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Moatlhodi vows to oust Olopeng

The immediate past deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Pono Moatlhodi says he has unfinished business with politics. In a candid telephonic interview with Weekend Post, the former Tonota legislator spoke at length about his political career and how he intends to deliver victory for Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

Though most politicians of his age are considering retirement from politics, Moatlhodi at the age of 65 still has zeal and ardour to try it out for a second time after he lost to his arch rival, Thapelo Olopeng in the last general elections.

“I still have some pending projects in the constituency that I would like to complete. There is still acute shortage of water at Shashe Mooke though the village is located 7km from Shashe dam. Tonota as a peri-urban area needs infrastructural development including a primary hospital and streets lights,” he stated.

Moatlhodi maintained that he was proud of the developments he brought to the constituency since he was elected area MP in 1999. He said that Tonota subordinate district council, internal roads in the village and the sewerage system are amongst the developments he strongly advocated for at Parliament.

He also told this publication that he has already started the campaign for the next general elections. Moatlhodi declined to comment about his relations with his successor, Olopeng.

Any chances of rejoining BDP?

Moatlhodi said as long as he lives, he will never rejoin the BDP. “When Mpho Balopi was still the party’s Secretary General, he boldly told me and Moeng Pheto that we were a bunch of useless people. His distasteful words are still etched in my heart,” he added.

Moatlhodi served as a BDP councillor for 15 years in Francistown and as an MP for 15 years having joined the party in 1975. He accused BDP of lacking discipline explaining that the party secretariat decided to remain silent when Olopeng ferried people from Gaborone in order to win the party primaries.

Impression about opposition politics

‘Triple P’ as he is affectionately called says at UDC he feels at home since he has absolute freedom of speech. He said as a backbencher during his tenure as ruling party MP, he was intimidated and threatened by party leadership.

“At BDP I was unable to freely advocate for my constituents and Batswana at large because I was often accused of towing the party line. I was even afraid of debating many issues in Parliament because I did not want to be victimised.  

Moatlhodi reiterated that he will do whatever it takes to ensure that UDC wins the 2019 general elections. He also mentioned that he will not be seeking any party position in the upcoming BNF elective congress which will be held in Francistown in six months time.

Fallen BDP heavyweights joining UDC

Political scientist, Dr. Kaelo Molefhe told this publication that opposition needs people like Moatlhodi since they have vast of experience in governance. Of recent, longest serving BDP members including Margret Nasha, Vistor Maruti and Moeng Pheto all joined opposition parties.

“Politics is like football. When a team from lower division is promoted to premier league, it will need experienced players for it to avoid early relegation. UDC leaders are inexperienced about issues of governance and needs the likes of Moatlhodi to win state power but it will not be a case of replacing BDP by BDP” he remarked.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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