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BDP split over ESP projects distribution

Cabinet Ministers, Edwin Batshu

An intense battle which had been simmering among ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members over the much touted Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP), played itself out last week at their Christmas session held at Party Chairman Mokgweetsi Masisi’s palace.

The get-together, which was punctuated with discussions of some of the party issues, got off to an ugly start with the ESP being at the heart of the controversy. The hot potato was the distribution of ESP projects of which ministers are accused of awarding their respective constituencies more than a lion’s share, leaving ordinary MPs with nothing, something the Backbenchers characterized as a vote-winning gimmick.

“Cabinet meets every Wednesday and indications are they took the decision at their weekly meeting. But it is unfair for them to give their constituencies bigger projects at the expense of others especially those held by Backbenchers. This is plainly their plan to win the hearts of voters so that by 2019 they can get re-elected,” a source told Weekendspost.

It is said some Cabinet Ministers like Shashe West MP Fidelis Molao and his Nkange counterpart, Edwin Batshu have already awarded themselves huge projects, with Batshu allegedly planning to develop the Tutume Primary hospital and some internal roads while others are not given a share.

The backbenchers, who learnt about this ‘covert operation’ before the meeting cried foul, especially that some of their places, are still underdeveloped almost 50  years after the country’s independence from Britain in 1966.

“They want this to be rectified and the distribution be done equitably looking at the needs of the various constituencies”, the source who attended the event said. It is said that some of the ‘ordinary’ legislatures even confronted Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo so he could intervene.

Upon seeing the situation was taking an ugly turn, Vice President and party Chairman, Mokgweetsi Masisi calmed the disgruntled legislators by coming up with a reconciliation plan to appease both parties.

“Masisi advised each MP to write down their needs so next year at the party caucus they can see how the developments could be fairly distributed, and this was given the thumbs-up by the members,” the Weekendpost source said.

The plan however – just like the ESP – was announced at the party meeting in October and is expected to be deliberated upon during a party closed-door convention.
Since this will be deliberated upon in a party setting what about the opposition held constituencies, will they get something?

“This is simply a party initiative; the BDP owns this programme and the chances of the opposition held constituencies getting something are very slim. The party will use this ESP thing to win the hearts of Batswana going into the next elections; people are being fooled about this whole developmental drive, and this is a BDP project,” an impeccable source told this publication.

However, it remains to be seen whether only the constituencies of MPs under the BDP will benefit, as the government has vehemently rubbished such allegations. Molepolole North and Gaborone Central, which are under the opposition MPs, have already had their share of developments planned.

President Dr Lt gen Ian Khama announced at a BDP Special Congress that Botswana will use some of its foreign currency reserves to fund an economic stimulus program.
He said the objective is “to stimulate the economy for accelerated employment creation and diversification.”

Botswana has foreign reserves of 88.1 billion pula ($8.55 billion) as of July, according to the Bank of Botswana. The stimulus plan will target tourism, farming, the construction of buildings and roads and manufacturing, Khama said.

Botswana forecasts that its budget will swing to a shortfall of 4.03 billion pula in the year ending March 2016 from a surplus of P3.67 billion in the previous year, due largely to slower sales of rough diamonds and lower metals prices.

“We have now seen that if we cut projects, our economy is going to stagnate. We have built up sufficient reserves and the time has come to use these reserves.”

The country will be “bringing back part of our funds which are managed in other countries for use here at home,” Khama said.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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