Ndaba, Wynter rubbish suspensions
The factional battles brewing inside the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) have seen the developments taking ugly turn this week when a faction led by party Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule took a decision to suspend the party president and his deputy.
But Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi have rubbished the suspension, saying the National Executive Committee (NEC) has no such powers. Repports suggest that the impromptu meeting called on Thursday night saw the Modubule controlled National Executive Committee (NEC) taking a decision to suspend Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi, the party president and vice president respectively.
It is reported that the decision was arrived at through voting. Gaolathe is said to have left the meeting immediately after the decision. Observers fear that the BMD conflict if not resolved quickly could hurt the chances of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) as it campaigns to take over power from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). But all eyes are now fixed on the proposed July elective congress of the BMD as the solution.
Meanwhile the BMD NEC also took a decision to suspend other party activist who attended the party youth league congress held in Ramotswa two weeks ago. This include former Youth League President Phenyo Segokgo, who is also Chairman of South East Council, Phenyo Butale (Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central), Haskins Nkaigwa (Member of Parliament for Gaborone North). The party also suspended National Organising Secretary Kabelo Mahupe and the Women’s Wing President Joyce Mothudi.
Gaolathe and Mmolotsi have both disregarded their suspensions since the NEC does not have powers to suspend or expel any member from the party. Gaolathe has said he will continue his duties as party president. Gaolathe and Mmolotsi are scheduled to address party members on Monday this coming week.
Mmolotsi who received the news while abroad has also denounced their suspension, saying it is only BMD members through congress who can relieve them from their duties. Mmolotsi said the Modubule/Mangole faction wants to undermine the decision of Ghanzi Congress where the leadership was elected.
Mmolotsi also expressed that the time frame in which the decision was taken shows clearly that it was meant to undermine Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) efforts in retaining the Tlokweng Constituency. “I want to state for the record that we have observed a consistent trend by some of our leaders to cause commotion every time there is a bye election. What is sad is that they wait for the last days so that their actions could affect the elections. It happened in Sekoma, Phillip Matante and now Tlokweng.
Nkaigwa has also dismmised the suspension talk as ploy to divert the attention from the ongoing Tlokweng bye-elections. The suspension of the leader of the other faction and their associaite havs been anticiapted. Following the Youth League congress, the Modubule/Mangole faction addressed a press conference where they stated that they are considering susepnding Ndaba and his camp.
Modubule and Mnagole had urged that the Youth League congress which was held in Ramotswa was unlawful and unconsitutional, while the Gaolathe faction where reportedly furnished with legal opion which upheld the decison to continue with the congress. Both faction have held two different opinions on the legality of their actions. Last years, the Modubule/Mangole led faction thwarted efforts by Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction to call a special congress, because they did not enjoy support.
Sidney Pilane, who has been at the centre of controversy was present at BMD office when the decision was taken. Pilane is not a member of NEC but remian a powerful figure in the Modubule camp and has reporteldy been pulling the strings for the faction. A liberal BMD constitution, which vests more powers on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), has made it difficult for the party to resolve the impasse as NEC members remain divided.
The adoption of a liberal constitution by BMD at the 2011 Inaugural Congress was motivated by the manner in which the late party leader, Motswaledi was suspended by President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama from his position as BDP Secretary General in 2009, a few weeks after being elected into the position at the party congress. Pilane is the chief architect of BMD’s constitution. Pilane quit the party in 2012, a year after being defeated by Motswaledi for the party leadership at the party’s inaugural congress. It is reported that Pilane is also eyeing to contest the BMD presidency at the July Congress.
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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 Stores’ 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 week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd, 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.
“Although 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,” said one of Botswana’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, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” 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,” 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.