Gov’t warns Kgamane over Khama, Moitoi
By Dave Baaitse
Bangwato regent Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane has dismissed allegations levelled against him by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural development after he was accused of using Serowe Kgotla for political expediency.
Confidential documents seen by WeekendPost reveal that the letters written to Kgosi Kgamane addressed as Motshwarelela Bogosi Jwa Ga Mmangwato were a directive from the Office of the President (OP). The letter, dated 31st December 2018, was authored by ex-president Lt Gen Ian Khama’s former Senior Private Secretary, Col Duke Masilo, now Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and copied to Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.
Addressed through Director, Tribal Administration, the letter read in part, insinuate that the turnout at Serowe Main Kgotla on 23rd December 2018 on what was purportedly a Christmas party turned out to be a political meeting at which the former president Lt Gen Ian Khama used the opportunity to attack and castigate the integrity and leadership of President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The letter continues to say Khama further used the Kgotla to ridicule and express his personal disparaging opinion about president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.
“In addition to that, the former President also openly and with intention to cast aspersion on the judgement of his Excellency to relief the former Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi of her duties, rallied support for Venson- Moitoi,” reads part of the letter. The letter suggested that at the same gathering, Venson- Moitoi publicly criticized the decision by president Masisi to drop her from Cabinet and used the platform to solicit for votes in her Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential bid.
The same letter also made reference to an incident that happened at Moremi Kgotla on 16th November 2018, where Member of Parliament for the area, Prince Maele is alleged to have incited people when proclaiming to stand by former president in his vote of thanks remarks.
It said what happened at Serowe main Kgotla, was a repeat and it is totally undesirable.
“You are therefore directed to desist and refrain forthwith from allowing anyone to use any Kgotla for political expediency. In light of the foregoing, you are requested to provide and explanation of the turn of events on the 23rd December 2018 at Serowe Kgotla soonest but not later than 10th January 2019,” Masilo instructed. In his response Kgosi Kgamane said to his best recall, he did not hear Khama attacking and castigating the integrity and leadership of President Masisi.
“In the same vein I am not aware of Hon Dr Venson- Moitoi soliciting for votes to the presidency race at Botswana Democratic Party,” wrote Kgamane. Kgamane said in relation to the President of the US, the former president Khama indicated that he did not like his leadership in relation to abuse of human rights. “Utterance by Hon Prince Maele at Moremi Kgotla on 16th November 2018 is also news to me,” said Kgamane. In a telephone interview, Khama said he did not see the letter authored to Kgamane, but indicated that what is alleged in the letter is totally inaccurate.
He said they [OP] can go and get the recordings to inform themselves better of what transpired at the Serowe Kgotla. “I personally have addressed many Kgotla meetings across the country and I know what is appropriate to say in a Kgotla meeting. I therefore reject any attempts by newcomers telling me what to say at a Kgotla,” said Khama. The former President said as a nation Botswana continue to experience an erosion in its democracy. He said Botswana’s democracy is centred on a Kgotla system and nobody understands it better than him.
Khama said as things stands now there is no freedom of speech in the country and people are held accountable for what they say during Kgotla meetings. Moremi Kgosi was also summoned to write a report entailing what happened during Maele’s Kgotla meeting in question.
It is understood that Kgosi Days refused to write the letter alleging that the meeting was just a normal Kgotla meeting and nothing peculiar or sinister occurred.
After the kgotla the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation led by Dr Unity Dow had expressed concern over the remarks made by former President Khama about the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. The Ministry stated that it was wrong for Khama to use the Kgotla to make political pronouncements.
However in response, Khama indicated that, “whilst I acknowledge the mandate of the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation to promote and maintain good relations with other countries, however, during my term in office I was prepared to, and indeed I did criticize poor governance displayed by those leaders and governments of other countries who violated those principles anchored on democracy and human rights around the world even if they did not like our doing so.”
He pointed out that the Ministry is free to abandon those principles and ignore Donald Trump's present and past disrespectful tendencies which he clearly displayed in the manner some time ago, in the way he referred to countries in Africa. “I am proud that when I was President, Botswana was one of those that criticised him over those insulting and racist remarks.
I did not then, nor will I now shy away from confronting the likes of him as he continues every day to display unacceptable behavior in dividing people based on color, religion, ethnicity or in any way.” Khama further said: “at no time did I claim in my remarks about Trump that I represented the Botswana Government nor do I wish to. Mafoko a kgotla a mantle otlhe.
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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup
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.
Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS
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 Storesâ€™ 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
Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting
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 weekâ€™s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,Â 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.
â€śAlthough 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,â€ť said one of Botswanaâ€™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, â€śThe Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Areaâ€ť 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,â€ť 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.