The opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has finally resolved to expel the embattled Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and its leader Sidney Pilane. The party reached the consensus this week at a meeting summoned by new bilateral partners Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
At the said meeting the two parties have already sidelined and excluded the “insignificant” BMD and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). The meeting was initially intended to discuss registration for the next General Elections in 2019 but the hot potato issue of the controversial BMD leader, Pilane ended up cropping up and dominating the discussion. Both BNF and BCP agreed on the bilateral tours and they started with party members from Gaborone, Mochudi and Ramotswa.
In the coming weeks they will be engaging Kweneng, Southern and eventually other parts of the country in which the Secretary Generals of the two parties are leading the engagements countrywide to take notes for decision making. “Basically the people are saying that Pilane, and not just Pilane, but also the entire BMD should be expelled from the UDC. They say if Pilane is a problem then why does the party (BMD) not take action or distance itself from him?” an immaculate source who preferred anonymity and sat at the top table during the discussions told Weekend Post shortly after the meeting.
He continued: “and that people are not willing to register to vote the entire party (UDC) because they have absolutely no confidence in Pilane and BMD therefore automatically dragging the UDC in it. So that was the message. Almost everybody was saying that (Pilane should go).” The party (UDC) was in its endevour to do something to tap up the morale of the people particularly electorates in preparation for the upcoming elections.
When approached for a comment after the meeting, UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa also confirmed that people were calling for expulsion of Pilane and the BMD. “The principle was basically that expel Pilane first and then the BNF and BCP will see how they will work together in the next elections and under whichever arrangement. They can choose to remain in the UDC or form another new arrangement. We will see when we get there at the right time,” Mohwasa stated.
According to Mohwasa, he also didn’t totally agree with the notion that the UDC cannot expel the BMD, and even at the last congress at Boipuso hall he said to have differed. “Because any logical situation you cannot have entrance into any arrangement and without exit. There is nothing like you come and get locked in. It’s totally impossible,” he pointed out.
The UDC mouthpiece also clarified that they are not pulling out from the UDC, but expelling Pilane. He continued: the problem that has caused the delay is that we have invested so much in the UDC project adding that “it is a brand.” Mohwasa also observed that “if you were to look at the old constitution that it was said to be implemented especially during the transition it is clear that a misbehaving member can be punished or action taken against them including being expelled if it warrants so. So that argument by Pilane that it cannot is misleading and doesn’t hold water.”
Currently, he said UDC President Boko is looking at the issue of new constitution which was rejected by Registrar of Societies. We have engaged the legal services of Attorneys Leburu and Toteng to look into it, he highlighted. While Weekend Post was engaging the UDC mouthpiece, one young lady who is member of the BNF emerging from the meeting also told Mohwasa that “comrade you see this glow that I have; you see this weight that I have gained, you get that when you cut ties with Pilane you just glow, try it, it works, I am telling you,” she said as she walked away illustrating the extent in which members believe the UDC should expel the BMD leader.
While Mohwasa did not respond to the party member he told this publication that “they don’t even have a problem with the BPP. The problem is not the size of the party but the behavior of the party leadership like that of BMD.” When asked on whether the party is ready to tussle it out in court following the decision to expel Pilane, he said there are aware of the time factor, and that Pilane may drag them to court and they remain ready for that.
He went on to justify the bilateral meetings that expelled Pilane: “you know if we motivated the BNF and BCP members then we have taken care of our support base because to be honest BMD doesn’t have the numbers. This is also bearing in mind that the BMD under Ndaba Gaolathe also had no strong numbers and the situation got worse after the party split to form AP.”
According to Mohwasa who after attacking BMD, neither would spare AP separately saying “AP is not even worth mentioning because they are not part of the UDC. In fact I think the earlier people start counseling themselves that AP won’t be part of the UDC in the next elections the better.” The BNF Secretary General pointed out “we can see by the party (AP) posture that given the way they are busy fielding candidates just get to show you they have made up their minds to go it alone. They are getting themselves out there ready for 2019.”
When quizzed on what form the BNF and BCP intend to work under which arrangement he answered “the issue of BNF, BCP pact is still on negotiations and we are discussing it while under UDC arrangement. People believe that we can salvage the UDC and we will do exactly that.” He justified that there is nothing wrong with holding bilateral meetings among UDC members like we as BNF are doing with BCP without other contracting parties.
Mohwasa said after listening to the wishes of the party members they will raise the issues with the UDC leadership since they have executive powers. BNF president Duma Boko and BCP president Dumelang Saleshando will also run other sessions concurrently through political rallies. Meanwhile Chillyboy Rakgare was also expelled from the closed meeting because of his frequent outbursts on the UDC leader Boko and with rumours hanging over his head that he destined to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.
BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203. BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.
The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.
Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.
He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”. He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.
The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.
Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.
According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.
The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.
Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.
Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.
Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.
In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.
FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.
FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.
One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.
The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.
Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.
In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.
FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.
The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.