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BDP out to appease hostile groups

The war of relevance continues in the political stream, with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) under the new leadership of Mokgweetsi Masisi determined to reach out to groups which were previously hostile to the ruling party.

Through his ‘policy of appeasement’ Masisi has started extending an olive branch to the troublesome trade unions, and has pledged to resuscitate All Party Conference among other things. Masisi’s latest gambit is his grit to garner votes from youth by promising a new deal for them.  

Recently, Masisi, accompanied by a number of his cabinet ministers, addressed a student gathering held at Ba Isago University, at the invitation of student leader, Poloko Pitwane who is also the leader of self-styled Youth Need a Voice Movement (YNM). Prior to this event, Masisi has sanctioned allowance increment of tertiary education students, from P1420 to P1620.

Pitwane, who caught public eye in 2014 when he was expelled from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, and later entered parliamentary race for Gaborone Bonnington North— but dropped from the race at the eleventh hour to endorse Duma Boko— has been identified by the ruling party as a strategic ally.

The ruling party, under Masisi seem to have identified all the pitfalls that contribute to the party’s unpopularity in the urban areas, and is working to rectify that by appealing to young people as they constitute the highest number of opposition voters and addressing their frustrations and issues that were unattended to by the previous regime.

Though Pitwane may be considered a nonentity, he viewed, according to sources, as somebody who could be used to lure student votes on the side of the ruling party. There are over 30 000 government sponsored students in tertiary schools, a number which BDP is salivating for.

Gaborone has been a stronghold for opposition since 1984, with BDP having luck in 2009 general elections, when the ruling party took majority of parliamentary seats and control of the Gaborone City Council (GCC) for the first time. This control was however short-lived, with then resurgent Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) gaining majority seats in subsequent general elections.

UDC won all save one, parliamentary seats in 2014 and also won majority seats in the city council. UDC had benefited from endorsement from the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU). Owing to the animosity that existed between the government and public sector trade union in the wake the infamous 2011 public servants strike, BOFEPUSU took war to the ruling party.

The 2011 strike, dubbed ‘Mother of All Strikes” was nearly a three month industrial action by BOFEPUSU members in which several participants were victimised as a result. 700 employees were fired from work, while several ‘draconian laws’ were introduced to curb the freedoms of labour movements.  One such contentious law was the Amendment of Trade Dispute Act which resulted in several cadres in public service being listed under the essential services category.

The watershed moment came last year, when the bargaining council collapsed, albeit with the aid of fellow union, Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU). Masisi, who was an instrumental figure during the reign of Khama as minister responsible for public service, and later as Vice President has moved to normalise relations with the trade unions.

He has already met the leadership of public sector unions and assured that ruling party will repeal all contentious legislations by end of July next year. Masisi has so far received a good will from the leadership of the trade unions. This has been helped by the fact that BOFEPUSU have fell out with UDC leadership following a crisis which led to split of the coalition.

Heading to next year’s general elections, it is highly unlikely that BOFEPUSU will endorse UDC. The BOFEPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari has previously indicated that the federation’s support to UDC was not permanent and subject to review. Masisi has also moved on to warm up to the media and since assuming power. Masisi has addressed over five press conferences since taking over as BDP leader.

Recently, State dropped sedition charges against Outsa Mokone, the editor of Sunday Sunday, who was hauled before the courts during Khama’s reign. Khama presented himself as hostile to private media, at one point accusing them of being unpatriotic.

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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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