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Thapama interchange project behind schedule

Minister of Transport and Communication, Mr Tshenolo Mabeo

The construction of the Thapama interchange project by China Railway Seven Group is said to be behind schedule.

The interchange project that is to replace the circle commonly known as Thapama circle commenced last year February and it is expected to be completed in August this year.

When the Site Agent of China Railways Seven Group, Mr Wang Jiang briefed the Minister of Transport and Communication, Mr Tshenolo Mabeo and his delegation during a site visit, he said the progress of the interchange project stands at 22% instead of the expected 45%.

Mr Jiang noted that challenges such as unfavourable weather conditions and the delay on relocation of services by Botswana Telecommunications Cooperation and BOFINET are some major issues that led to the delay of the progress.

He said these service providers took long to relocate their underground cables despite being paid six months before the commencement of the project.

Mr Jiang said though they are behind schedule, most of the major workload is progressing well, citing that construction on pillars of the interchange is almost complete and they are to engage more workmanship and machinery so as to speed up the progress.

Mr Jiang highlighted that the Tonota-Francistown dual carriage is at the latest stage noting that all the four bridges that are part of the project have been completed.

He also said that the 29 kilometers of the road is complete up to the permanent asphalt surface and only a small portion from Tati River Bridge to Naledi motors, the road markings and signs are to be completed shortly.

Meanwhile Minister Mabeo expressed that the government is concerned about developmental projects that always lag behind.

Minister Mabeo said it is worrisome that the delay always come up with extra costs and does not only affect the government but also lead to public disappointment.

Minister Mabeo further said considering the volume of work that is yet to be done on site, the project might not be finished within the set up time.

Furthermore Minister Mabeo emphasized the need to advocate and make follow ups on issues of relocation of services saying that project inspectors were aware that the interchange project was to be constructed on a built up area.

He said potential problems should have been identified and resolved before the project commenced adding that failure for the construction company to meet up the set time, an extension might be given out only with valid reasons.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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