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EFB worried by crooked churches

The provocative Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) has once again, in its signature vocalist tone, attacked unscrupulous churches who milk congregations of their hard earned moneys – which they say is against the will of God.


The umbrella church movement which derives most of its affiliates from Pentecostal churches, otherwise known as “fire churches” many of which have been accused of running churches like business entities instead of non-profit organization, told Weekend Post that such churches are a disgrace to the entire church movement.  


As an umbrella of evangelical, Pentecostal and Para church organisations in the country, EFB told Weekend Post this week in a statement of the year titled “building a Botswana that God wants” that some churches financially exploit their susceptible congregations. According to EFB, as a country “we are experiencing un-orthodox evangelical teachings and practices which take advantage of our gullible population.”


EFB President, Pastor Master Obololetswe Matlhaope, said “such practices include teaching of the word of God for hefty prices, demanding money in exchange for prayers, selling material things as medium for healing and luck in the name of God.”
In the same communication to this publication, Matlhaope stressed that as evangelicals, they remind all and sundry that the gospel alone is the power of God and that prayer is “priceless.”


On corruption, nepotism…


EFB which prides itself with empowering members to become relevant to the socio-economic-political needs of the nation, also robustly cautioned against corruption practices in every work station across the country. “No corruption or under the table dealings that compromise laid down rules and procedures should be tolerated in our nation. Merit should always precede appointments for jobs and promotions.”


Going forward, Matlhaope said, as a nation, we should ensure that there is no nepotism or bribery and ensure that every Motswana has equal opportunities for any position they qualify for or tender in the country regardless of name, tribe, identity or where he or she comes from in Botswana.


On homosexuality (the unholy act)…


Known for their signature abhorrence to homosexuality, EFB, also took a swipe in a more calculated move to gays and lesbians – who are never spared the rod, for what the church movement describes as “unholy” act. “In our quest to social inclusiveness as a nation, we should not succumb to foreign pressures and inner propensities to do evil in the name of civil rights. Civil laws should be based on what is morally right. There cannot be a civil right to do a civil wrong,” EFB president asserted. He appealed to Batswana in general and to Christians especially to be steadfast and fearless in standing for their Christian convictions and values that they believe are right for them and for their nation.


On HIV/AIDS…
 

He however conceded that it is a fact based on the last census that majority of Botswana citizens are Christians and yet according to Botswana Aids Impact Survey (BAIS IV) the country is still one of the hardest hit when it comes to HIV prevalence.
“This would seem to be contradiction of facts. The explanation however, could be that we either are only professing Christians who do not live by Christian principles, or some other socio-economic factors could be at play.”


‘Botswana should be a knowledge based economy…’


Matlhaope continued to state that as EFB, they are concerned that our nation has at one point been at the top with regard to statistics on HIV infection and yet we have not seen this translate into knowledge and technology transfer. He maintained: “going forward, we should see ourselves being assertive to becoming a knowledge and technological base of the world where anti-retroviral treatment and new strategies are locally produced and initiated.”


Concerned about Botswana as the most unequal state…


In addition he said it is also a concern to have a country like Botswana where majority of the population are Christians and yet are the third most un-equal country in the world.  “Either we are professing Christian values of equality and equity but are not practical in our commitment to these Christian values. Despite strides being made to eradicate poverty, we are concerned that those graduating from poverty remain in the peripheries which make them susceptible to fall back into poverty bracket.”


On unemployment yet educated youth..


As a nation, he added that we are faced with growing rates of unemployment especially amongst the educated youth. He said this is a serious concern since an educated unemployed youth is a recipe to sophisticated crimes, undesired behaviors, target of transient foreign and evil cultures and socio-economic retrogression.


EFB boasts of a membership of denominations and organisations which have member branches across the country. Currently EFB membership stands at 79 and the voice of EFB is collective of this membership. The EFB is also a member of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, the World Evangelical Fellowship and the Botswana Council of NGOs (BOCONGO).

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Veteran journalist Karima Brown succumbs to COVID-19

4th March 2021
Karima-Brown

South Africa’s veteran journalist and broadcaster, Karima Brown has died on Thursday morning from COVID-19 related complications.

Media reports from the neighbouring country say Brown had been hospitalized and on a ventilator.

Brown anchored eNCA’s The Fix and was a regular political analyst on the eNCA channel.

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Botswana imports in numbers

1st March 2021
Botswana-imports

For so many years, Botswana has been trying to be a self-sufficient country that is able to provide its citizens with locally produced food products. Through appropriate collaborations with parastatals such as CEDA, ISPAAD and LEA, government introduced initiatives such as the Horticulture Impact Accelerator Subsidy-IAS and other funding facilities to facilitate horticultural farmers to increase production levels.

Now that COVID-19 took over and disrupted the food value chain across all economies, Botswana government introduced these initiatives to reduce the import bill by enhancing local market and relieve horticultural farmers from loses or impacts associated with the pandemic.

In more concerted efforts to curb these food crises in the country, government extended the ploughing period for the Southern part of Botswana. The extension was due to the late start of rains in the Southern part of the country.

Last week the Ministry of Agriculture extended the ploughing period for the Northern part of the country, mainly because of rains recently experienced in the country. With these decisions taken urgently, government optimizes food security and reliance on local food production.

When pigs fly, Botswana will be able to produce food to feed its people. This is evident by the numbers released by Statistics Botswana on imports recorded in November 2020, on their International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month under review.

The numbers say Botswana continues to import most of its food from neighbouring South Africa. Not only that, Batswana relies on South Africa to have something to smoke, to drink and even use as machinery.

According to data from Statistics Botswana, the country’s total imports amounted to P6.881 Million. Diamonds contributed to the total imports at 33%, which is equivalent to P2.3 Million. This was followed by food, beverages and tobacco, machinery and electrical equipment which stood at P912 Million and P790 Million respectively.

Most of these commodities were imported from The Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The Union supplied Botswana with imports valued at over P4.8 Million of Botswana’s imports for the month under review (November 2020). The top most imported commodity group from SACU region was food, beverages and tobacco, with a contribution of P864 Million, which is likely to be around 18.1% of the total imports from the region.

Diamonds and fuel, according to these statistics, contributed 16.0%, or P766 Million and 13.5% or P645 Million respectively. Botswana also showed a strong and desperate reliance on neighbouring South Africa for important commodities. Even though the borders between the two countries in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, government took a decision to open border gates for essential services which included the transportation of commodities such as food.

Imports from South Africa recorded in November 2020 stood at P4.615 Million, which accounted for 67.1% of total imports during the month under review. Still from that country, Botswana bought food, beverages and tobacco worth P844 Million (18.3%), diamonds, machinery and fuel worth P758 Million, P601 Million and P562 Million respectively.

Botswana also imported chemicals and rubber products that made a contribution of 11.7% (P542.2 Million) to total imports from South Africa during the month under review, (November 2020).

The European Union also came to Botswana’s rescue in the previous year. Botswana received imports worth P698.3 Million from the EU, accounting for 10.1% of the total imports during the same month. The major group commodity imported from the EU was diamonds, accounting for 86.9% (P606.6 Million), of imports from the Union. Belgium was the major source of imports from the EU, at 8.9% (P609.1 Million) of total imports during the period under review.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Thapelo Matsheka says an improvement in exports and commodity prices will drive growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth in the region is anticipated to recover modestly to 3.2% in 2021. Matsheka said this when delivering the Annual Budget Speech virtually in Gaborone on the 1st of February 2021.

He said implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which became operational in January 2021, could reduce the region’s vulnerability to global disruptions, as well as deepen trade and economic integration.

“This could also help boost competition and productivity. Successful implementation of AfCFTA will, of necessity, require Member States to eliminate both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and generally make it easier to do business and invest across borders.”

Matsheka, who is also a Member of Parliament for Lobatse, an ailing town which houses the struggling biggest meat processing company in the country- Botswana Meat Commission, (BMC), said the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) recognizes the need to prioritize the key processes required for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

“The revised SACU Tariff Offer, which comprises 5,988 product lines with agreed Rules of Origin, representing 77% of the SACU Tariff Book, was submitted to the African Union Commission (AUC) in November 2020. The government is in the process of evaluating the tariff offers of other AfCFTA members prior to ratification, following which Botswana’s participation in AfCFTA will come to effect.”

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Sheila Tlou: On why women don’t get votes

1st March 2021
Sheila Tlou

BARAPEDI KEDIKILWE

Women continue to shadow men in politics – stereotypes such as ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ cast the notion that women cannot lead. The 2019 general election recorded one of Botswana’s worst performances when it comes to women participation in parliamentary democracy with only three women elected to parliament.

Botswana’s former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Tlou who is currently the Co-Chair, Global HIV Prevention Coalition & Nursing Now and an HIV, Gender & Human Rights Activist is not amused by the status quo. Tlou attributes this dilemma facing women to a number of factors, which she is convinced influence the voting patterns of Batswana when it comes to women politicians.

Professor Tlou plugs the party level voting systems as the first hindrance that blocks women from ascending to power. According to the former Minister of Health, there is inadequate amount of professionalism due to corrupt internal party structures affecting the voters roll and ultimately leading to voter apathy for those who end up struck off the voters rolls under dubious circumstances.

Tlou also stated that women’s campaigns are often clean; whilst men put to play the ‘politics is dirty metaphor using financial muscle to buy voters into voting for them without taking into consideration their abilities and credibility. The biggest hurdle according to Tlou is the fallacy that ‘Women cannot lead’, which is also perpetuated by other women who discourage people from voting for women.

There are numerous factors put on the table when scrutinizing a woman, she can be either too old, or too young, or her marital status can be used against her. An unmarried woman is labelled as a failure and questioned on how she intends on being a leader when she failed to have a home. The list is endless including slut shaming women who have either been through a divorce or on to their second marriages, Tlou observed.

The only way that voters can be emancipated from this mentality according to Tlou is through a robust voter education campaign tailor made to run continuously and not be left to the eve of elections as it is usually done. She further stated that the current crop of women in parliament must show case their abilities and magnify them – this will help make it clear that they too are worthy of votes.

And to women intending to run for office, Tlou encouraged them not to wait for the eleventh hour to show their interest and rather start in community mobilisation projects as early as possible so that the constituents can get to know them and their abilities prior to the election date.

Youthful Botswana National Front (BNF) leader and feminist, Resego Kgosidintsi blames women’s mentality towards one another which emanates from the fact that women have been socialised from a tender age that they cannot be leaders hence they find it difficult to vote for each other.

Kgosidintsi further states that, “Women do not have enough economic resources to stage effective campaigns. They are deemed as the natural care givers and would rather divert their funds towards raising children and building homes over buying campaign materials.”

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Wynter Mmolotsi agrees that women’s participation in politics in Botswana remains a challenge. To address this Mmolotsi suggested that there should be constituencies reserved for women candidates only so that the outcome regardless of the party should deliver a woman Member of Parliament.

Mmolotsi further suggested that Botswana should ditch the First Past the Post system of election and opt for the proportional representation where contesting parties will dutifully list able women as their representatives in parliament.

On why women do not get elected, Mmolotsi explained that he had heard first hand from voters that they are reluctant to vote for women since they have limited access to them once they have won; unlike their male counterparts who have proven to be available night or day.

The pre-historic awarding of gender roles relegating women to be pregnant and barefoot at home and the man to be out there fending for the family has disadvantaged women in political and other professional careers.

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