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BDP MPs break ranks with Masisi over direct presidential election

Parliament has passed a motion calling for the amendment of the constitution to allow for the direct election of the President, which was tabled by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta, Polson Majaga.

The motion successfully passed after the sponsor, Majaga garnered enough support to ward-off Vice President Slumber Tsogwane’s attempt to have the motion killed. President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has reportedly expressed his disapproval for the motion and had tried to convince the party legislators not to support the motion but to no avail. The motion requests the government to carry out a referendum on the possibility of direct election of the president of the Republic of Botswana.

Masisi reportedly believes that the ongoing tension between him and his predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama makes him anxious that the party could be conspiring to abort his 10 year tenure as president. Addressing the party’s weekly meeting prior to the adoption of the motion, Masisi dismissed the motion and asked Majaga to withdraw, sources have told this publication. It is said the president after making his stand known to his MPs, asked them to re-look at it  but MPs were not having none of it.

Masisi left the meeting under the supervision of Chairman Tsogwane, where the motion was discussed at length with most of the party members declaring support for it at the end labelling it “progressive and democratic.” Masisi, sources say, is against the direct president election such that he once asked his cabinet which outnumbers the back-bench not to support the idea. Despite all that, those within the Cabinet reveal that the motion is progressive and it would corroborate Botswana as shining example of democracy hence the motion passed in parliament.

Contacted on the plot to have the motion killed, Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay said: “We were discussing our own issues which should remain in-house and I cannot help you on any of the issues you are raising.” Main opposition party, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is have been watching with keen interest as this is what they have been advocating for in the past years.

The opposition warmly embraced the motion.

Majaha said Chapter 4, section 32 of the constitution which states that the President of the republic shall be determined by the number of parliamentary seats his party has won in a general election does not reflect the people’s desires. In his motion, Majaga also wants cabinet ministers not to be selected from sitting Members of Parliament as per the current status quo. He asserts that cabinet ministers are constrained and overstretched as they have to meet the demands of the ministry and the constituency they represent.  He went on to say that, should ministers be selected from outside Parliament, the President would be able to bring experts with a wealth of experience to head the ministries.

“I believe ministers should focus on their ministerial portfolios and account to Parliament. In the current system, Permanent Secretaries are the ones who represent ministries during their meetings with the Public Accounts Committee instead of ministers,” Majaga explained.
The motion was initially tabled by Tati East legislator Samson Guma Moyo in 2015 but was never debated. This time around the motion has been resuscitated by another Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta, Majaga.

The motion was presented to parliament yesterday (Friday) with party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane pleading with the house to put the motion on hold pending consultations with Batswana. Tsogwane told parliament that he had wanted to engage Majaga and advise him on the motion, but said it was clear that Majaga was not interested. "I have even tried to send him and SMS but he did not respond", Tsogwane told parliament.

The VP quickly tried to move in terms of Standing Order of 54.1 of Parliament to have the motion adjourned pending further consultation. At this point, parliament had to vote whether they agree with VP Tsogwane or not. MPs voted and 6 agreed with Tsogwane that the motion adjourn, while 16 MPs objected. Only 1 MP abstained. Tsogwane tried to seek division from parliament, but Deputy Speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi will have none of it. He argued that VP was late to ask for a division and Parliament has already agreed with Majaga.

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BAD WEEK FOR MANCHESTER CITY

6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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