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Friday, 01 December 2023

Tshekedi reads malice in Gumas actions

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Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, who is the younger brother to the country’s sitting President, Ian Khama, has accused the Parliamentary committee and its Chairperson, Samson Guma, of conniving to hurt his political ambitions.


Guma, who is the Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Enterprises (PCSBE), had summoned minister Tshekedi this week to appear for the second time before the committee to answer for his alleged maladministration at the Ministry. This was on the back of developing events at the beleaguered Botswana Tourism Board (BTO where Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Dithebe was instructed to cut his stay at the organisation short without any reasonable explanation. Dithebe’s work contract was abruptly terminated, allegedly at the instruction of the Minister.  


“We know here it may look like the committee is doing its job, which I do not have a problem with. But me and you [Guma] know beyond the parameters of this wall there is politics behind it,” Tshekedi levelled the accusation.
His point was that, in as much as he admitted that his Ministry wasted huge sums of tax payers’ money, other Ministries had done the same and squandered billions of government money and yet they were not being grilled as his Ministry was.   
“I also want this [probing] extended to other institutions that have wasted billions of government money. And I’m glad my ministry has not wasted as much.”


Tshekedi is said to have ordered Dithebe to implement a new organisational structure which will cost government an additional P22 Million in the current financial year. The Minister reportedly informed BTO that the shortfall will be financed through a supplementary budget request. Meanwhile he was flouting the BTO regulations by allowing it to run without a board for sometime while he called all the shots. Tshekedi said, although he admits guilt and takes full responsibility of what happened in the aftermath, his actions were carried out in good faith.


“Of course I agree that it took a long time to appoint BTO board, but there was a reason behind it because I wanted to appoint the right people,” he said.
“We have your BCL, BDC (Botswana Development Corporation), BMC (Botswana Meat Commission) and BPC (Botswana Power Cooperation) all of them had boards but cost government billions of pula. But they had the boards. That is why I wanted to be careful on who I appoint to the BTO board.”


Tshekedi informed the committee that he has since appointed the BTO board and it is expected to be operational effective 1st November 2016.
With the committee keeping Tshekedi on his toes with regards to the maladministration at BTO, which include possible nepotism, the hot tampered minister revealed that it was not only BTO facing some sort of trouble, and further revealed that many institutions are much worse but are not subject of interrogation.


“The reason why this committee exists is to indentify wrong doing in operations of government institutions, which it is doing now. My plea is that the committee should also look into other institutions as well, not just my ministry.”
Tshekedi did not mince his words as he told the committee he has been dealing with “liars” at his ministry, referring to his Permanent Secretary, Elias Magosi and BTO departed CEO, Dithebe.
“Most of the time I used to trust everything they said to me, including signing of the letters. But for all this time I was being misled,” he said.


The Serowe North West legislator conceded that the relationship between him and the duo had not been good in recent years, adding that he had tried to rekindle the relationship but failed.
Tshekedi even told Guma that, as a former Assistant Minister, he should be privy to how public officials can easily mislead cabinet ministers.


“When you [Guma] were the Assistant Minister of Finance [Finance and Development Planning] you were misled into approving the P4 billion request by BPC which later turned out to be a bad decision,” he said and added,  “It is happening across all the ministries.”
However, Guma insisted that the committee should recommend for a forensic audit at BTO in a report which is scheduled to be submitted to parliament.
Although Tshekedi was half hearted about accepting the suggestion of forensic audit, he gave it a lee way if it is for the good purpose of the committee.


PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS


Tshekedi spoke authoritatively about the political ill-motive of seeking to discredit him using the committee. Although Guma instructed Tshekedi not to give the media interviews with regards to the proceedings of the committee, it is obvious that Tshekedi views the recent developments having a lot to do with his presidential ambitions. Tshekedi, who is the younger brother of President Ian Khama, has declared his presidential ambitions ahead of the 2019 general elections.


With conspiracy theories becoming common, it is believed the power struggle between incumbent Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who is the apparent heir to the throne and other possible challengers, is gaining momentum.
Reports were rife recently that the closure of BCL was also politically motivated, something which Masisi dismissed as ‘mischievous’.  One of the two Selibe Phikwe constituencies belongs to Nonofo Molefhi who is a rival of Masisi.


It is reported that Molefhi and Kitso Mokaila were some of the cabinet members who opposed the decision to put BCL on provisional liquidation, which might ultimately lead to the permanent closure of the company. Mokaila has since been transferred to Ministry of Transport and Communications.

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19 Bokamoso Private Hospital nurses graduate at Lenmed Nursing College

28th November 2023

The graduation of 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College marks a significant milestone in their careers. These nurses have successfully completed various short learning programs, including Adult Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Nursing Care, Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing, Anaesthetic Nursing, and Recovery Room Nursing. The ceremony, held in Gaborone, was a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Lenmed Nursing College, a renowned healthcare group with a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana, has been instrumental in providing quality education and training to healthcare professionals. The Group Head of Operations, Jayesh Parshotam, emphasized the importance of upskilling nurses, who are at the forefront of healthcare systems. He also expressed his appreciation for the partnerships with Bokamoso Private Hospital, the Ministry of Health, and various health training institutes in Botswana.

Dr. Morrison Sinvula, a consultant from the Ministry of Health, commended Lenmed Health and Lenmed Nursing College for their commitment to the education and training of these exceptional nurses. He acknowledged their guidance, mentorship, and support in shaping the nurses’ careers and ensuring their success. Dr. Sinvula also reminded the graduates that education does not end here, as the field of healthcare is constantly evolving. He encouraged them to remain committed to lifelong learning and professional development, embracing new technologies and staying updated with the latest medical advancements.

Dr. Gontle Moleele, the Superintendent of Bokamoso Private Hospital, expressed her excitement and pride in the graduating class of 2023. She acknowledged the sacrifices made by these individuals, who have families and responsibilities, to ensure their graduation. Dr. Moleele also thanked Lenmed Nursing College for providing this opportunity to the hospital’s nurses, as it will contribute to the growth of the hospital.

The certificate recipients from Bokamoso Private Hospital were recognized for their outstanding achievements in their respective programs. Those who received the Cum Laude distinction in the Adult Intensive Care Unit program were Elton Keatlholwetse, Lebogang Kgokgonyane, Galaletsang Melamu, Pinkie Mokgosi, Ofentse Seboletswe, Gorata Basupi, Bareng Mosala, and Justice Senyarelo. In the Emergency Nursing Care program, Atlanang Moilwa, Bakwena Moilwa, Nathan Nhiwathiwa, Mogakolodi Lesarwe, Modisaotsile Thomas, and Lorato Matenje received the Cum Laude distinction. Kelebogile Dubula and Gaolatlhe Sentshwaraganye achieved Cum Laude in the Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing program, while Keletso Basele excelled in the Anaesthetic Nursing program. Mompoloki Mokwaledi received recognition for completing the Recovery Room Nursing program.

In conclusion, the graduation of these 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College is a testament to their dedication and commitment to their profession. They have successfully completed various short learning programs, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields. The collaboration between Lenmed Nursing College, Bokamoso Private Hospital, and the Ministry of Health has played a crucial role in their success. As they embark on their careers, these nurses are encouraged to continue their professional development and embrace new advancements in healthcare.

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BNF secures 15 constituencies in UDC coalition, wants more

28th November 2023

The Botswana National Front (BNF) has recently announced that they have already secured 15 constituencies in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, despite ongoing negotiations. This revelation comes as the BNF expresses its dissatisfaction with the current government and its leadership.

The UDC, which is comprised of the BNF, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Alliance for Progressives (AP), and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), is preparing for the upcoming General Elections. However, the negotiations to allocate constituencies among the involved parties are still underway. Despite this, the BNF Chairman, Patrick Molotsi, confidently stated that they have already acquired 15 constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally.

Molotsi’s statement reflects the BNF’s long-standing presence in many constituencies across Botswana. With a strong foothold in these areas, it is only natural for the BNF to seek an increase in the number of constituencies they represent. This move not only strengthens their position within the UDC coalition but also demonstrates their commitment to serving the interests of the people.

In a press conference, BNF Secretary General, Ketlhafile Motshegwa, expressed his discontent with the current government leadership. He criticized the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for what he perceives as a disregard for the well-being of the Batswana people. Motshegwa highlighted issues such as high unemployment rates and shortages of essential medicines as evidence of the government’s failure to address the needs of its citizens.

The BNF’s dissatisfaction with the current government is a reflection of the growing discontent among the population. The Batswana people are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the failure to address pressing issues. The BNF’s assertion that the government is playing with the lives of its citizens resonates with many who feel neglected and unheard.

The BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, even before the negotiations have concluded, is a testament to their popularity and support among the people. It is a clear indication that the Batswana people are ready for change and are looking to the BNF to provide the leadership they desire.

As the negotiations continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the interests of the people. The allocation of constituencies should be done in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that the voices of all citizens are represented. The BNF’s success in securing constituencies should serve as a reminder to the other parties of the need to listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people they aim to represent.

In conclusion, the BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, despite ongoing negotiations, highlights their strong presence and support among the Batswana people. Their dissatisfaction with the current government leadership reflects the growing discontent in the country. As the UDC coalition prepares for the upcoming General Elections, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize the needs and aspirations of the people. The BNF’s success should serve as a reminder of the importance of listening to the voices of the citizens and working towards a better future for Botswana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Children’s summit to discuss funding of NGOS

21st November 2023

One of the key issues that will be discussed by the Childrens’ Summit, which will be hosted by Childline Botswana Trust on 28th – 30th November in Gaborone, will be the topical issue of financing and strengthening of civil society organizations.

A statement from Childline Botswana indicates that the summit will adopt a road map for resourcing the children’s agenda by funding organizations. It will also cover issues relating to child welfare and protection; aimed at mobilizing governments to further strengthen Child Helplines; as well as sharing of emerging technologies to enhance the protection of Children and promotion of their rights.

According to Gaone Chepete, Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement towards promoting practices and policies that fulfil children’s rights and welfare.

“Child Helplines in the region meet on a bi-annual basis to reflect on the state of children; evaluate their contribution and share experiences and best practice in the provision of services for children,” said Chepete.

The financing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the state or its functionaries has generated mixed reactions from within the civil society space, with many arguing that it threatened NGOs activism and operational independence.

In February 2019, University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo released a paper titled “State philanthropy: The demise of charitable organizations in Botswana,” in which he faulted then President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama for using charity for political convenience and annexing the operational space of NGOs.

“Civil society is the domain in which individuals can exercise their rights as citizens and set limits to the power of the state. The state should be developing capable voluntary organizations rather than emaciating or colonizing them by usurping their space,” argued Dipholo.

He further argued that direct involvement of the state or state president in charity breeds unhealthy competition between the state itself and other organizations involved in charity. Under these circumstances, he added, the state will use charity work to remain relevant to the ordinary people and enhance its visibility at the expense of NGOs.

“A consequence of this arrangement is that charitable organizations will become affiliates of the state. This stifles innovation in the sense that it narrows the ability of charitable organizations to think outside the box. It also promotes mono-culturalism, as the state could support only charitable organizations that abide by its wishes,” said Dipholo.

In conclusion, Dipholo urged the state to focus on supporting NGOs so that they operate in a system that combines philanthropic work and state welfare programs.

He added that state philanthropy threatens to relegate and render charitable organizations virtually irrelevant and redundant unless they re-engineer themselves.

Another University of Botswana (UB) academic, Professor Zibani Maundeni, opined that politics vitally shape civil society interaction; as seen in the interactions between the two, where there is mutual criticism in each other’s presence.

Over the years, NGOs have found themselves grappling with dwindling financial resources as donors ran out of money in the face of increased competition for financing. Many NGOs have also been faulted for poorly managing their finances because of limited strategic planning and financial management expertise. This drove NGOs to look to government for funding; which fundamentally altered the relationships between the two. The end result was a complete change in the operational culture of NGOs, which diminished their social impact and made them even more fragile. Increased government control through contract clauses also reduced NGOs activism and autonomy.

However, others believe that NGOs and government need each other, especially in the provision of essential services like child welfare and protection. Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele said government considers NGOs as critical partners in development.

“We recognize the role that NGOs play a critical role in the country’s development agenda,” said Modukanele.

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