ABM University College, one of Botswana first private tertiary education institutions has been applauded for their recently opened Entrepreneurial Development Center.
The center which is to be located in GaPhatshwa village, in Kweneng District, will incubate youth enterprises and mentor young Botswana entrepreneurs through business capacity building, equipping them with market scouting skills and strategic entrepreneurial practices to build reputable sustainable profit making entities.
The aim of the institute is to create 10 million young Batswana millionaires over a period of 10 years through this initiative. According to the Executive Manager of ABM University College, Daisy Mmabatho Molefhi, the centre comes after they realised as an institution that the skills equipped to their graduates go to waste due to harsh entrepreneurship challenges after university life.
“Our Alumni leave the institution with technical knowhow and necessary skills to start their own businesses, but the reality on the outside frustrates them due to lack of funds, physical space and other business challenges,” She said. Molefhi explained that her institution is committed to ensure young Batswana get the best education system that enhance entrepreneurial spirit, which translates to business development , economic growth and provision of employment opportunities .
The High Commissioner of Kenya to Botswana, Jean Kimani, applauded the initiative by ABM, citing that it comes at a time when the government of Botswana was on the move to empower young entrepreneurs and develop conducive environment for private sector to setup job creating businesses, “I want to applaud and congratulate Mrs. Molefhi and her dedicated ABM team for the passion and drive towards coming up with this important initiative.
It comes at a time when Botswana is in the quest to diversify and transform its economy. ” She added that fostering entrepreneurship was a priority for government and private sector and was the only way the country can back new ideas and create new jobs as well as consequently ensure quantifiable economic growth.
For his part, area Member of Parliament for Lentsweletau, Vincent Seretse, showered Molefhi’s team with accolades for an initiative he noted will go a long way into creating much needed employment as, “the location of the center in GaPhatshwa will create jobs for locals, talk of cleaners, helpers, center facilitators, security personnel just to name a few.”
Vincent Seretse who doubles as Minister of Investment Trade and Industry, also indicated that developments such as the entrepreneurial facilitation centers complements his ministry efforts to diversify the economy and creates sustainable investments. “The mandate and purpose of this center which is to develop the entrepreneur and equip them with necessary business skills, is also one of our core mandates at my ministry,” Minister Seretse said, stipulating that the center will support his ministry‘s Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) efforts as well as domestic and foreign-domestic partnership investments.
ABM University also launched its Entrepreneurship clubs on Monday. The club intends to further facilitate and empower young people into starting business and creating employment for themselves through partnership and networking. Speaking at the official launch dinner, ABM Managing director, Daisy Molefhi, further explained that her institution is commitment to promoting entrepreneurship in young people adding that the club which was officially launched by Minister Seretse intends to create 10 young millionaires in 10 years.
“I know as I pronounce this target it seems unachievable but watch and see, we are committed to make it happen,” Molefhi promised. Minister Seretse reiterated her words; “It is the business that drive the economy, not politicians. Politicians only come up with policies that are influenced by business people.”
Seretse further encouraged club members to take up their rightful position in creating wealth for the country and unleashing employment opportunities for themselves: “As enterprising young people, know your role and understand that it is significant in shaping the direction of Botswana’s economic growth.”
Prince Mochau, ABM Alumni, rose to praise ABM University College for producing business entrepreneurship that can grow the country’s economy and create jobs, “After graduating from ABM, I opened a security company that is currently doing well in the market because of the teaching I got from ABM and I want to commend the institution for furthering its teachings into realistic capacity building initiatives which will empower and promote more youth entrepreneurs.”
Botswana Innovation HUB
Meanwhile on the same Monday this week, Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with African Innovation Foundation, an initiative which intends to boost and catalyse innovation spirit in Botswana. According to BIH, the signing of MoU was to make official, a partnership which targets to strengthen ecosystems and commercialise innovation in Botswana, as well as promote a culture of entrepreneurship across the country.
The agreement was signed by Alan Boshwaen, Chief Executive Officer, BIH and Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) Director at the Africa Innovation Fund (AIF). BIH executive, Tigele Mokobi, told WeekendPost in an interview that the MoU was an extension of the collaboration established in June last year and will focus on four areas, being to develop an effective national competition and robust BIH process for vetting innovations and mobilizing IPA applicants, support the national systems of innovation, build capacity of local innovators and broaden existing networks and Mobilise resources to implement selected activities.
“We are very excited about the partnership and looking forward to a fruitful coalition towards enhancing innovative entrepreneurship” He said. Speaking after signing the MoU in GaPhatshwa village, during a recent ABM Entrepreneurial Development Center official opening, Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, Director for Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), noted that AIF was looking forward to supporting BIH in its efforts to strengthen the innovation landscape in Botswana and to develop mechanisms that enable local innovators to achieve scale and commercial viability.
“BIH has taken significant strides in developing local capacity and we are delighted to welcome them into AIF’s Pan African network of innovation enablers working to unleash the potential of African innovators” she said
BIH Chief Executive Officer, Alan Boshwaen also expressed his delight over the partnership, stipulating that it comes at the right time when BIH is in the process of launching BIH Fund, a seed-fund aimed at commercialising viable innovations locally. He stated that adoption of the IPA process of vetting innovation will bring credibility to BIH innovation fund process.
“BIH will work with AIF towards building a robust screening process and mobilising local innovators across the country based on a rigorous selection process. A series of workshops and events will be organised at a national level to leverage the strategic collaborative efforts,” he explained.
Minister of Tertiary Education, Research and Technology, Alfred Madigele applauded both ABM University College and BIH for a fruitful quest towards promoting entrepreneurship “Tertiary education institutions must induct student as a source of innovation and ideas , partnership with renounced institution like Botswana Innovation Hub is also equally important,” he said.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.