Mokgwathi warns UB –SRC against party politics
By Bakang Tiro
The newly elected University of Botswana Student Representative Council (SRC) members have been told to stay away from party politics but instead serve the interests of students.
The call was made by UB Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, Professor Martin Mokgwathi during the SRC inauguration this week. Mokgwathi indicated that partisan involvement and activism leads to the SRC members serving the interests and agendas of political parties and not those of the students. “The SRC is not the backbench of political parties, you should not be politically aligned in any way, you serve the students community’s interests and not politicians,” said Mokgwathi.
The University of Botswana Council took a decision in 2015 to ban partisan politics, allegedly responding to the unbecoming conduct of previous SRC’s who were said to be driven by political interference rather advocating for students’ interests. The decision was followed by the call for establishment of students’ movements rather politically affiliated bodies to run for SRC elections.
During his address this week, Professor Mokgwathi encouraged the student leaders not to push political parties’ interests at the expense of the students. In recent years the UB has experienced souring relations between students and the management. The escalation of differences between the SRC and the UB management had led to politically charged demonstrations and internal conflicts within the SRC.
“The SRC is a statutory body in UB because the University values students as an important stakeholder. Therefore you are expected to represent the student community to the best of your ability, and students have an expectation from their leadership,” the Professor said. The Deputy Vice Chancellor further stated that the SRC should be voted in every March of the year. He explained that this year the elections were delayed due to some issues within the student body.
The university has been without an SRC for six months. The term of the former SRC elapsed in March this year only for the new SRC to be elected on the 15th of September. Mokgwathi outlined the roles of the SRC as prescribed in the constitution observing that the SRC is the link between the students and the University management. He said the student representation should be done by adhering to the constitution, stressing that the student finances should be managed properly through professional’s advice.
Mokgwathi promised the student community the full support of management. Meanwhile, the recent past SRC president, Mr Bakotelo Mmipi encouraged the newly sworn in SRC members to put aside their interests and serve the students diligently. Mmipi said some elected persons tend to push their personal interests using the SRC office. He said some go to an extent of trying to enrich themselves with the students’ finances.
“The SRC is about serving the interests of all the students in the University without favor or prejudice, and it’s not about attaining wealth as it is normally the case with some people,” figured Mmipi. He also stressed that the SRC should avoid political interference and to put aside their political differences for better service delivery. “Sacrifice your political affiliations so that you can work together and put the interests of the students at the forefront. The students are the ones who voted you; and they should also hold you accountable,’’ he said.
The outgoing president pleaded with the management to work cordially with the SRC in order to avoid past disputes such as strikes which were mainly due to lack of support and cooperation from the management. For his part, the newly elected President Mr Oteng Vicer Eleck, told this publication on the sidelines of the inauguration that they are looking forward to working with each other despite their political differences.
“As leaders we are looking forward to a united and vibrant SRC, inclusive of all students.”
The BDP linked GS 26 won 7 seats out of the 13 council seats, with the UDC linked Moono wa Baithuti scooping 6 seats. The GS 26 managed to retain the presidency seat won by Oteng Eleck, who now succeeds Bakotelo Mmipi. On the other hand Moono wa Baithuti retained the vice presidency won by Refilwe Gaelesiwe the only female in the council, succeeding Dikosha Dikosha.
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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.
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“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.
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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS
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 Storesâ€™ 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
Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting
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According to the last weekâ€™s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,Â 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.
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