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Khama gives up on BDP compromise

President Lt Gen Ian Khama has given up on the hopes of convincing his colleagues to make way for Mokgweetsi Masisi in the July Tonota Congress chairmanship race and will back down from trying to impose his deputy on everyone.

This publication has gathered that Nonofho Molefhi’s team is of the view that a lot is at stake and therefore will not consider Khama’s proposal to have Masisi as the only chairmanship candidate in July. Masisi is the incumbent BDP Chairman, having been elected at the Mmadinare Congress in 2015.

Khama urged delegates at the party National Council last week to consider a compromise and rally behind Masisi in order to preserve unity going forward. Khama was addressing his last National Council as party president as he is set to retire from office at the end of March next year. Molefhi vanguards such as Biggie Butale, Buti Billy and Ignatious Moswaane have spoken strongly against a compromise.

There was an expectation that following his remarks at the National Council, Khama would summon both Masisi and Molefhi in order to seal a deal between the two, but nothing has materialised since then. “He has never initiated a compromise besides appealing for it at National Council. He wants it because it is his wish to leave the party intact,” said a highly placed source at the party. “I am in support of a compromise. But still we have two months to go, anything can happen.”

Khama has also learnt the hard way that not only are democrats willing to remove Masisi as the chairman in July, there is a high likelihood that his heir will be challenged for party presidency in 2019 ahead of crucial elections. Khama appointed Masisi his deputy following the 2014 general elections, a decision which was deemed unpopular within the BDP. Khama understands that Masisi’s loss will not only bring ignominy to his right hand man but will also weaken his administration and create two centres of power.

One of the worrying factors for Khama would be that Masisi has fragmented support in the central district— BDP‘s strong hold and where Khama himself commands influence. It is reported that Khama has taken a decision to canvass support for Masisi in the region. Khama has made it clear that he is supporting Masisi for the chairmanship. “How can I be neutral when my vice president is contesting?” he asked rhetorically at the National Council gathering. The pro-Molefhi team in central include among others Philipp Makgalemele, Dorcus Makgato, Prince Maele and Tshekedi Khama.

Former chairmanship candidate, and current Minister of Foreign Affairs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has also declared her support for Masisi in the chairmanship race. Venson-Moitoi has stated that she is supporting Masisi for the “sake of continuity and preserving party unity”. Venson-Moitoi has also revealed that her support for Masisi is also a gesture of returning back the favour. Masisi campaigned for Venson-Moitoi in her failed African Union (AU) chairperson bid.

Venson-Moitoi has joined Khama in neutralising Molefhi’s support in the Central District. Venson-Moitoi will counter Tebelo Seretse, who is rooting for Molefhi. Seretse is a long-time political nemesis of Venson-Moitoi. With the latter retiring at the end of current tenure in 2019, Seretse is preparing to make a comeback to parliament.     

Notwithstanding that, Masisi romped to victory in 2015 at Mmadinare Congress, Masisi has not consolidated enough support during his tenure as chairman of the party. He has not enjoyed the support of Women Wing chairperson, Dorcas Makgato and also failed to get along with fellow member of Central Committee Botsalo Ntuane, who is the party secretary general.

After dropping former cabinet minister, Jacob Nkate from his team there were suggestions from the Masisi camp that he enlist Ntuane in his team but instead chose Mpho Balopi, the immediate former BDP secretary general. Many were of the view that Masisi could benefit from aligning with Ntuane given the latter’s influence in the party as incumbent secretary general. Ntuane defeated Gus Matlhabaphiri’s in 2015 for the secretary general position. Matlhabaphiri was backed by the Masisi team in the race.   

Reports indicate that Molefhi has found it difficult to forgo his ambitions because there is a likelihood of him losing his parliamentary seat against opposition in 2019 following the BCL closure which has left over 5000 people without jobs. Selebi Phikwe is an opposition infested area with the other side of the town being opposition control. Molefhi won Selebi Phikwe East constituency with a slight margin and also benefited from vote splitting of opposition parties. In 2019 opposition parties will contest as a unity.

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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

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.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

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

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

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.




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