The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is headed for a showdown ahead of its July elective congress. Tables are turning upside down in Palapye as party loyalists employ witchhunt tactics against each other on account of the ongoing tussle for the central committee positions which are up for grabs in July this year.
The Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, who doubles as the ruling party’s chairman is expected to defend his position, if all factors remain constant. But there are high chances that he will be challenged by high flying Minister, Nonofo Molefhi, and possibly former secretary general, Jacob Nkate. Indications are that party loyalists are already aligning themselves with various candidates of their choice and this is causing upheaval in some party structures across the country.
The party National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) is said to be divided because of known declarations of some senior executives of the structure. Chairman, Andy Boatile is said to have broken ranks with the Masisi lobby group and is expected to challenge Minister Shaw Kgathi for the position of Deputy Secretary General. Boatile is also not expected to support his current secretary general, who has his sights on the chairmanship of NYEC. Apparently the secretary general is sympathetic to Masisi.
In Palapye though, there is a more pronounced battle, where the Palapye branch committee has suspended the chairman, Samuel Maeka who is said to be favouring the chairmanship of Vice President Masisi. It is reported that the committee suspended him because he was not honouring party invitations and had not shown up for the Boikago Madiba council bye-election campaign. But insiders dismiss the narration of suspending him as lies, “rather he is suspended because the committee, which is in support of Molefhi observed that he was using his position to advance the Masisi agenda,” said a BDP senior figure in Palapye.
A committee of nine members wrote Maeka a letter recently warning him about his absence from party activities and has since acted on the letter. However the chairman responded to the letter on the 2nd of January this year dismissing its content and is failure to appreciate procedure. He stated that he has not been given audience ton respond to the allegations or charges against him. He also questioned the constitutionality of the meeting that decided that such a charge be laid against him.
“I am very much concerned by the state of affairs in Palapye constituency more so that we are engaged in a by-election exercise which all of us here are very much interested in winning it for the BDP for the sake of the reputation of the party going forward to 2019 general elections,” wrote Maeka in his response to the undated and hand written letter by the committee.
GOYA DRAGGED INTO THE WAR ZONE
Meahwile the Member of Parliament for Palapye, Moiseraela Master Goya has not espcaped the political inferno. The troubled Palapye Branch committee chairman has penned a 500 words letter to Vice President Masisi complaining about the conduct of the Assistant Minister of Basic Education. “This serves as a formal complaint against Hon Moiseraela Goya on the demeaning words used against myself at a BDP political rally during a campaign in the Boikago/Madiba on the 29th December 2016,” reads the opening paragraph of the letter.
Maeka alleges that the Assistant Minister ridiculed him thus: “ga ke batle malope mo partying, o noga modulasetilo, Ga o a thamalala. A o a nkutlwa?” He states that this has created animosity within the region and has greatly affected “my comfort in trying to execute my mandate as branch chairperson.”
The branch chairperson says it has been difficult for him to attend to party activities ever since these words were used against him. He further draws the Vice President’s attention to the Boikago/Madiba by-election campaign and emphasises the need for unity and restraint if the opposition is to be easily defeated in the election.
“I advise that the words used by the Honourable member have caused embarrassment and frustration among some members of the party and have also encouraged opposition to attack our party on the basis of disunity among us.” He urged Masisi to intervene as soon as possible before the animosity derails ongoing campaigns.
Insiders in the constituency point to a serious warfare that will only end after the party’s elective congress in July. They point out that it is expected that when a party prepares for internal elections, members will take jabs at each other to protect their turf. In the Palapye area there are BDP members who are vigorously pushing for a Nonfo Molefhi candidacy in the chairmanship and those that want Masisi to continue as party chairman.
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.
BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203. BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.
The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.
Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.
He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”. He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.
The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.
Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.
According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.
The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.
Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.
Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.
Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.
In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.
FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.
FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.
One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.
The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.
Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.
In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.
FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.
The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.