Khama snubs DRC opposition leaders
President Lt Gen Ian Khama has turned down request by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opposition leaders to meet him over the political turmoil in the country.
This publication can authrotatively reveal that a letter from Engagement for Citizenship and Development (ECIDE), one of the opposition parties in DRC, which was routed through BDP’s office of the Secretary General had requested for a meeting with Khama to discuss issues pertaining to among others, establishing bi-lateral relations between the two parties. The objective of the request for a meeting was also to disccuss the DRC political crisis which is directly linked to the country’s president, Joseph Kabila’s refusal to leave office after the expiry of his term.
Contacted for comment, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane confimred that they have seen and discussed the letter, of which the party, President Khama in particular was not comfortable with meeting an opposition party from another country. “Khama as is common practice does not meet with foreign opposition. We get many requests,” he said.
“His view is how would we as the BDP react if other presidents met Botswana opposition.” The BDP and Botswana Government are known to have broken this rule however, when they had flitation with Zimbabwe’s Movement forn Democratic Change (MDC) at the height of Zimbabwe’s political crisis.
Last year ECIDE leader, Martin Fayulu exclusively told Weekend Post in a telephone interview facilitated by one of his associates currently in Botswana that it is imperative that Khama comes out publicly to condemn the violence and lead a process which would result in successful mediation. “We want a facilitator, someone who is credible, has moral authority and is respected around the world to lead the negotiation process. We believe Botswana can play a role is searching for such a person,” he said.
“The United States and Europe have imposed sanctions. But nobody in Africa is doing anything about the DRC situation. We want Botswana to take a leadership role in resolving the matter by rallying other African countries to take action.” Fayulu has revealed that the opposition in DRC has lost respect in the country’s elections commission and wants its leader to leave office.
Last year ECIDE rejected a proposed dialogue as they insist that dialogue's current facilitator, Edem Kodjo; a former chairman of the African Union (AU) is not credible and is disposed towards President Kabila. Other opposition parties joined hands with Fayulu’s ECIDE in setting pre-conditions for participating in the dialogue, including freeing political prisoners and lifting bans on several TV stations.
The troubled country saw a violent uprising last year, as multitudes thronged the streets to protest against President Joseph Kabila’s intention to stay in office beyond his constitutional term. The country’s electoral commission has failed to issue a writ for elections, which should be done 90 days before elections. Kabila’s presidential term was scheduled to come to an end in November last year at but Kabila cling to power. “He is playing games with delaying tactics because he knows he will be a loser in the end,” he said.
The 31 December political accord, brokered in good faith by the Catholic Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (Cenco), is said to be the only viable blueprint for political stability in the DRC. It calls for elections by the end of 2017, no third mandate for Kabila and the formation of a new government, led by a prime minister issued from the ranks of the Rassemblement de l’opposition (Rassop), the country’s largest political opposition alliance – led until his death on 1 February by Etienne Tshisekedi
The ECIDE leader, who survived military attacks last year, had expressed confidence that Botswana can play a major role as a game changer in DRC. He lauded former President Sir Ketumile Masire’s involvement in the DRC political crisis as a facilitator between 2000 and 2003. Masire, a worldwide respected statesman played a major role in calming a political situation in the DRC, which later helped the country draw up a new constitution which was accepted by all the country.
Fayulu is among those who have been harassed by Kabila’s security agents, and was arrested earlier last year following his involvement in a peaceful protest aimed at dissuading Kabila from attempting to stay beyond his constitutional term. Scores of citizens are reported to have been killed for protesting against Kabila’s refusal to leave power, while ECIDE’s office was destroyed in the process. Recently, former President Festus Mogae was involved in South Sudan’s mediation talks, as the country was plunged in political crisis amid warring political opponents in the country.
Botswana is known to be a beacon of democracy, peace and stability in Africa and its foreign policy under the presidency of Khama took a major shift in dealing with leaders who refuse to leave power. Botswana has condemned Burundi’s government which earlier this year was embroiled in political crisis as President Pierre Nkurunziza refused to leave power at the end of his term. A number of people died in the protest which ensued, but Nkurunziza remained in office without a political solution. Khama last year had the courage to call the ageing Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe to leave power, because in his opinion, he (Mugabe) had become a burden to the entire SADC region.
You may like
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.