BDP’s 3 most wanted constituencies
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is going all out for the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) scalp, as the ruling party seeks to reclaim three of the constituencies it lost to opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in 2014.
Molepolole South, Goodhope-Mabule and Gaborone North have been listed as among the most wanted constituencies as the party seeks redemption following the party’s dismal performance in 2014 general elections. BDP’s confidence in reclaiming some of its former constituencies has been inflated by various developments in the political landscape, with scales shifting against the opposition. BDP will deploy various tactics including reaching compromise in order to achieve this goal. While the UDC is still nursing wounds resulting from BMD split, BDP has been on a recruitment drive countrywide, claiming disgruntled opposition members to their fold.
Molepolole South fell in the hands of the opposition for the first time since independence, with Dr Mmatli of the UDC defeating BDP strongman Daniel Kwelagobe, ending a political career spanning 45 years. The constituency came into being following the 2003 delimitation exercise that split Molepolole constituency into two. Kwelagobe chose to remain with Molepolole South while Gus Matlhabaphiri became a beneficiary, taking over the North side of the Bakwena capital.
For decades, Molepolole and the entire Kweneng region was a BDP stronghold, but the 2014 elections proved that the formation of BMD had hit hard BDP support in the region. However, recent developments in the political arena have given the BDP confidence that Molepolole South is among the easiest constituencies to bring back home. Dr Mmatli is seen as having lost his grassroots support following the split of BMD resulting in the formation of Alliance for Progressives (AP).
The BDP now believes that the Vice President of BMD lost his grip in the constituency. Although compromise has not been reached yet in the BDP primaries for the constituency, the party has fielded Daniel Kwelagobe protégée and its prodigal son, Kabo Morwaeng. If consensus is not reached, Morwaeng will go through primaries against former Kwelagobe rival Shima Monageng.
Morwaeng, who currently serves as the secretary for Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) Sub-Committee is seen as a strong individual who enjoys grass root support in Molepolole. Morwaeng who is also a former Barataphathi stalwart is tipped to benefit from Kwelagobe’s support. The veteran MP is said to be friendly disposed towards Morwaeng than his long term rival Monageng. Kwelagobe still commands respect among democrats in the constituency.
Gaborone North was one of the first constituencies the BDP made inroads into since 2004, when former junior minister Keletso Rakhudu won the constituency against Michael Muzwinila of Botswana National Front (BNF). The constituency had prior to that been a BNF heartland, having first won it in 1984 under the candidacy of firebrand Maitshwarelo Dabutha, when there were only only two constituencies in the city, the other being Gaborone South, held by Dr Kenneth Koma.
After holding on to the constituencies for 10 years, the constituency returned to opposition when Rakhudu lost to former Gaborone City Mayor Haskins Nkaigwa of the UDC in the 2014 general elections. However Nkaigwa recently left the UDC to associate with the newly formed AP. This has given the BDP the confidence that the party will be able to reclaim the constituency from the opposition due to the anticipated vote splitting.
The BDP has fielded its secretary general Mpho Balopi to bring home the constituency. Balopi is unchallenged in the party primaries. So far three candidates in Gaborone constituencies are unchallenged, the others being Anna Mokgethi (Gaborone Bonnington) and Tumiso Hearly (Gaborone Central). Balopi expressed confidence at a press briefing this week that he will win the constituency in 2019.
The BDP has managed to coax youthful candidate Fankie Motsaathebe to step aside for Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Affairs, Eric Molale to contest unchallenged in party primaries. The decision was reached after a long engagement in which Motsaathebe was unwilling to give way for Molale. The Goodhope-Mabule constituency has become a subject of intrigue ever since it fell in the hands of the opposition in 2014, for the first time since independence. The constituency was previously held by BDP stalwarts; Ben Thema and Ronald Sebego before Kitso Mokaila took over the reign after the 2004 general elections.
In a shocking development, Mokaila lost the constituency to James Mathokgwane of UDC in 2014. Mathokgwane however resigned from parliament barely six months into his term. In the resultant bye-election, Mokaila chose not to contest the constituency. Molale won the disputed primaries but lost the bye-election after Barolong chief Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II was fielded by the UDC.
There are those who were of the view that Motsaathebe stood a better chance of winning the constituency against Kgosi Lotlaamoreng. Motsaathebe and Kgosi Lotlaamoreng are known to have been close for years. The Barolong chief has not been in good health in recent years prompting allegations that he may choose not to contest in 2019. There are also reports that Molale, one of Khama’s trusted allies’ fancies his chances as Vice President after the 2019 general elections, hence a deal was reached with Motsaathebe not to contest. Motsaathebe has been redeployed to serve as Molale’s campaign manager.
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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup
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.
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
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 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.
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.
â€śAlthough 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,â€ť said one of Botswanaâ€™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, â€śThe Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Areaâ€ť 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,â€ť 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.