Immediate former Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Margaret Nasha has set the record straight saying she will “ensure” that the opposition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) emerges victorious in the 2019 General Elections.
“At this point in time, every party’s aim is to win elections in 2019. And it doesn’t come to you on a silver platter. You have to work hard to get there. That is going to be my pre-occupation. To ensure that UDC wins in 2019,” revealed Nasha in an interview with Weekend Post this week.
In the 2014 elections the UDC won 17 Members of Parliament seats out of the 29 (of 57) required to form a government. Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been in power uninterrupted since first elections in 1965.
UDC this week assigned former BDP legislator and long-time cabinet minister Nasha the role of “advisor”, a key office in the UDC and its affiliates – an important assignment that UDC leader Gaolathe Ndaba enunciated, “we are confident she will dispatch with distinction.”
Although the historical first woman speaker of parliament said she has not started the responsibility yet, she explained to this publication that “an advisory role really means exactly that. You discuss, analyse situations and take informed decisions.”
Perceived by many as the iron lady of Botswana politics, Nasha abruptly resigned from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) through a short-worded letter dated 28
January. “This letter serves to notify you of my decision to resign from the Botswana Democratic Party, which resignation takes effect immediately,” she wrote in a brief communique.
In welcoming her, Ndaba posits that the influential woman politician had pleaded to join as an “ordinary member and activist,” however some in the party are still suspicious that she may contest for the UDC presidency against the incumbent Duma Boko – an accusation which she simply dismissed.
“No. I wouldn’t. I have been around political circles. I know what that would entail. I am content with activism and advising,” she stated briefly when questioned if she had any presidential ambitions.
Conversely in her controversial biography released on March 2014 titled: “Madam Speaker, Sir: Breaking the Glass Ceiling, One Woman’s Struggles”, Nasha hinted on her presidential aspirations.
She recalls in the book the one day when she was addressing a political rally, when one gentleman grabbed the microphone and enquired on her presidential tinkles going around to which she answered in the affirmative.
Nasha described how she felt that moment in the book: “I looked at him and thought to myself, obviously, this is just an ordinary citizen who has been drilled by someone to believe that this is a troublesome woman who harbours the unthinkable thoughts and dreams of one day taking God-given power from men.”
She continued: “I decided not to be harsh in my response but to be direct with him while getting the message through to those chauvinistic souls out there, who think that positions of power and responsibility are the preserve of the male species.”
In addition, the eccentric woman’s biography also punched holes on Khama’s administration and leadership style, and marked in earnest what would appear as a sour relationship between the two. Nasha continued with what her party regarded as a misdemeanor during her first term and subsequently in her bid to secure the second term.
During her first term, she vigorously advocated for the independence of parliament from the clutches of often executive intrusion. The BDP under Khama then took Nasha to the woodshed. A strategy was hatched to overthrow her through a vote in parliament – in favour of current speaker Gladys Kokorwe.
“I knew I was going to be voted out more than a year before the event. By the time of the famous constitutional court case, I had long moved my belongings from the official residence. You cannot therefore attribute my move to that. Following that event, I waited and watched. I have come to the conclusion that BDP doesn’t need me. But there are some who need my services,” the maverick former Gaborone Central law maker pointed out.
When probed to specifically mention who recruited her to the UDC fold, Nasha could only say that the “UDC leadership” paid her many visits, and “nothing would deter them”.
She added, “…that too gave me an opportunity to ask many difficult and information seeking questions which helped me understand a lot of the issues that members of the public very often ask about.”
Meanwhile the former BDP MP stated that she has reservations about Vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi being the next president. “I am not privy to what the BDP is doing or planning to put Mr Masisi there as a contender. Therefore I cannot intelligently comment on that,” she said.
Inside the resilient UDC, the former speaker of parliament said she “feels good, positive and energized.”
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.