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AP to UDC: Our problem is Pilane

On Wednesday, at a packed Ave Maria conference centre, the interim President of the newly formed Alliance for Progressives (AP), Ndaba Gaolathe explained the decision to reject Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) verdict on power sharing proposal and also revealed conditions for joining the coalition party.

Gaolathe said while they had hoped the UDC will rule in favour of a re-run as they requested, they will not exercise the option of going into power sharing arrangement because it stands against the foundation of their values as a group. Among the values, which Gaolathe said form the core of their foundation as a party is a commitment to justice, truth, honesty, the sanctity of the human life, freedom, the pursuit of happiness and the idea that all human beings were born equal.

“The idea by the UDC that we can or should work from the same base with the Matshekge group is a classic example of something that touches the very core of who we are,” he said. “We have seen and experienced over the last few months lives that were nearly lost and in our case irretrievably damaged, by organized bandits carrying slashers and other weapons, not just at Bobonong but in Lobatse.”

Gaolathe said the events leading to Matshekge Congress do not constitute the alleged case of political differences but “a clear cut case of criminal activity for which there can be no place in the new Botswana.” The highly disputed Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) congress left several people injured in the altercation which ensued as a result of dispute over the legitimacy of delegates. “We must guard these values jealously and fiercely live by them. If anyone of us, as individuals or as stakeholders should contaminate or undermine this magnificent core value system, then we should understand it threatens our entire foundation; it uproots the very foundation on which the viability of a new Botswana rests,” said Gaolathe.

“Anything or anyone that touches or threatens this core of our value system shakes the very foundation of who we are.” Gaolathe and the Bobonong JSS group’s departure to form AP open an avenue for Sidney Pilane and group to be recognised as the leadership of BMD, therefore being granted the one of the Vice Presidency position within the coalition. Pilane’s arrival into the BMD has been a source of dispute within the party, leading to constitutional crisis which resulted in the formation of a new party.  

The former BMD leader, Gaolathe said the formation of AP has legitimately raised the question of whether it will join the UDC or go solo at the next general elections. He was however no-committal but hinted that such will only be subject to UDC aligning with their (AP) core values. “We cannot claim to have all the answers, but we do have the clarity of conscience, that all our decisions are made in good faith, and are based on our commitment to truth, justice, honesty, integrity, decency – the values that form our DNA,” he said.

“There are those who say unity first, and then honesty, justice and sincerity come later. We say honesty, justice and sincerity must be the foundation on which unity will be built; once we have these, they will attract like-minded citizens under a natural unifying force of a value system that stands the test of time.” The Gaborone Bonnington South lawmaker said as long as the UDC remains committed to a genuine spirit of unity, the Alliance for Progressives will be keen to work, align and/or apply for some form of arrangement with the UDC.

“This will obviously need the input and guidance of our members at the appropriate time and forum,” he said. Gaolathe further highlighted that the people of Botswana must be rest assured that the Alliance for Progressives wants more than the unity of the opposition, we also want to play a large role in uniting all our people, our entire nation.  “True unity is not forced or imposed; it is inspired by an attraction to a vision and a value system that promises to build a great new Botswana,” he contended. “To certify the now legitimized BMD, without any conviction, would amount to an act of insincerity on our part. We must never pretend to believe what we don’t believe, neither should we say what we don’t mean.”

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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