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Three Ministers to retire from active politics

Labour and Home Affairs minister, Edwin Batshu

Fresh information reaching Weekend Post suggests that three serving ministers will not be seeking re-election in 2019. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Labour and Home Affairs minister, Edwin Batshu and Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso are all set to retire from active politics in three years time.

This publication understands that the trio are retiring from active politics solely due to old age. All the Ministers are in their 60’s. In an interview this week, Tshireletso said she will issue an official statement on her retirement at the right time.

“I have to inform the President first because he has entrusted me with the Ministry of local development. Thereafter, I will hold a series of kgotla meetings in my constituency (Mahalapye East) to bid my constituents farewell. I will shed more light on the issue as the time goes on because I haven’t even discussed it with my family and the party,” she told this publication.

Tshireletso was first elected to Parliament in 2004 after serving for close to 20 years as a councillor.

Venson-Moitoi was cagey with details regarding her retirement from politics. “I am not in a position to comment further on my retirement. Maybe those who told you have more information than me,” she remarked. Venson-Moitoi joined active politics in 1999 when the then President, Festus Mogae appointed her as one of the four specially elected Members of Parliament. In 2004, she was elected as Serowe South MP, the position she still holds today. In addition, she has held various cabinet portfolios in Works, Transport and Communications, Trade and Industry, Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Science and Technology as well as Education and Skills Development.

Edwin Batshu’s mobile phone rang unanswered despite numerous attempts by this publication.

The former commissioner of Botswana Police joined active politics in 2008. He was elected Member of Parliament for Nkange in 2009, a position he still holds today. He has been serving as Minister of Labour and Home Affairs since 2011.

A highly placed source within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) told this publication that the party is already identifying possible replacements for the three Ministers. At Serowe South, it is believed that former Botswana ambassador to United States, Tebelelo Seretse will succeed Venson-Moitoi should she win both the BDP primary elections to be held in 2018 and the 2019 general elections. Seretse once served as the MP for the constituency from 1999 until 2004.

At Nkange constituency, the BDP is said to be working at the speed of light to counter the growing numbers of Botswana Congress Party (BCP). Electoral results indicate that the BCP has grown significantly in the area over the years. In the last general elections, Batshu won by a slight margin of 600 over BCP’s Dr. Never Tshabang. The party has also noted the concern raised by the constituents that most of the legislators were not from Tutume, which is the major village in the constituency. Batshu hails from Maitengwe while his predecessor, Ambrose Masalila was from Nswazwi.

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Masisi to make things right with Dangote

26th October 2020

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.

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Dow wants GBV culprits isolated

26th October 2020
Unity Dow

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.

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State ignores Butterfly P85 million suit threat

26th October 2020

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.

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