Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) of northern Botswana are scheduled to assemble in Maun and Selebi Phikwe this winter to review the role of NGOs in Botswana’s development and consider issues to be discussed at the 2nd Annual Stakeholder Forum organized by the NGO Council.
At a meeting in Francistown on 25th April, a planning group met to plan the agenda for the District Dialogue. Comprising of both NGOs and Community-Based Organisation (CBOs), the meeting enjoyed the support of both government and the Botswana Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO).
The participants were welcomed by the Deputy Mayor of Francistown City, Honorable Mr. Godisang Radisigo who described himself as a strong believer in the potential of NGOs to meaningfully contribute to a better Botswana. From his welcome remarks the Assistant Mayor said NGOs should network to promote experience sharing with other organizations’ as well as providing assistance to members on issues relating to bonding, capacity building, and information dissemination.
He said effective and informed consultation is the best way of linking citizens with government in addition that he would like to see youth working in NGOs and CBOs and excelling. He said they should be challenged, especially those in major positions, in running organisations.
“Youth are dragging their feet because they are not given a chance to prove themselves and I am encouraging you to work together to achieve a common goal”, said Mr. Radisigo. He requested to include the local government in the next ASF II which will be held on the 20th to 23rd June 2017. He also said limited access to information is a major challenge in Botswana therefore involving Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will be a step ahead since their presence will give them a true perspective of what is happening.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs and Co-chair of the NGO Council, Mr Montshiwa Monty Montshiwa officially opened the meeting. In his official opening, Mr Montshiwa said “In an effort to address sustainability of NGOs, a new era of collaboration and partnership building between the Government and the NGOs was established by way of appointment of the NGO Council; a structure derived from the NGO Policy”.
The purpose of the National Non – Governmental Organisations Policy is to provide a framework to guide relations, including the institutional and administrative structure and processes for overseeing these relations. The NGO Policy represents government`s commitment to work with NGOs as the relationship has been rather informal in the past.
He defined an NGO as an apolitically formed autonomous organization that is only involved in the socio-economic development of its constituents, that possess nonprofit status and whose primary motivation is to pursue an identifiable set of interests of public, community and or group significance as defined in its constitution or deed of trust. He also stated that the NGO policy seeks to provide a framework to achieve and promote overall efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery; to promote mobilization and utilization of resources between key stakeholders in national development and to promote partnership and collaboration between NGOs, the government and other stakeholders.
NGO Council Coordinator Ms. Diana Meswele said another purpose of the meeting was to prepare for the upcoming District Dialogue fora in Maun, Kang, Molepolole and Selibe Phikwe, which will be attended by civil society, government, local authorities, private sector and other relevant partners. She said the district level meetings will seek to nurture trust and shared understanding of critical development issues in each district as well as progressively building a common platform for action across different actors.
From the feedback on the 2015 Inaugural Annual Stakeholder Forum Dr. Gaontebale Mokgosi, a Board Member of the NGO Council, stressed the aim of the forum as being to open dialogue around the need to forge a rejuvenated partnership for sustainable development between CBOs, government and the private sector.
Such a partnership will be a critical enabler to address issues of concern such as poverty and widening a gap between the rich and the poor and even unequal opportunities for children and youth. She invited the participants to review the recommendations made during the inaugural Annual Stakeholder Forum (ASF) of 2015 and reflect on the achievements made to-date in the implementation of the recommendations of ASF 1. Participants included representatives from the performing arts NGOs, Child Rights, Community-Based Natural Resources Management, District-level civil society coalitions, Nature Conservation, Botswana Council of Disabled and other indigenous groups.
When giving vote of thanks, the District Commissioner of Francistown Mrs. Chabongwa Matseka said CBOs and NGOs are the key to the development of the country as they play a significant role and shouldn’t be left behind. She said most of the people who work hard in making these organisations are striving towards winning. “From the meeting, there was harmony and that is a clear guideline of knowing what we are here for, we shall see change,” said Ms Matseka.
Motlhatlosi Kgosintwa works for the Kalahari Conservation Society
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.