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‘Law protects perpetrators more than the abused’

As a way of commemorating the 16 days of activism on gender based violence (GBV) recently launched by the President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, Hlanganani ICT in collaboration with Botswana Networks on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS BONELA this week hosted an event aimed  at pondering on the link between technology and GBV.

The programme gathered activists, survivors and motivators in Gaborone at Botho University to unpack the effects of technology on GBV. It was highlighted by most survivors that walking the streets has become hard as it has become norm that perpetrators are given bail and take long to be prosecuted. They highlighted that jail is not enough rehabilitation for these criminals as they come back hardened and more eager to continue with their deeds.

One of the organizers Boitshepo Bolele noted that the main aim of the programme was to interrogate ways in which technology predominantly cyber technologies aid for use as instruments of Violence, particularly in cases of Gender Based Violence. Bolele highlighted that the Key issues that are mostly over looked are weaponisation of Information, 4th Industrial Revolution – Digital Disruption on Culture, Families and Personal Safety.

The programme which was focusing on how abusers are increasingly using technology as a means to monitor, harass, threaten, intimidate, impersonate, and stalk their victims also highlighted that there is a little number of women involved in technology space. “Although technology can be used to violate, it can also be used to protect,” the Women In Tech South Africa co-founder Samantha Perry noted. Perry cited that societal expectations have greatly affected ways in which value technical jobs and thus lead them to somehow finding themselves exposed to situations in the tech space that somehow exploits and degrades them.

Another aim of the programme was to interrogate ways in which technology or cyber technologies lend themselves for use as instruments of Violence, particularly Gender Based Violence; Key issues being weaponisation of Information, 4th Industrial Revolution – Digital Disruption on Culture, Families and Personal Safety.

The programme zoomed on how abusers are increasingly using technology as a means to monitor, harass, threaten, intimidate, impersonate, and stalk their victims, making it difficult for survivors to find physical safety and eroding their sense of safety. While technology can be used to violate, it can also be used to protect she noted.

Of all the pressing issues, Bolele said that Cyber child pornography is an increasingly visible problem in society today. This she said has been greatly influenced by the growth in home Personal Computer (PC) usage and more readily available content and access to the cyberspace. Bolele noted t child pornographers have found a convenient venue for sharing horrific pictures of children being sexually abused and they wish to strongly advise and fight against such.

One of the panelists and former South African Minister of Home Affairs who recently suffered from the same technological exploitation which saw his explicit content shared on social media commented and deliberated on the matter. The former minister noted that there is probably a greater return is successfully blackmailing those with public profile or those who may occupy positions of influence giving the example of his latest experience.

Gigaba noted that as mobile phones and technology gadgets get more sophisticated, people from all backgrounds become more vulnerable to breaches and invasion of their private communication and information. He further noted that as hackers and other agencies and individuals seek to source or intercept private information and communication for various reasons including blackmail, extortion, manipulation or compromise for political, business or other purpose there needs to be strict laws surrounding the problem which will not end soon.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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