Nicole Gaelebale was crowned Miss Botswana 2017 on Thursday night to the disappointment of many who had hoped that Uua Murangi will walk away with the title. But the judges pronounced that the crowning was a culmination of a meticulous process of assessing the contestants.
Gaelebale, will represent the country at Miss World grand finale which will be held on 18 November 2017. Uua proved to be a popular contestant ahead of the grand finale. Many believed she represented a true epitome of a Motswana woman. Such expectation, that Uua would be crowned queen, motivated many attendants to reject the final results. They speculated that there could have been cheating in the selection process.
As for the Queen, Nicole on the other hand, a lot of people believed that her 5 years’ experience of contesting in the Miss Botswana pageant got her the crown. Former beauty queen, Emma Wareus also made the suggestion on her Facebook page. The judges had made it clear that the Grand Finale was to crown the winner as the selection process had long started before the crowning night. They mentioned that they do not go with what the crowd wants but with the criteria they use to select the queen.
“I advise everyone to refrain from critique, as most of the time we do not go with the crowd expectation. We should note that we first started with auditions, where the Top 30 was selected, we did Boot camps, and finalists were taught how to carry themselves, presentation skills were relayed, tests and marks were issued. A lot of things were looked at behind the scene not during grand finale,” one of the judges, Masa Thibedi explained.
The contestants were given the chance to answer the same question which was no different from any of the Top 3 finalists. The question asked was, “if Miss Botswana falls pregnant during her reign, should she be allowed to reign as queen.” This was the same question asked during the Miss Botswana pageant in 1999 and it crowned the famous Mpule Kwelagobe who went on to win the Miss Universe title.
The Top 3 answers
“When you are crowned Miss Botswana that means you are already a mother of the nation. So she should not be allowed to reign since she is already a mother,” Gaelebale said. “The reigning queen should not be shunned but should be allowed to reign. She should have the dignity. When nature does happen, she should not be shunned the dignity of her body,” Murangi answered. “As long as the baby does not impede her responsibilities, then they should be allowed,” another contestant, Neelo Nthobatsang explained.
During an interview, when asked if she is happy she became the second Princess, after a lot of people hoped she would win, Uua expressed her appreciation. “I am happy I made it this far, she is going to make a great queen, I love her,” she emphasized. Meanwhile, Gaelebale remains the queen and finally her dreams came true after trying for five years, she is now 26 years of age. “This is a dream come true to me, I have been trying every year since 2015. I must say I had fun, because most of the time beauty pageants try too hard and they end up not making it,” she said.
Gaelebale went home P160 000 richer, with a 5 years Limkokwing scholarship, five years Liberty life cover, sunglasses and many more goodies. Miss Botswana, which is the most followed pageant, has this year failed to pull sponsors. The pageant organizers, the Botswana Council of Women (BCW) started preparations for the pageant late which led to a poorly marketed event. The turn up at Thursday’s finale was poor. Miss Botswana is usually held prior to July, a practice that gives winners ample time to prepare for Miss World pageant held every November.
“The challenges were as a result of the fact that we started late therefore, we could not attract sponsors, as they felt it was late. So we ended up using the little we had to pull this together and I must say we managed and we achieved what we wanted, “ said Dorcas Thobega, one of the organizers.
The Thata Kenosi snub
Traditionally, it is the duty of the reigning Queen to hand over the crown. Thata however could not avail herself after she mentioned she will be in England to pursue her undergraduate degree in International Relations & Peace Studies with a minor in French. Thobega explained to WeekendLife that, they did their best to talk to her but she explained that she could not make it since it will be her early days in England. Later on, she explained, that Kenosi gave a short notice that her flight should be paid for so that she comes to hand the crown but they could not and later decided to allow her 1st Princess to hand the crown.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.