Masitara anti-corruption drive annoys BDP
A hardliner ex-legislator Robert Masitara has this week found himself at odds with his party again and threatened with a disciplinary hearing by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top politburo.
Weekend Post has established that on Tuesday night a member of BDP in good standing who is also a cabinet minister, known to this publication, called the former legislator to tip him off of the imminent possibility of a disciplinary hearing. According to information gathered by this publication, the BDP politician cum philanthropist, Masitara has irked some of his party faithfuls, including the party top brass, by a face book post which was seen as “not in the interest of the party.”
The debatable face book post, which Weekend Post has seen reads thus: “I don’t believe in factions and it pains me to see members hating each other in support of these perceived corrupt and greedy leaders across the political divide.” It was not clear what the corruption busting BDP head was referring to.
He however pointed out blatantly that: “let us rebuild the BDP with proper and functioning systems and attract more members to the BDP. We need to expose and prosecute corrupt leaders who are sponsored by corrupt Indians, Chinese and other foreign nationals.”
The outspoken BDP socialite and owner of Masitara foundation then went on to justify through the post that “this is an innocent comment posted for the love of our country.” I am not attacking anyone; he said adding that the winds of change are blowing throughout the length and breadth of Botswana.
Known for his signature loathe for corruption and his love for shooting from the heap, he provoked party headship which it is understood have discussed the matter thereafter leading to others subsequently calling for his disciplinary action. When reached for a comment, Masitara laughed off but confirmed that “indeed he has been informed by some credible members of both government and party that he will face the disciplinary hearing in a span of time.” He however could not be thrown into further details treading cautiously of further reproaches.
However the BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane was clueless on the matter. He told Weekend Post that “I know of no disciplinary charge against Mr Masitara. If there was I would be in the know. What offence has he committed? I saw the face book post. If none of our people are not in the pockets of Chinese or Indians then why worry?” he wondered.
It is not the first time that the former law maker finds himself in hot soup over remarks he uttered. At one point while an MP, he said his counterpart and the then Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe should account for the “defective 15 billion pula Morupule B power station” as it was under his watchful as he was Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water resources while the project instigated.
He was also on the receiving ends with his counterparts in the party particularly his councillors over usage of campaign resources of the party in Gaborone Bonnington North where he was later humbled at the 2014 General Elections by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president Duma Boko.
Masitara for BDP chairmanship
Meanwhile the non-conformist politician has also separately confirmed to his inner circle this week that he is putting his head on the block and throwing his hat on the ring for BDP chairmanship. He is expected to face party head honchos and heavy weights including current legislator who represents Moshupa/Manyana doubling as Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi who will become president in March 2018 by virtue of his position.
Another serious contender in the race for party chairperson, whom Masitara will also contest against, is Selibe Phikwe East MP and cabinet Minister Nonofo Molefhi. Jacob Nkate is also in the race too. Masitara told his close associates that he wants to lead the BDP so as to particularly curb corruption that has been institutionalised. He said he has been threatened time and again as a legislator but believes if he leads he can execute the mandate diligently without any influence and interference.
“You see I cannot be led because I cannot do my job to the optimum level. If I am given the chance to lead BDP I will change a lot of things especially rooting out the institutionalised corruption and improving systems in place,” he said.
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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.
BDP MPs demand review of Ministers performance
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers were left frustrated when State Minister Kabo Morwaeng failed to furnish them with reports from various ministries at a party retreat held last month.
The two-day retreat of BDP MPs at Notwane Farms was held to discuss the implementation and progress of government projects in line with the party’s 2019 general elections manifesto, in order to assert themselves and press the President to take action against ineffective members of his cabinet. They believed that the laxity of these members could cost them the elections next year.
To accomplish this, the party had requested that each ministry submit their reports to the State Ministry, as it was the most senior ministry. These reports were expected to be assessed at the retreat to evaluate service delivery and the implementation of the party manifesto.
The ministries submitted their performance reports to the Ministry as agreed, but Masisi and the MPs did not have the opportunity to review them. This was the main agenda of the retreat, but when it commenced, and many were anticipating the reports, they were nowhere to be found.
“Minister Morwaeng told us (MPs) that he forgot to prepare them, and as a result, there was nothing to discuss. He said he would share those reports in our WhatsApp group. To us, that was an insult because it is a very serious matter, and we needed to discuss it and see which ministry is failing and how it can be assisted to ensure that service delivery is met,” revealed one MP to WeekendPost.
Reliable sources have informed this publication that one of the reasons why the reports were not shared is due to the poor performance of the State Ministry. It is said that the Minister decided not to share the reports because it would portray him as incompetent, especially since President Masisi was present and seeking suggestions from MPs.
It is understood that the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, performed well, while the Ministry of Health and the State Ministry performed poorly.
The MPs are primarily concerned about the lack of correlation between the ministries’ recurrent and development budgets.
“You would notice that in some cases, a ministry would spend their recurrent budget accordingly, but when you look at their development expenditure, it is at 15 percent. That’s the money that should ensure that people receive services and amenities, and we wanted to advise ministers to communicate with bureaucrats to address this,” added the MP.
Without the reports, and with the expected agenda now in tatters, it is said that President Masisi asked MPs to come up with suggestions on how to win public confidence to secure victory in the next elections. It was at this point that backbenchers asked President Mokgweetsi Masisi to crack the whip on ineffectual ministers who had failed to fulfill their mandates. MPs expressed their concerns to the President, particularly regarding the state of affairs at the hospitals.
“There is a serious shortage of medicines and personnel in our areas, especially in rural areas. We have been complaining about this situation for some time, but there seems to be no change,” one MP told WeekendPost.
“The state of our roads and infrastructure is in disrepair. What irks us the most is that we have been complaining about these things for some time, but there has been no change. We demand progress.”
The issue of poor delivery and the significant deficit in the ruling party’s election promises is so severe that President Masisi had his ministers sign performance agreements and annual performance plans. The President effectively read them the riot act, informing them that they would be fired if they continued to fall short in delivering on their mandates.
He told journalists at a press conference that he recently had a serious engagement with Minister of Health Minister Dr. Edwin Dikoloti and Assistant Minister of Health Sethomo Lelatisitswe regarding the deplorable state of affairs at public health facilities.