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Masitara joins presidential contestation

Former Gaborone West North law maker Robert Masitara

As the clock ticks towards the 2019 General Elections, more Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) insurgents are emerging from the shadows and declaring their interest in contesting the party’s presidential elections.

WeekendPost has this week established the latest party presidential entrant in the battle-field is former Gaborone West North law maker Robert Masitara.

Known for his signature trademark and loathe for corruption, the provocative politician will join other rivals who are said to be bidding for the country’s top post together with current Vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Masisi is expected to be the next president when incumbent President Ian Khama steps down after his 10 years term on April 1, 2018 – as automatic succession dictates. The Moshupa Manyana MP will be president for one year following which in 2019, there will be a special congress to elect the president who will take the party to the General Elections later on that year.

Masitara joins some top names who are believed to be contesting for the presidency which include Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology and Selibe Phikwe East MP Nonofo Molefhi and, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and Serowe West legislator Tshekedi Khama.

The list also comprises of former Minister of Communications, Science and Technology and Palapye legislator Boyce Sebetlela, former Minister of Education and current Ambassador of Botswana to Japan Jacob Nkate as well as former cabinet minister and Botswana’s Ambassador to the United States Tebelelo Seretse.

A spick-and-span source close to the maverick politician cum philanthropist who founded and chairs Masitara foundation told this publication that Masitara joins the contest as “many of the youth in the ruling BDP and even opposition parties see him as the only person who can rescue the BDP from losing power in 2019”.

It is understood that the controversial political figure is entering the race specifically for two reasons. “Firstly he cited that he has never associated with any of the talked about factions in the ruling party and therefore will be a neutral figure when elected as president of the party and can be a unifier of note.”

Another motive that facilitated Masitara to feature in the presidential contestation is that the latter is “well educated and experienced with linkages to World Bank, Interpol and other regional and international bodies – therefore making him better positioned to fight corruption tooth and nail in the country and to make sure that everyone involved is prosecuted”.

However, at one point Masitara was put under a cloud following his unsavoury remarks that former Vice President and ex-Minister responsible for Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who was overseeing Morupule B, the most expensive project thus far which has cost government more than 11 billion – should be prosecuted – as he has failed the country. He was however reprimanded by party top brass and bowed down.

Although Masitara’s marked exposure and experience has lent him the podium to be at the rudder of championing of good corporate governance, it has at the same time lent him in hot soup and in some instances pitted him against his companion party members.

The nonconformist politician fell out with some in the party and government while still MP carrying out investigations of corruption on government ministries and parastatals through the two parliamentary committees that he chaired.

The two committees include Parliamentary Committee on Governance and Oversight as well Parliamentary Standing Committee on State Owned Enterprises and Statutory Bodies – which has given him a bad name to some. “But he remains buoyant in the combat for corruption,” the highly placed source close to the corruption busting former MP highlighted.   

Masitara has also had differences with his councillors in Gaborone Bonnington North in the run-up to 2014 General Elections. While others have thrown stones at him, indications suggest that some foot soldiers in domkrag like militant Ratsie Setlhako and few young turks have been fighting in the corner of the debatable fellow party member.

When asked if Masitara understands the dynamics of politics and if he has a grasp of the pulse of BDP: “on the ground Masitara is having a steady grip on the party,” stated his associate who spoke to Weekend Post on Tuesday.

It is not the first time Masitara harbours presidential ambitions. In 2013, it was reported that Masitara believed that President Ian Khama – who he says recruited him into the party – has groomed him to be the next president.

According to the report, Masitara fancied himself as a politician with great credentials, high sense of humility and, in touch with the ordinary masses and therefore better positioned to lead Botswana after Khama.

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BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.


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Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.


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FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.









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