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Kgafela’s ally to replace Davids

Bakgatla ba Kgafela exiled chief, Kgafela Kgafela II, his deputy Bana Sekai and the royal enclave have given Kgafela’s regiment leader, Moagi Molebatsi blessings to contest Mochudi East constituency under the Botswana National Front (BNF) ticket as the race to replace Isaac Davids takes off.

Davids was stabbed to death by his two herd boys earlier this month. Kgafela’s regiment known as ‘Mangana’ under the stewardship of Molebatsi has been the driving force in advocating for the return of their chief and other community issues including the installation of Sekai as chief last year. Molebatsi, who is a close ally of Kgafela, long informed the royal family of his intentions and they right-away gave him their blessings.

“I have informed Kgosi Sekai and the regiment about my intentions and they agreed and wished me the best of luck. For protocol sake I wouldn’t personally tell Kgabo (Kgafela) about it hence I channelled it through Sekai to tell Kgosi. But for sure he does not have any problem with this – he could have long summoned me if he did,” Molebatsi said in an interview.

Although all concerned stakeholders are nudging him on, they have asked him to not disappear completely from the community and neglect communal works. “There still a lot of pending projects which need to be reported back to Kgosi. He was instrumental in bringing calmness and stability in our area which has been envied by others. Further our chieftainship and government impasse is not yet over and we need people like him to direct all these to their conclusion, so we will need him here and there,” a Mangana royal house source told this paper.

Molebatsi long declared his interest for the constituency when Davids defected to BDP. He then in subsequent meetings with the regiment and the royals informed them about his intentions, and they immediately endorsed the idea. Molebatsi is said to be Kgafela’s blue-eyed boy. Kgafela allegedly trusts him, and he won more affection from the self-exiled leader last year when he lobbied for the installation of Sekai as Bakgatla’s recognized Chief after five years of the tribe not having representation at Ntlo Ya Dikgosi.

According to Molebatsi, Kgafela, naturally a radical person wants change of political leadership in the Kgatleng area. “Mokgatla wants change in our area especially if it is instigated by his regiment because he believes mophato is the driving force of the Kgatleng community,” Molebatsi said. Molebatsi has a long way to go though, as he will have to win the primary elections first before he can proceed to contest the bye-elections, possibly against Mpho Moruakgomo of the BDP.

When contacted for comment, BNF Publicity Secretary Justin Hunyepa would not reveal when the primary elections would be held as well as candidate/s that have shown interest in the constituency. This publication has however been informed that a well-known activist, Obakeng Matlou is likely to take Molebatsi head on at the party’s primary elections.

Molebatsi, it is expected will work closely with the royal house in implementing the reforms that Kgafela has been preaching including land reforms, instilling discipline and other societal ills currently besieging the district. Among those reforms that Kgafela ordered his regiment to implement last year includes returning of floggings in the area to curb illicit behaviour. “Our area is troubled by murder cases and we should fight that with anything at our disposal,” Molebatsi said.

“Re tloo letsa moretlwa Kgabo, (We will flog wrongdoers) but it is not like we are bragging about it. We just want to instil discipline in our tribe of which after some time others will bench mark here,” Molebatsi said. Just like Batlokwa, Bakgatla also want a land quota system in which the indigenous members will be given preferable treatment over ‘aliens’ in land allocation.

While Molebatsi some believe that Molebatsi will have no problem bringing home victory, some quarters are of the view that Matlou might just surprise the royal house by defeating their preferred candidate it the primaries. Mochudi East is one of the strong holds of opposition parties which might prove difficult for BDP to retain.

Davids won the constituency as a BNF candidate before defecting to the BDP last year. In the 2014 general elections Davids won with 6,824 votes compared to BDP’s Moruakgomo 5,941. The then incumbent, Isaac Mabiletsa of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) was voted by 4,528 people. Mabiletsa won the constituency at the 2009 general elections with the Botswana National Front (BNF) ticket, before defecting to the BCP. The tensions between Bakgatla and government escalated in 2012 with a number of criminal charges laid against Kgafela. He later on fled to South Africa and government took a decision to de-recognize him. 

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UDC founder warns against merger

19th October 2020
Ex UDC Convener: Mpotokwane

Lebang Mpotokwane, one of the conveners who presided over the opposition cooperation talks that resulted in the formation of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has advised against changing the current umbrella model in favour of a merger as proposed by others.

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Dumelang Saleshando recently went public to propose that UDC should consider merging of all opposition parties, including Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BNF).

Saleshando has been vehemently opposed by Botswana National Front (BNF), which is in favour of maintaining the current model.  BNF’s position has been favoured by the founding father of UDC, who warned that it will be too early to ditch the current model.

“UDC should be well developed to promote the spirit of togetherness on members and the members should be taught so that the merger is developed gradually. They should approach it cautiously. If they feel they are ready, they can, but it would not be a good idea,” Mpotokwane told WeekendPost this week.

Mpotokwane and Emang Maphanyane are the two men who have since 2003 began a long journey of uniting opposition parties in a bid to dethrone the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BCP) as they felt it needed a strong opposition to avoid complacency.

Tonota born Mpotokwane is however disappointed on how they have been ejected from participating in the last edition of talks ahead of the 2019 general elections in which BCP was brought on board.  However, despite the ejection, Mpotokwane is not resentful to the opposition collective.

He said the vision of opposition unity was to ultimately merge the opposition parties but he believes time has not arrived yet to pursue that path. “The bigger picture was a total merger and we agreed that with three independent parties, members might be against merger eventuality so the current model should be used until a point where they are now together for as long as possible,” he said.

“UDC should gradually perform better in elections and gain confidence. They should not rush the merger. We have been meeting since 2003, but if they rush it might cause endless problems. If they are ready they can anyway,” he advised. For now the constituent parties of the umbrella have been exchanging salvos with others (BCP and BNF).

“There are good reasons for and against merging the parties. Personally, I am in favour of merging the parties (including AP and BPF) into a single formation but I know it’s a complex mission that will have its own challenges,” Saleshando said when he made his position known a week ago.

“Good luck to those advocating for a merger, it will be interesting to observe the tactics they will use to lure the BPF into a merger,” former BNF councillor for Borakalalo Ward and former BNF Youth League Secretary General, Arafat Khan, opined in relation to BCP’s proposed position.

Mpotokwane, who is currently out in the cold from the UDC since he was ejected from the party’s NEC in 2017, said the current bickering and the expected negotiations with other parties need the presence of conveners.

“We did not belong to any party as conveners so we were objective in our submissions. If party propose any progressive idea we will support, if it is not we will not, so I would agree that even now conveners might be key for neutrality to avoid biasness,” he observed. Despite being abandoned, Mpotokwane said he will always be around to assist if at all he is needed.

“If they want help I will be there, I have always been clear about it, but surely I will ask few questions before accepting that role,” he said. UDC is expected to begin cooperation talks with both AP and BPF either this week or next weekend for both upcoming bye-elections (halted by Covid-19) and 2024 general elections and it is revealed that there will be no conveners this time around.

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BDP attaches Boko’s property

19th October 2020

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) moved through its lawyers to attach the property of Umbrella for Democratic (UDC) President Duma Boko and other former parliamentary contestants who failed in their court bid to overturn the 2019 general elections in 14 constituencies.

WeekendPost has established that this week, Deputy Sheriffs were commissioned by Bogopa Manewe Tobedza and Company who represented the BDP, to attach the properties of UDC elections contents in a bid to recover costs.  High Court has issued a writ of execution against all petitioners, a process that has set in motion the cost recovery measures.

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COVID-19 exposes decay in the education system

19th October 2020
Education Systm

Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) says COVID-19 as a pandemic has negatively affected the education sector by deeply disrupting the education system. The intermittent lockdowns have resulted in the halting of teaching and learning in schools.

The union indicated that the education system was caught napping and badly exposed when it came to the use of Information System (IT), technological platforms and issues of digitalisation.

“COVID-19 exposed glaring inefficiencies and deficiencies when it came to the use of ITC in schools. In view of the foregoing, we challenge government as BOSETU to invest in school ITC, technology and digitalization,” says BOSETU President Kinston Radikolo during a press conference on Tuesday.

As a consequence, the union is calling on government to prioritise education in her budgeting to provide technological infrastructure and equipment including provision of tablets to students and teachers.

“Government should invest vigorously in internet connectivity in schools and teacher’s residences if the concept of flexi-hours and virtual learning were to be achieved and have desired results,” Radikolo said.

Radikolo told journalists that COVID-19 is likely to negatively affect final year results saying that the students would sit for the final examinations having not covered enough ground in terms of curriculum coverage.

“This is so because there wasn’t any catch up plan that was put in place to recover the lost time by students. We warn that this year’s final examination results would dwindle,” he said.

The Union, which is an affiliate of Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Union (BOFEPUSU), also indicated that COVID-19’s presence as a pandemic has complicated the role of a teacher in a school environment, saying a teacher’s role has not only transcended beyond just facilitating teaching and learning, but rather, a teacher in this COVID-19 era, is also called upon to enforce the COVID-19 preventative protocols in the school environment.

“This is an additional role in the duty of a teacher that needs to be recognized by the employers. Teachers by virtue of working in a congested school environment have become highly exposed and vulnerable to COVID-19, hence the reason why BOSETU would like teachers to be regarded as the frontline workers with respect to COVID-19,” says Radikolo.

BOSETU noted that the pandemic has in large scales found its way into most of the school environments, as in thus far more than 50 schools have been affected by COVID-19. The Union says this is quite a worrying phenomenon.

“As we indicated before when we queried that schools were not ready for re-opening, it has now come to pass that our fears were not far-fetched. This goes out to tell that there is deficiency in our schools when it comes to putting in place preventative protocols. In our schools, hygiene is compromised by mere absence of sanitizers, few hand-washing stations, absence of social distancing in classes,” the Union leader said.

Furthermore, Radikolo stressed that the shifting system drastically increased the workload for teachers especially in secondary schools. He says teachers in these schools experience very high loads to an extent that some of them end up teaching up to sixty four periods per week, adding that this has not only fatigued teachers, but has also negatively affected their performance and the quality of teaching.

In what the Union sees as failure to uphold and honour collective agreements by government, owing to the shift system introduced at primary schools, government is still in some instances refusing to honour an agreement with the Unions to hire more teachers to take up the extra classes.

“BOSETU notes with disgruntlement the use of pre-school teachers to teach in the mainstream schools with due regard for their specific areas of training and their job descriptions. This in our view is a variation of the terms of employment of the said teachers,” says Radikolo.

The Union has called on government to forthwith remedy this situation and hire more teachers to alleviate this otherwise unhealthy situation. BOSETU also expressed concerns of some school administrators who continuously run institutions with iron fists and in a totalitarian way.

“We have a few such hot spot schools which the Union has brought to attention the Ministry officials such as Maoka JSS, Artesia JSS, and Dukwi JSS. We are worried that the Ministry becomes sluggish in taking action against such errant school administration. In instances where action is taken, such school administrators are transferred and rotated around schools.”

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