The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) agree that the need for cooperation among them is urgent. UDC president Duma Boko told journalists at a media briefing on Friday that BCP President Dumelang Saleshando agrees that the matter must be dealt with urgently.
The gallant performance of the UDC has given those opposed to the ruling BDP that there is a chance for usurping power. The UDC is not planning to disband following the general elections and the party leaders insist that the party was not formed solely for the purpose of the eleventh Parliament.
The UDC Vice President (V.P) Ndaba Gaolathe stressed this week in an interview that the three opposition parties, Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) united under the UDC not for temporary purpose of the just ended general election, but because there was need to unite the opposition. Boko informed the media on Friday that they expect the BCP to take steps to join in at the right time.
“Even in our agreement it does not show that it was done specifically for the 2014 general elections. This is an evolution and like any evolution we get better with time,” pointed out Ndaba who doubles as the BMD President and a member of parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South.
The UDC was formed in 2013 at the influence of the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) following a historic two months long public sector strike.
Meanwhile Duma Boko believes that the UDC would take opposition to victory in the next general elections expected in five years’ time. “The UDC is a political entity dually registered by the register of society. It will continue to grow with the support of its affiliate members,” Boko explained.
Boko is also the President of the BNF and a newly elected Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington North.
The UDC has seen both BNF and BMD win seventeen Parliamentary seats with BMD holding ten seats and the BNF seven. In total the UDC holds 115 Council seats around the country.
Khama congratulated Boko Boko revealed that President Khama called him and congratulated him following the performance of the UDC in the just ended election cycle. He said the president has promised to work with the opposition in the interest of the public. He said Khama also promised to meet opposition Members of Parliament to engage them on national issues.
The UDC president also promised to work with President Khama to ensure that national ideals are pushed forward. Still on engagement with other leaders, Boko said he has received a message of congratulation from BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando who is also supportive of a united opposition going ahead of the 2019 elections. The UDC leader declared that he is a leftist by orientation and will never join the ruling BDP.
Opposition supports Nasha for Speaker The main opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are clear on their choice for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. Boko indicated that they have Margaret Nasha as Speaker and Abram Kesupile as her deputy.
“Parliament will be a battle of ideas not of blood and dust. We prefer that Madam Nasha becomes speaker and that her deputy is Kesupile. It is a realistic position. The understanding that the best two at to work is to give and take. Nasha is very experienced. We note her passion for the independence of parliament and we think we should assist her. She is very fair and firm. We think that is the type of speaker this parliament will need,” said Boko.
President Khama has taken Parliament and all political parties represented in Parliament to court over the process through which the election of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Vice President is conducted. He wants it to be done by show of hands while Parliamentary Standing Orders dictate that it be done through a secret ballot.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.