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UDC rejects disgruntled BCP members

UDC halts recruiting from BCP

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has taken a decision not to entertain recruitment of members from the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) with the view of protecting and respecting the imminent cooperation talks. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) predatory attitude towards the BCP has drawn it closer to UDC.

With BCP facing instability in recent times, party members have been decamping in search of new political homes amid disagreement with party leadership over a lot of issues. The bone of contention has been the delicate issue of opposition cooperation.

UDC president Duma Boko revealed recently at a press briefing that they have now adopted a cautious stand when dealing with recruitment of new members to avoid poaching from the BCP. The Leader of the Opposition said the party has deliberately taken that stand to avoid fuelling enmity between UDC and BCP.

Boko said at this point UDC will not celebrate the instability of BCP but will rather advise those members seeking to join UDC to go back to the party and find a solution. The Gaborone Bonnington North lawmaker said there is a tendency of members attacking the former party once they exchange party colours which he said will not be healthy for UDC-BCP relationship.

Boko, who is also the President of Botswana National Front (BNF) said the UDC will rejoice only in welcoming BDP members into their fold, and said that should be the focus of the party going forward. Boko is adamant that very soon the two parties will be able to sit in a negotiation table and commence the cooperation talks once again.

The first step towards opposition unity will be the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on bye-elections for the two parties to pledge support for one another in the event that a council or parliamentary seat falls vacant and results in a call for a bye-election. The two parties will support the party which got better votes between themselves in that ward or constituency in the general elections.

BCP rejected UDC’s request not to contest in the recent Goodhope-Mabule bye-election citing the latter’s last minute request as the reason for disapproval. However, UDC went on to reclaim the constituency with a landslide victory.

BCP spokesperson and Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse this week issued a statement confirming that BCP will not contest the upcoming Boswelatlou Ward bye-election in Lobatse. Keorapetse also emphasised that BCP will assist in the best way to make sure UDC retains the seat.

Keorapetse said the decision taken by party leadership is a culmination of both parties’ attempts to forge relations that will usher in an amicable working relationship between the BCP and the UDC. “We hope that this is a step in the right direction as both parties are currently working on a Memorandum of Understanding for the bye-elections across the country, a big step for envisaged opposition cooperation leading to 2019 general elections,” read the statement.

Keorapetse was part of the pro-UDC cooperation faction which won all the Central Committee seats in last month’s elective congress held in Kanye. His team comprised of among others Vice President Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang and Secretary General Kentse Rammidi.

The Selibe Phikwe legislator said BCP believes it is BDP which should be a prime target and encouraged BCP members to have an obligation to do what they have to do to ensure that the opposition retain its seats.

The Boswelatlou Ward bye election will be the first to contest opposition parties undergo with a clear endorsement of each other since last year’s general elections. Despite the new development, opposition was able to win all the five bye-elections held so far even where they contested against each other. BCP has won two council seats, while UDC has been able to win two council seats as well as the recent Goodhope-Mabule parliamentary seat.

The cooperation of opposition parties will spell doom for the ruling party, which despite the status quo ante was not able to benefit from opposition vote splitting in the past general elections.   

UDC will be in pole position to reclaim the Boswelatlou Ward, not only because it won the Ward in last year’s general elections but because of the support that it will benefit from BCP.

UDC won the constituency with a slim margin of two votes through Kabelo Sebako who has since resigned. Sebako garnered 278 votes against Zubeida Raphael of BDP’s 276 votes while Shimane Thelo of BCP got 93 votes. A total of 652 people voted in the ward, and 5 of the casts were spoilt.

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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.

Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.

The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.

Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.

“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.

Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.

Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.

For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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