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Saturday, 02 December 2023

Molao voices out against lobby lists


The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is going for its elective congress in a few weeks and party members are aligning themselves with individuals and lobby groups of their choice. Notable however in the election dynamics of the party, is the traction being gained by independent candidates – headlined this year by Assistant Minister, Fidelis Molao and Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane.

Molao is unequivocal in his decision to stand for additional member as a non-aligned candidate. He was voted in Mmadinare for the same position outside the slates, as they are commonly referred to in political circles. “Experience has taught us that lobby lists entrench factionalism. They perpetuate the notion of winner takes all, hence you leave out people who could possibly more value outside,” observed Molao, who had just returned from canvassing for votes in the Letswapo and Shoshong area.

The Assistant Minister’s stance is seen by some as denting to his political progression path because it is parallel to the efforts of incoming President, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi who has a lobby list ahead of a congress where he intends to be retained as party chairman.  “The people who are not part of these lobby lists may feel excluded and develop an attitude of being aloof,” observes the youthful minister.

Molao’s worry stretches beyond the July 7th-9th congress of the BDP in Tonota. “My conviction is that the 2019 general election is a watershed election. It is going to be a make or break for all the political parties, especially the ruling BDP. We believe the Mmadinare approach of assessing individual candidates as opposed to a collective gave the BDP a chance to elect a cohesive central committee. If the same approach is adopted, 2019 could be dealt with in unison,” says Molao.

At the Mmadinare congress, Ntuane was voted by the most number of people despite not belonging to any of the slates. At this congress, he will continue, just like Molao, to preach unity and contest for the position of secretary general as an independent. He is being challenged by Mpho Balopi, a former secretary general under Masisi lobby list and Jacob Nkate, another former secretary general, this time vying under the Nonofo Molefi ticket. “We are going to Tonota for the party and not for any lobby list. We are of the view that people should be elected on the basis of their strengths and capabilities, and not because they are behind so and so,” adds Molao.

Masisi camp currently has the power and money – power because President Lt Gen Ian Khama has openly endorsed Masisi; secondly the fact that Masisi is Vice President and incoming President gives the camp traction. The people vying for positions of Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer, Satar Dada and Jagdish Shah respectively are assumed to be millionaires and this has cemented the assumption that the Vice President's slate is rich. Molao, though not discounting the strength of money and power is hopeful that those who are outside the lobby lists have every chance of making it in Tonota. Other independents include Louis Benedice Sibanda, Andy Boatile who both want to be elected deputy secretary general.

Molao shares that the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) came as a result of the lobby lists; he further says the current conflict at the opposition party is still borne out of lobby lists. He says there is a power struggle between those who won elections in Gantsi and those that lost.

“It is unfortunate that we are going for a tough election in 2019 but we are busy dividing the party. In the process we are running the risk of denying the party the input of people who are outside these slates. What pains more is that supporters of these lobbies will ensure that they close out those that did not belong to slates and the party will miss out on their contribution. Belonging to a slate does not necessarily mean that that person can win an election or has political capital,” observes Molao.

Molao posits that BDP delegates should assess candidates as individuals. ”That is why I am going to Tonota on my own accord. If elected I am free to work with anyone because I will be unencumbered. Lobby lists do not foster party unity. We hope BDP members will ultimately see the value of not belonging to lobby lists,” says Molao.  

The Assistant Minister says Masisi as an incoming President will benefit greatly from an internal election that is free of lobby lists because he will inherit a more unified organization.  As things stand Masisi has no choice but to support those who belong to his lobby list. The winning group will have to take BDP to the 2019 general election which will probably be dominated by a youth vote. Masisi hopes the likes of Mpho Balopi, Shaw Kgathi, Satar Dada, Jagdish Shah, Slumber Tsogwane, Guma Moyo, Ronald Shamukuni, Ponatshego Suping, and Ngaka Ngaka will bring back the BDP popular vote.

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19 Bokamoso Private Hospital nurses graduate at Lenmed Nursing College

28th November 2023

The graduation of 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College marks a significant milestone in their careers. These nurses have successfully completed various short learning programs, including Adult Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Nursing Care, Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing, Anaesthetic Nursing, and Recovery Room Nursing. The ceremony, held in Gaborone, was a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Lenmed Nursing College, a renowned healthcare group with a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana, has been instrumental in providing quality education and training to healthcare professionals. The Group Head of Operations, Jayesh Parshotam, emphasized the importance of upskilling nurses, who are at the forefront of healthcare systems. He also expressed his appreciation for the partnerships with Bokamoso Private Hospital, the Ministry of Health, and various health training institutes in Botswana.

Dr. Morrison Sinvula, a consultant from the Ministry of Health, commended Lenmed Health and Lenmed Nursing College for their commitment to the education and training of these exceptional nurses. He acknowledged their guidance, mentorship, and support in shaping the nurses’ careers and ensuring their success. Dr. Sinvula also reminded the graduates that education does not end here, as the field of healthcare is constantly evolving. He encouraged them to remain committed to lifelong learning and professional development, embracing new technologies and staying updated with the latest medical advancements.

Dr. Gontle Moleele, the Superintendent of Bokamoso Private Hospital, expressed her excitement and pride in the graduating class of 2023. She acknowledged the sacrifices made by these individuals, who have families and responsibilities, to ensure their graduation. Dr. Moleele also thanked Lenmed Nursing College for providing this opportunity to the hospital’s nurses, as it will contribute to the growth of the hospital.

The certificate recipients from Bokamoso Private Hospital were recognized for their outstanding achievements in their respective programs. Those who received the Cum Laude distinction in the Adult Intensive Care Unit program were Elton Keatlholwetse, Lebogang Kgokgonyane, Galaletsang Melamu, Pinkie Mokgosi, Ofentse Seboletswe, Gorata Basupi, Bareng Mosala, and Justice Senyarelo. In the Emergency Nursing Care program, Atlanang Moilwa, Bakwena Moilwa, Nathan Nhiwathiwa, Mogakolodi Lesarwe, Modisaotsile Thomas, and Lorato Matenje received the Cum Laude distinction. Kelebogile Dubula and Gaolatlhe Sentshwaraganye achieved Cum Laude in the Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing program, while Keletso Basele excelled in the Anaesthetic Nursing program. Mompoloki Mokwaledi received recognition for completing the Recovery Room Nursing program.

In conclusion, the graduation of these 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College is a testament to their dedication and commitment to their profession. They have successfully completed various short learning programs, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields. The collaboration between Lenmed Nursing College, Bokamoso Private Hospital, and the Ministry of Health has played a crucial role in their success. As they embark on their careers, these nurses are encouraged to continue their professional development and embrace new advancements in healthcare.

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BNF secures 15 constituencies in UDC coalition, wants more

28th November 2023

The Botswana National Front (BNF) has recently announced that they have already secured 15 constituencies in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, despite ongoing negotiations. This revelation comes as the BNF expresses its dissatisfaction with the current government and its leadership.

The UDC, which is comprised of the BNF, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Alliance for Progressives (AP), and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), is preparing for the upcoming General Elections. However, the negotiations to allocate constituencies among the involved parties are still underway. Despite this, the BNF Chairman, Patrick Molotsi, confidently stated that they have already acquired 15 constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally.

Molotsi’s statement reflects the BNF’s long-standing presence in many constituencies across Botswana. With a strong foothold in these areas, it is only natural for the BNF to seek an increase in the number of constituencies they represent. This move not only strengthens their position within the UDC coalition but also demonstrates their commitment to serving the interests of the people.

In a press conference, BNF Secretary General, Ketlhafile Motshegwa, expressed his discontent with the current government leadership. He criticized the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for what he perceives as a disregard for the well-being of the Batswana people. Motshegwa highlighted issues such as high unemployment rates and shortages of essential medicines as evidence of the government’s failure to address the needs of its citizens.

The BNF’s dissatisfaction with the current government is a reflection of the growing discontent among the population. The Batswana people are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the failure to address pressing issues. The BNF’s assertion that the government is playing with the lives of its citizens resonates with many who feel neglected and unheard.

The BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, even before the negotiations have concluded, is a testament to their popularity and support among the people. It is a clear indication that the Batswana people are ready for change and are looking to the BNF to provide the leadership they desire.

As the negotiations continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the interests of the people. The allocation of constituencies should be done in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that the voices of all citizens are represented. The BNF’s success in securing constituencies should serve as a reminder to the other parties of the need to listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people they aim to represent.

In conclusion, the BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, despite ongoing negotiations, highlights their strong presence and support among the Batswana people. Their dissatisfaction with the current government leadership reflects the growing discontent in the country. As the UDC coalition prepares for the upcoming General Elections, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize the needs and aspirations of the people. The BNF’s success should serve as a reminder of the importance of listening to the voices of the citizens and working towards a better future for Botswana.








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Children’s summit to discuss funding of NGOS

21st November 2023

One of the key issues that will be discussed by the Childrens’ Summit, which will be hosted by Childline Botswana Trust on 28th – 30th November in Gaborone, will be the topical issue of financing and strengthening of civil society organizations.

A statement from Childline Botswana indicates that the summit will adopt a road map for resourcing the children’s agenda by funding organizations. It will also cover issues relating to child welfare and protection; aimed at mobilizing governments to further strengthen Child Helplines; as well as sharing of emerging technologies to enhance the protection of Children and promotion of their rights.

According to Gaone Chepete, Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement towards promoting practices and policies that fulfil children’s rights and welfare.

“Child Helplines in the region meet on a bi-annual basis to reflect on the state of children; evaluate their contribution and share experiences and best practice in the provision of services for children,” said Chepete.

The financing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the state or its functionaries has generated mixed reactions from within the civil society space, with many arguing that it threatened NGOs activism and operational independence.

In February 2019, University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo released a paper titled “State philanthropy: The demise of charitable organizations in Botswana,” in which he faulted then President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama for using charity for political convenience and annexing the operational space of NGOs.

“Civil society is the domain in which individuals can exercise their rights as citizens and set limits to the power of the state. The state should be developing capable voluntary organizations rather than emaciating or colonizing them by usurping their space,” argued Dipholo.

He further argued that direct involvement of the state or state president in charity breeds unhealthy competition between the state itself and other organizations involved in charity. Under these circumstances, he added, the state will use charity work to remain relevant to the ordinary people and enhance its visibility at the expense of NGOs.

“A consequence of this arrangement is that charitable organizations will become affiliates of the state. This stifles innovation in the sense that it narrows the ability of charitable organizations to think outside the box. It also promotes mono-culturalism, as the state could support only charitable organizations that abide by its wishes,” said Dipholo.

In conclusion, Dipholo urged the state to focus on supporting NGOs so that they operate in a system that combines philanthropic work and state welfare programs.

He added that state philanthropy threatens to relegate and render charitable organizations virtually irrelevant and redundant unless they re-engineer themselves.

Another University of Botswana (UB) academic, Professor Zibani Maundeni, opined that politics vitally shape civil society interaction; as seen in the interactions between the two, where there is mutual criticism in each other’s presence.

Over the years, NGOs have found themselves grappling with dwindling financial resources as donors ran out of money in the face of increased competition for financing. Many NGOs have also been faulted for poorly managing their finances because of limited strategic planning and financial management expertise. This drove NGOs to look to government for funding; which fundamentally altered the relationships between the two. The end result was a complete change in the operational culture of NGOs, which diminished their social impact and made them even more fragile. Increased government control through contract clauses also reduced NGOs activism and autonomy.

However, others believe that NGOs and government need each other, especially in the provision of essential services like child welfare and protection. Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele said government considers NGOs as critical partners in development.

“We recognize the role that NGOs play a critical role in the country’s development agenda,” said Modukanele.

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