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Pilane to surrender BMD presidency

The embattled Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president, Advocate Sidney Pilane has promised to step down from the position of party president following a verdict by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) which declared his leadership illegitimate.

This publication has established that Pilane accepted the ruling on the basis that it affirmed that the BMD remained a member of the UDC. “Had they made any decision that sought to suspend or expel the BMD from UDC, I would have fought them with everything I have. I believe that we must accept the decision of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) and do as they say in order to deny them the excuse to continue excluding the BMD from UDC activities,” he shared in one of the social media platforms – facebook.

The latest ruling by the UDC comes as a shock following an earlier resolution by the UDC to recommend power sharing in the battle for party control instead of congress re-run as requested by the other faction. The UDC leadership also instructed BMD to hold an elective congress within 90 days. The resolution has however been received with mixed feelings with some section of the opposition especially those sympathetic to Ndaba Gaolathe, the former BMD leader, opining that the decision to call for a congress should have been made before formation of the Alliance for Progressives.

The current resolution follows the departure of the Gaolathe’s faction from the BMD after losing confidence in the UDC’s efforts to restore stability within the BMD. The group has since established a new party, the Alliance for Progressives (AP) which was launched last weekend. In explaining the decision not to call for a congress re-run in the BMD; UDC president, Duma Boko contended that had he made the same resolution earlier, it would have proved impossible to hold another congress since the two factions were embroiled in bitter war.

He said the Matshekge Congress, which turned into chaos, leaving several people severely injured, was a case in point and he did not want a repeat of the same violence. The Gaolathe faction had however then requested UDC to supervise the proposed congress re-run to ensure peace and stability. The major cause of dispute was the composition of congress, with parallel delegates proving to be contentious. “We are not apologetic about the BMD verdict as the UDC. We applied our minds long and hard,” he said.

Various schools of thoughts have emerged following the latest UDC resolution with some believing that it has been designed to eventually throw out Pilane and BMD in order to bring back Gaolathe’s AP into the UDC fold. Some had anticipated that Pilane, who had previously indicated that UDC had no business in telling BMD how to run its affairs, would reject the new verdict. Pilane has however agreed to UDC’s demands. Another school of thought is that the verdict did in fact legitimise Pilane’s presence in the UDC. Within 90 days Pilane will regain his position in the UDC as one of the Vice Presidents, the other being BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando.

The new resolution also wants the BMD to dismantle the leadership elected in Matshekge in favour of the previous one for the purpose of preparing for the proper congress. “It is therefore feasible and advisable to the BMD to fall back on the Ghanzi elected leadership to be caretaker of the party awaiting a legitimate congress which will elect the party leadership,” Boko said. The BMD is also expected to send four persons to represent the party in the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC).  Boko said the UDC will not dictate who the BMD sends as their representatives to serve in the NEC.

The UDC leader further added that the new draft constitution, which is subjected for adoption at the party’s congress billed for the 24th of February next year, provides for the two positions of Vice President, both of which are equal to each other but with different responsibilities. He said, contrary to popular opinion that there is 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President, none of the Vice President is superior to the other.

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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.

Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.

The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.

Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.

“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.

Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.

Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.

For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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