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UDC, BCP talks postponed again

BCP President Dumelang Saleshando and UDC President Duma Boko

The long awaited opposition cooperation talks between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) were postponed for the third time this week owing to internal feuds within one of its cooperating partners, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).

WeekendPost has established that the talks have so far been postponed for three consecutive times.

UDC President Duma Boko went on record while addressing the media earlier this year, stating that opposition negotiation talks would commence in April 2016.

Boko was addressing the media on plans that led to signing a Memorandum of Agreement between both UDC and BCP to enable them to officially cooperate in bye elections.

He told the press conference then that “the informal contacts (between him and Saleshando), are a prelude to more formal engagements that we hope to begin and if I may put some time frame to it, the hope is that the beginning of April we may commence these formal discussions between UDC and BCP.”

He added that: “so as I said to you, April we will engage in formal discussion about unity. I have no doubt in my mind that we will succeed. I have absolutely no doubt. And this is an ominous message to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). They must be quaking on their boots as I speak and I know they are freaked out because if there is anything they don’t want to hear and see is in fact this opposition cooperation,” the UDC leader said then.  

According to a high ranking source within the cooperating partners at the top table, the talks have been postponed several times – 3 times to be precise and all on account of BMD internal wars. “It is difficult to start. It can’t move. There were a number of postponements made when we were supposed to meet – owing to the BMD. Just recently, we should have met this week on Wednesday but did not.”

The cooperating party official elaborated that BMD president Ndaba Gaolathe, who it seems has lost control of his executive committee, appears to be having deep reservations about the inclusion of Advocate Sydney Pilane in the BMD negotiating team. It is understood that Pilane was roped in by the party national executive which itself is divided among factional lines.

“He has therefore assembled a team of elders led by Kgosikwena Sebele to convince Pilane to withdraw from the team.” So that is the issue really, the source emphasised. 

“There is a real possibility that we will drag on and on. We have been postponing this for several times now and we now have to move on,” he pointed out.

“The real problem is that it looks like the BMD does not have a plan for a way out. Most feel that a special congress is the answer. The Mahalapye Women’s wing results were very tight and swung on both factions. It is tricky.”

According to the source, Ndaba is hopeful that if Pilane is removed from the negotiating team he could easily question his membership status at the 2017 party national congress. He said: “but as it stands he (Pilane) is included as a representative of the party and therefore it will be difficult to say he is not a member. He is part of the committee of the National Executive.”

The initial plan was for the unity talks to commence in April through June and allow party conferences to continue uninterrupted from July. The party official revealed that because of the turn of events and delay in the talks, it will be difficult for cooperating parties to report back to their members’ of an outcome or progress of the unity talks, as was initially planned.

UDC, BCP will each dispatch 18 members in the negotiations

The negotiating parties will dispatch 18 members each to the negotiating table. Out of the 18, the UDC will be represented by 6 from Botswana National Front (BNF), 6 from Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), and 6 from BMD.

On the other hand BCP will send its 18 members to the opposition talks. The negotiations will be divided into 3 categories which include one addressing policy issues, the other looking into the issue of constituencies, and another one overseeing governance, constitution and power sharing matters which encompasses legal agreements between the partners. Six members from each party will be enrolled in each category.

Pilane has been roped in on governance and power sharing category which also touches on the legal aspects, and indications suggests that this seems to not sit well with some BMD cadres including BMD President, Gaolathe.

It is also understood that the presidents of the three parties will not make the teams of the negotiating parties and, advice was also extended for parties not to flood the teams with the executive members of the parties as well. It was understood that the executive will only look at negotiation reports from the negotiating teams.

Meanwhile, at the initial stage, new comers at BPP are said to be making serious demands already and indications are that the talks won’t be easy.

When reached for comment UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa acknowledged the delay in opposition cooperation talks but attributed it to recent bye elections. “Bye elections contributed a lot to the delay,” he said. The BCP mouth piece Dithapelo Keorapetse was not immediately available for comment on the matter.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

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.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

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.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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