to its illustrious governance and service delivery to the people. Successive generations have built their legacies on the foundations of past cadres. For this reason, we wish to caution those who may be made to believe the contrary.”

HOW THE BDP INTENDS TO DEAL WITH KHAMA

Ruling BDP top politburo has this week distanced themselves from commenting on the utterances that were made by both the party ex leader Ian Khama and some of his subjects at a Serowe meeting where he (Khama) was consulting them (tribe) on his intention to dump the party.  Khama is the paramount chief of Ga-Mmangwato region in the Central District, the most populated region in the country and therefore possesses command and influence to sway elections in the region – which is a BDP stronghold.

At the meeting, the Ga-Mmangwato chief also emphasised that the area is a BDP iron grip and the party should therefore be mindful of that especially in light of the rift that still exists between Khama and the incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi. The rift has led to the Serowe meeting where Masisi and his administration was dismissed and the tribe vowed to follow Khama wherever he goes in his political trajectory. Khama and Bangwato accused Masisi and his government of sabotage, diminishing his legacy and generally not treating him well.

“We need to ask ourselves on whether the BDP has authority of that gathering addressed by a paramount chief (Khama) to his subjects/tribe. It was not a meeting of the BDP. So as a BDP SG, I cannot discuss the utterances made therein. I won’t even unpack the decisions of that kgotla. It is uncalled for,” Balopi told Weekend Post in an interview this week.    

As BDP, Balopi stressed that they see the meeting of Serowe as more of a kgotla meeting, even though it was held at showgrounds, than a BDP political forum and hence their limitations in taking an official position on it. Balopi continued: “so, I cannot contest or protest what was said therein. As BDP re agela mahoko a kgosi mosako (which is translated to that the party respects the outcome of the kgotla meeting).  

On behalf of the BDP high command the SG also stated that he “also have no appetite or energy to respond to the gathering of a kgotla system. Decisions of the kgotla are not something of public debate. I respect the sanctity of the place. As the Setswana saying mahoko a mantle otlhe meaning freedom of expression is also respected at the kgotla. According to Balopi, however he said the party, in respect to Khama, also hold in high regard Setswana maxim that susu ilela suswana gore suswana le ene a go ilele (loosely translated that elders should also respect the young ones for them to also return the gesture).

“The remarks were very unfortunate. But, as BDP we believe in a contestation of ideas where everyone can express themselves freely. We also believe in freedom of association. We want everyone to be able to articulate their voices without hindrance but without necessarily ridiculing others,” Balopi said. He continued: “we cannot stop anyone to criticise our party, but, our freedom of expression ends where the other one starts. And so, as a member of the BDP we should adhere to the party constitution as well as rules and regulations.”

As the BDP we have processes and procedures, he said adding that ga re iphetlhele batho kana ope hela (we don’t poke people without reason or any basis). “As BDP we respect our elders especially leaders who came before us. And so we are mindful that we deal with them on different, and various levels. We dealing with different people, and so we also employ different approaches.” Balopi confirmed that therefore they will not take any disciplinary action on Khama especially because it was not a party event but a kgotla function.  

“For the fact that we say we respect him, even if he has said a lot of things against the party does not automatically equate to suggestions that are going around that we fear the man,” he told this publication. If it was the meeting of BDP, Balopi said they would have taken action because the party has processes and procedures in place. “So this was not the case.” On whether some BDP legislators Phillip Makgalemele, Ignatious Moswaane and Master Goya also faces an axe or disciplinary action he said: “I can safely say that is not true. It is news to me. We have never had anything of that sort.”

He continued to explain that the disciplinary procedure in the BDP is that, there have to be a complainant and a respondent but it has never been so with the law makers. “As a Secretary General and chief respondent, I have never received any report warranting any disciplinary action.” In terms of the BDP independents, he said they categorically state there is no independent candidates linked to BDP and that “it is either you are with us or against us.”  

Independents, with regard to the law the Gaborone North aspirant said, are allowed by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Act and so there is nothing wrong with those who want to contest as independent candidates. But the independents, he added also have to field in the 57 constituencies and come with their own manifestos and tell Batswana what they stand for. “But if a card carrying member of the ruling BDP goes independent then we will treat that person as opposition,” Balopi insisted.  

The potential law maker stated that the opposition is allowed in Botswana and if one wants to join it they are free to do so. “It’s an open contest. We are ready for any form of opposition but we won’t allow opposition manifesting itself in the BDP. We don’t want to hurt ourselves from within,” Balopi concluded.  

HOW GOV’T MACHINERY COMES IN

Former President Khama is involved in a number of charity events and he needs public facilities such as public halls and kgotla to hold such. Already Government has made its intentions known that it will deny the former president these facilities because they believe he is using them for political reasons. He was denied access to the Lady Khama Hall in Serowe for his controversial meeting where he announced his intention to exit the BDP. Although Government officials are coming up with creative excuses for denying Khama access to this facilities, it is very clear that there is a method to the madness.

To further buttress Government modus operandi on how they are likely to deal with former President Khama going forward, he was blocked from using the Khawa Kgotla for his infamous soup kitchen and he opted to host the event at the football grounds. Khama’s events are neither not supported by public servants, another move to slow the former President down.

On Thursday Khama clashed with Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) after they sidelined him from the event. The former President pitched his own event. This followed his removal as tourism ambassador after Minister Kitso Mokaila wrote him a letter indicating that the position is not recognized by statutes.

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19 Bokamoso Private Hospital nurses graduate at Lenmed Nursing College

28th November 2023

The graduation of 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College marks a significant milestone in their careers. These nurses have successfully completed various short learning programs, including Adult Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Nursing Care, Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing, Anaesthetic Nursing, and Recovery Room Nursing. The ceremony, held in Gaborone, was a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Lenmed Nursing College, a renowned healthcare group with a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana, has been instrumental in providing quality education and training to healthcare professionals. The Group Head of Operations, Jayesh Parshotam, emphasized the importance of upskilling nurses, who are at the forefront of healthcare systems. He also expressed his appreciation for the partnerships with Bokamoso Private Hospital, the Ministry of Health, and various health training institutes in Botswana.

Dr. Morrison Sinvula, a consultant from the Ministry of Health, commended Lenmed Health and Lenmed Nursing College for their commitment to the education and training of these exceptional nurses. He acknowledged their guidance, mentorship, and support in shaping the nurses’ careers and ensuring their success. Dr. Sinvula also reminded the graduates that education does not end here, as the field of healthcare is constantly evolving. He encouraged them to remain committed to lifelong learning and professional development, embracing new technologies and staying updated with the latest medical advancements.

Dr. Gontle Moleele, the Superintendent of Bokamoso Private Hospital, expressed her excitement and pride in the graduating class of 2023. She acknowledged the sacrifices made by these individuals, who have families and responsibilities, to ensure their graduation. Dr. Moleele also thanked Lenmed Nursing College for providing this opportunity to the hospital’s nurses, as it will contribute to the growth of the hospital.

The certificate recipients from Bokamoso Private Hospital were recognized for their outstanding achievements in their respective programs. Those who received the Cum Laude distinction in the Adult Intensive Care Unit program were Elton Keatlholwetse, Lebogang Kgokgonyane, Galaletsang Melamu, Pinkie Mokgosi, Ofentse Seboletswe, Gorata Basupi, Bareng Mosala, and Justice Senyarelo. In the Emergency Nursing Care program, Atlanang Moilwa, Bakwena Moilwa, Nathan Nhiwathiwa, Mogakolodi Lesarwe, Modisaotsile Thomas, and Lorato Matenje received the Cum Laude distinction. Kelebogile Dubula and Gaolatlhe Sentshwaraganye achieved Cum Laude in the Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing program, while Keletso Basele excelled in the Anaesthetic Nursing program. Mompoloki Mokwaledi received recognition for completing the Recovery Room Nursing program.

In conclusion, the graduation of these 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College is a testament to their dedication and commitment to their profession. They have successfully completed various short learning programs, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields. The collaboration between Lenmed Nursing College, Bokamoso Private Hospital, and the Ministry of Health has played a crucial role in their success. As they embark on their careers, these nurses are encouraged to continue their professional development and embrace new advancements in healthcare.

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BNF secures 15 constituencies in UDC coalition, wants more

28th November 2023

The Botswana National Front (BNF) has recently announced that they have already secured 15 constituencies in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, despite ongoing negotiations. This revelation comes as the BNF expresses its dissatisfaction with the current government and its leadership.

The UDC, which is comprised of the BNF, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Alliance for Progressives (AP), and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), is preparing for the upcoming General Elections. However, the negotiations to allocate constituencies among the involved parties are still underway. Despite this, the BNF Chairman, Patrick Molotsi, confidently stated that they have already acquired 15 constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally.

Molotsi’s statement reflects the BNF’s long-standing presence in many constituencies across Botswana. With a strong foothold in these areas, it is only natural for the BNF to seek an increase in the number of constituencies they represent. This move not only strengthens their position within the UDC coalition but also demonstrates their commitment to serving the interests of the people.

In a press conference, BNF Secretary General, Ketlhafile Motshegwa, expressed his discontent with the current government leadership. He criticized the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for what he perceives as a disregard for the well-being of the Batswana people. Motshegwa highlighted issues such as high unemployment rates and shortages of essential medicines as evidence of the government’s failure to address the needs of its citizens.

The BNF’s dissatisfaction with the current government is a reflection of the growing discontent among the population. The Batswana people are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the failure to address pressing issues. The BNF’s assertion that the government is playing with the lives of its citizens resonates with many who feel neglected and unheard.

The BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, even before the negotiations have concluded, is a testament to their popularity and support among the people. It is a clear indication that the Batswana people are ready for change and are looking to the BNF to provide the leadership they desire.

As the negotiations continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the interests of the people. The allocation of constituencies should be done in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that the voices of all citizens are represented. The BNF’s success in securing constituencies should serve as a reminder to the other parties of the need to listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people they aim to represent.

In conclusion, the BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, despite ongoing negotiations, highlights their strong presence and support among the Batswana people. Their dissatisfaction with the current government leadership reflects the growing discontent in the country. As the UDC coalition prepares for the upcoming General Elections, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize the needs and aspirations of the people. The BNF’s success should serve as a reminder of the importance of listening to the voices of the citizens and working towards a better future for Botswana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Children’s summit to discuss funding of NGOS

21st November 2023

One of the key issues that will be discussed by the Childrens’ Summit, which will be hosted by Childline Botswana Trust on 28th – 30th November in Gaborone, will be the topical issue of financing and strengthening of civil society organizations.

A statement from Childline Botswana indicates that the summit will adopt a road map for resourcing the children’s agenda by funding organizations. It will also cover issues relating to child welfare and protection; aimed at mobilizing governments to further strengthen Child Helplines; as well as sharing of emerging technologies to enhance the protection of Children and promotion of their rights.

According to Gaone Chepete, Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement towards promoting practices and policies that fulfil children’s rights and welfare.

“Child Helplines in the region meet on a bi-annual basis to reflect on the state of children; evaluate their contribution and share experiences and best practice in the provision of services for children,” said Chepete.

The financing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the state or its functionaries has generated mixed reactions from within the civil society space, with many arguing that it threatened NGOs activism and operational independence.

In February 2019, University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo released a paper titled “State philanthropy: The demise of charitable organizations in Botswana,” in which he faulted then President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama for using charity for political convenience and annexing the operational space of NGOs.

“Civil society is the domain in which individuals can exercise their rights as citizens and set limits to the power of the state. The state should be developing capable voluntary organizations rather than emaciating or colonizing them by usurping their space,” argued Dipholo.

He further argued that direct involvement of the state or state president in charity breeds unhealthy competition between the state itself and other organizations involved in charity. Under these circumstances, he added, the state will use charity work to remain relevant to the ordinary people and enhance its visibility at the expense of NGOs.

“A consequence of this arrangement is that charitable organizations will become affiliates of the state. This stifles innovation in the sense that it narrows the ability of charitable organizations to think outside the box. It also promotes mono-culturalism, as the state could support only charitable organizations that abide by its wishes,” said Dipholo.

In conclusion, Dipholo urged the state to focus on supporting NGOs so that they operate in a system that combines philanthropic work and state welfare programs.

He added that state philanthropy threatens to relegate and render charitable organizations virtually irrelevant and redundant unless they re-engineer themselves.

Another University of Botswana (UB) academic, Professor Zibani Maundeni, opined that politics vitally shape civil society interaction; as seen in the interactions between the two, where there is mutual criticism in each other’s presence.

Over the years, NGOs have found themselves grappling with dwindling financial resources as donors ran out of money in the face of increased competition for financing. Many NGOs have also been faulted for poorly managing their finances because of limited strategic planning and financial management expertise. This drove NGOs to look to government for funding; which fundamentally altered the relationships between the two. The end result was a complete change in the operational culture of NGOs, which diminished their social impact and made them even more fragile. Increased government control through contract clauses also reduced NGOs activism and autonomy.

However, others believe that NGOs and government need each other, especially in the provision of essential services like child welfare and protection. Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele said government considers NGOs as critical partners in development.

“We recognize the role that NGOs play a critical role in the country’s development agenda,” said Modukanele.

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