Connect with us
Advertisement

BDP MP blasts Gov’t over Boteti neglect

Boteti East Member of Parliament, Sethomo Lelatisitswe

Boteti East Member of Parliament, Sethomo Lelatisitswe has challenged government to focus on developing areas that are the heart of the country’s economy.
The youthful legislator, who replaced former cabinet minister Lebonaamang Mokalake as the area MP told this publication this week that despite mining activity spanning over 40 years in Boteti, the area has been grossly neglected.  

Lelatisitswe stated that people in Boteti benefit merely nothing as compared to other areas which ironically, according to him contribute little or nothing to the country’s economy. “There are many areas in Botswana which are more developed than Boteti, yet they do not have a single economic activity,” he said.

According to Lelatisitswe, areas like Jwaneng and Letlhakane should be given more priority as far as developments are concerned to avoid a situation the communities degenerate to poverty at a later stage when the minerals are no longer there. “The time has arrived for the government to consider these areas as focus for development,” he said.

The MP is of the view that government should know where its bread is buttered and start investing in the places that contribute to the country’s economy. “You look at areas like Kasane, where tourism is the major economic activity, you will find that the people there benefit better than people of Boteti from mining activities,” he argued.

The first Botswana diamond mine was discovered in 1969, in Orapa 20km from Letlhakane. Currently there are four mines in Letlhakane and Orapa.

Lelatisitswe remarked that during recession, it became clear that Boteti”s economy is purely dependent on mining without any significant investment in the area. “During recession when people lost their jobs, Letlhakane was just a ghost village with a lot of unoccupied houses,” he said.

The lawmaker also went on to state that government should bear in mind the implications brought about by mining to the people staying in the areas, including those who pursue farming. He said, as a result of mining, boreholes are experiencing a problem in the area.

From the onset, government opted for a policy which ensured that all natural resources including minerals are shared equally by the state. This has however resulted in debates on whether resources should be shared equally owing to disparities experienced by other areas in terms of development.  

The policy on natural resources however has risked being challenged following Khama’s decision to adopt a policy which gives preference to local communities in plot allocation in peri-urban areas. The land policy reserves 70 percent of allocated plots to the locals. The idea was initially brought before parliament by former MP for Ramotswa, Odirile Motlhale.

In 2013, BDP Secretary General and then MP for Gaborone Bonnington South made an effort to challenge government to also consider giving 15 percent of the mineral revenues to local communities. This was in the wake of government’s decision to introduce quota systems in land allocation.  

In other countries, South Africa included, mining rights are held by the communities in which mining activities take place in. In an arrangement where rights are held by the community, mining companies make a regular payment to the community for extracting the minerals. In Botswana the lease agreement is between government and the mining companies.

Lelatisitswe also spoke against Sub-District Councils, as he contends that they are useless since they do not have powers to make critical decisions in the communities they serve. He said government should transform them into fully fledged districts so that they can serve people effectively.
Boteti Sub-District falls under Central District Council (CDC), which is the biggest the district in the country in terms of population and size. Lelatisitswe is convinced that as a result of housing so many sub-district councils, the Council has proved to be ineffective.

Continue Reading

News

UDC founder warns against merger

19th October 2020
Ex UDC Convener: Mpotokwane

Lebang Mpotokwane, one of the conveners who presided over the opposition cooperation talks that resulted in the formation of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has advised against changing the current umbrella model in favour of a merger as proposed by others.

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Dumelang Saleshando recently went public to propose that UDC should consider merging of all opposition parties, including Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BNF).

Saleshando has been vehemently opposed by Botswana National Front (BNF), which is in favour of maintaining the current model.  BNF’s position has been favoured by the founding father of UDC, who warned that it will be too early to ditch the current model.

“UDC should be well developed to promote the spirit of togetherness on members and the members should be taught so that the merger is developed gradually. They should approach it cautiously. If they feel they are ready, they can, but it would not be a good idea,” Mpotokwane told WeekendPost this week.

Mpotokwane and Emang Maphanyane are the two men who have since 2003 began a long journey of uniting opposition parties in a bid to dethrone the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BCP) as they felt it needed a strong opposition to avoid complacency.

Tonota born Mpotokwane is however disappointed on how they have been ejected from participating in the last edition of talks ahead of the 2019 general elections in which BCP was brought on board.  However, despite the ejection, Mpotokwane is not resentful to the opposition collective.

He said the vision of opposition unity was to ultimately merge the opposition parties but he believes time has not arrived yet to pursue that path. “The bigger picture was a total merger and we agreed that with three independent parties, members might be against merger eventuality so the current model should be used until a point where they are now together for as long as possible,” he said.

“UDC should gradually perform better in elections and gain confidence. They should not rush the merger. We have been meeting since 2003, but if they rush it might cause endless problems. If they are ready they can anyway,” he advised. For now the constituent parties of the umbrella have been exchanging salvos with others (BCP and BNF).

“There are good reasons for and against merging the parties. Personally, I am in favour of merging the parties (including AP and BPF) into a single formation but I know it’s a complex mission that will have its own challenges,” Saleshando said when he made his position known a week ago.

“Good luck to those advocating for a merger, it will be interesting to observe the tactics they will use to lure the BPF into a merger,” former BNF councillor for Borakalalo Ward and former BNF Youth League Secretary General, Arafat Khan, opined in relation to BCP’s proposed position.

Mpotokwane, who is currently out in the cold from the UDC since he was ejected from the party’s NEC in 2017, said the current bickering and the expected negotiations with other parties need the presence of conveners.

“We did not belong to any party as conveners so we were objective in our submissions. If party propose any progressive idea we will support, if it is not we will not, so I would agree that even now conveners might be key for neutrality to avoid biasness,” he observed. Despite being abandoned, Mpotokwane said he will always be around to assist if at all he is needed.

“If they want help I will be there, I have always been clear about it, but surely I will ask few questions before accepting that role,” he said. UDC is expected to begin cooperation talks with both AP and BPF either this week or next weekend for both upcoming bye-elections (halted by Covid-19) and 2024 general elections and it is revealed that there will be no conveners this time around.

Continue Reading

News

BDP attaches Boko’s property

19th October 2020
DUMA BOKO

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) moved through its lawyers to attach the property of Umbrella for Democratic (UDC) President Duma Boko and other former parliamentary contestants who failed in their court bid to overturn the 2019 general elections in 14 constituencies.

WeekendPost has established that this week, Deputy Sheriffs were commissioned by Bogopa Manewe Tobedza and Company who represented the BDP, to attach the properties of UDC elections contents in a bid to recover costs.  High Court has issued a writ of execution against all petitioners, a process that has set in motion the cost recovery measures.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading

News

COVID-19 exposes decay in the education system

19th October 2020
Education Systm

Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) says COVID-19 as a pandemic has negatively affected the education sector by deeply disrupting the education system. The intermittent lockdowns have resulted in the halting of teaching and learning in schools.

The union indicated that the education system was caught napping and badly exposed when it came to the use of Information System (IT), technological platforms and issues of digitalisation.

“COVID-19 exposed glaring inefficiencies and deficiencies when it came to the use of ITC in schools. In view of the foregoing, we challenge government as BOSETU to invest in school ITC, technology and digitalization,” says BOSETU President Kinston Radikolo during a press conference on Tuesday.

As a consequence, the union is calling on government to prioritise education in her budgeting to provide technological infrastructure and equipment including provision of tablets to students and teachers.

“Government should invest vigorously in internet connectivity in schools and teacher’s residences if the concept of flexi-hours and virtual learning were to be achieved and have desired results,” Radikolo said.

Radikolo told journalists that COVID-19 is likely to negatively affect final year results saying that the students would sit for the final examinations having not covered enough ground in terms of curriculum coverage.

“This is so because there wasn’t any catch up plan that was put in place to recover the lost time by students. We warn that this year’s final examination results would dwindle,” he said.

The Union, which is an affiliate of Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Union (BOFEPUSU), also indicated that COVID-19’s presence as a pandemic has complicated the role of a teacher in a school environment, saying a teacher’s role has not only transcended beyond just facilitating teaching and learning, but rather, a teacher in this COVID-19 era, is also called upon to enforce the COVID-19 preventative protocols in the school environment.

“This is an additional role in the duty of a teacher that needs to be recognized by the employers. Teachers by virtue of working in a congested school environment have become highly exposed and vulnerable to COVID-19, hence the reason why BOSETU would like teachers to be regarded as the frontline workers with respect to COVID-19,” says Radikolo.

BOSETU noted that the pandemic has in large scales found its way into most of the school environments, as in thus far more than 50 schools have been affected by COVID-19. The Union says this is quite a worrying phenomenon.

“As we indicated before when we queried that schools were not ready for re-opening, it has now come to pass that our fears were not far-fetched. This goes out to tell that there is deficiency in our schools when it comes to putting in place preventative protocols. In our schools, hygiene is compromised by mere absence of sanitizers, few hand-washing stations, absence of social distancing in classes,” the Union leader said.

Furthermore, Radikolo stressed that the shifting system drastically increased the workload for teachers especially in secondary schools. He says teachers in these schools experience very high loads to an extent that some of them end up teaching up to sixty four periods per week, adding that this has not only fatigued teachers, but has also negatively affected their performance and the quality of teaching.

In what the Union sees as failure to uphold and honour collective agreements by government, owing to the shift system introduced at primary schools, government is still in some instances refusing to honour an agreement with the Unions to hire more teachers to take up the extra classes.

“BOSETU notes with disgruntlement the use of pre-school teachers to teach in the mainstream schools with due regard for their specific areas of training and their job descriptions. This in our view is a variation of the terms of employment of the said teachers,” says Radikolo.

The Union has called on government to forthwith remedy this situation and hire more teachers to alleviate this otherwise unhealthy situation. BOSETU also expressed concerns of some school administrators who continuously run institutions with iron fists and in a totalitarian way.

“We have a few such hot spot schools which the Union has brought to attention the Ministry officials such as Maoka JSS, Artesia JSS, and Dukwi JSS. We are worried that the Ministry becomes sluggish in taking action against such errant school administration. In instances where action is taken, such school administrators are transferred and rotated around schools.”

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!