Miss Plus Size Universe Botswana organisers, Fab Fast Collections have moved to drop reigning queen, Mmangaka Coreen Tumagole in favour of Natasha Tshephang Olopeng, who is the pageant’s reigning second princess. Tumagole was to represent the country in Trinidad and Tobago on March 4 this year.
Interestingly, Olopeng is said to be the youngest daughter of Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng. The same ministry is believed to have sponsored the event that was staged last year October in Gaborone. It is not yet clear whether it would sponsor the contestant’s trip to Trinidad and Tobago.
A statement released by Fab Fast Collections Pty (Ltd) on behalf of the event organiser, Gorata Kekgethile and Miss Plus Size Universe Botswana, the company announced that, “Due to unfortunate circumstances that we have been aware of regarding our client, we would like to apologise to all our sponsors and supports for substituting her. Botswana shall be represented by Natasha Tshepang Olopeng who was the 2nd Princess. This decision was not based on the director but the sponsors.”
When reached for comment, Kekgethegile revealed to this publication that Tumagole was dropped because of her behaviour and failing to meet some of her contractual agreements like attending gym sessions. According to Tumagole, the news came as a surprise to her. In fact, she learnt that she would not be going to Trinidad and Tobago on Monday this week, through a cellphone message from Kekgethegile.
“We were supposed to meet Orange Botswana together, who we were trying to lure as sponsors, but I got a text message from her (Kekgethegile) saying she would not be going with me,” she explained. The text message, seen by WeekendPost reads, “Morning I don’t think going to Orange together is a good idea since I want to give you termination of contract, however I still need to meet you to discuss this.”
However, the duo then met on Wednesday afternoon where Kekgethegile gave Tumagole the official termination letter which states that the reasons for termination include among others, failure to meet the specified weight of 112 kg, social media misrepresentation and communication problems.
The letter also states that she must return the crown and tiara as well as the Queen’s sash. At the same meeting, Kekgethegile, according to Tumagole said that they would still continue working together and that she would represent the country at Miss Plus Size International in Beijing on April 22nd.
Surprisingly, weight was never a problem initially. During auditions, the specifications were that contestants should be size 36 and above. After crowning, Tumagole was to attend gym sessions to ‘tone up.’ But Kekgethegile insisted that “She hasn’t lost weight so she doesn’t qualify in Trinidad and Tobago.”
She however declined to give any further information when pressed further as to when they learnt that the queen would have to lose some weight. In a pageant setup, should the reigning Queen be recalled, or be unable to continue with her duty, the immediate substitute is the 1st Princess not the second Princess. Gabby Mochudi who is 1st Princess should have taken over, however, according to Kekgethegile, Mochudi cannot take up the duty as she has lost weight and does not meet the criteria. She chose to not comment further on the issue.
Shockingly, Mochudi was clueless about the latest developments and said she was never contacted by Kekgethegile with regards to the issue. She denied having lost any weight since the crowning. “As far as I know I have not lost any weight and I still meet the criteria to compete at the international stage,” she said.
According to Tumagole, she and the organisers have always experienced problems, particularly with Kekgethegile. She alleges that all hell broke loose when she demanded to be paid the outstanding balance of her prize money. The Prize money was set at P10 000 for the overall winner but she maintains that she has only been given P7 000 which she received in instalments.
“But I have learnt that Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture who were the main sponsors have released the payout cheque,” she said. “I have done nothing wrong; my problem is my ability to voice out my opinion. This is unfair business and breach of contract that I have penned down with them,” the recalled queen stated.
According to the contract signed by the two parties it was agreed that the contract can be terminated in case “She is wearing curlers, sponge, paper, rods or any other kind of hair- setters, or whatsoever when going out in public or failing to conceal any tattoos or getting new ones.”
She further told this publication that she would not take the issue lying down as she intends to file for an urgent application for breach of contract and defamation of character. She highlighted that, while she was aware she was to attend gym sessions to tone up and keep fit, she did attend some but stopped only after a foot injury and was to commence this month (January), a fact the organisers were aware of.
“What is disheartening is the fact that I worked hard to lure in more sponsors and right now I’m not even sure how much I raised, so Olopeng will be using my monies,” she said. At press time, Natasha was reportedly in South Africa, and a WhatsApp message was sent to her but she ignored it, choosing instead to call Kekgethegile to inform her of the message. Kekgethegile in turn charged at Tumagole accusing her of giving out Natasha’s contacts.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.