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Nasha reveals comeback strategy

“I have an elaborate comeback political plan”

Former Speaker of National Assembly Dr. Margaret Nasha has revealed that although she has kept a low profile ever since suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Gladys Kokorwe for the speakership positon, “something big is hatching.”

Apart from hatching a political comeback, Nasha is currently working on a project in partnership with the British High Commission in Gaborone and Westminster Foundation for Democracy aimed at empowering women for serious political positions. Nasha has been chosen as a key local political leader to assist spearhead the project initiated by the United Kingdom ambassadorship in the country.

The project will put together a semblance of women aspiring for political positions including that of legislature, Council and party key positions. The women will be trained, encouraged and assisted anyhow possible to compete effectively with their male counterparts who have advanced widely ever since the first elections in 1965. Apart from the project, in her comeback strategy Nasha said she will re-appear in the political space much stronger and relevant.

She told Weekend Post this week on the sidelines of the women empowerment workshop that she would not say much now on her political move “but would like to catch everyone off-guard.”

The outspoken politician who authored her debut book titled “Madam Speaker, Sir: Breaking the Glass Ceiling, One Woman’s Struggles” broke ranks with her Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) after the party sidelined her in favour of Kokorwe for the position of Speaker of the National Assembly.

Those close to Nasha, who also refer to her as the country’s political iron lady, have said that the country’s first female speaker of parliament may be harboring presidential ambitions. “Her next move is likely to be contestation for the highest office of the Republic,” a source hinted to Weekend Post, a move which Nasha herself alluded to during her interview. “Some have been lobbying me to stand for the presidency but like am saying I won’t say much on this one.”

She asserted to this publication that, “I have an elaborate political plan but not for consumption now.”

Although she was cagey to uncover the plan she said for now, her focus is to work with the British High Commission and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to come up with an action plan of endowing more women to partake in the impending 2018 party primary elections.

The women are drawn from the political divide including BDP, and opposition parties Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP).

“We target 2018 because as you know, if you miss the boat at primary elections then you know you lost it,” Nasha highlighted. She said, “We want to look for serious women who want to stand in Councils and parliamentary seats for all the parties.”

According to Nasha, they are hopeful that the project will have support from the women aspiring politicians and therefore will result in manufacturing a core of women to empower them and make it a continuous program for the future even. “Even if we can train 30 or 40 of them then we will be pretty sure around 10 may make it,” she stressed.

Politics has been a male dominated institution since 1965, with the first woman carrying the banner of BDP entering the national assembly in 1974 in the name of Gaositwe Chiepe. Other women followed suit but the number never exceeded 5 out of the currently 57 constituencies.

The first opposition woman was Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Habaudi Hobona who made a short stint following the victory of Francistown West bye election which fell vacant after the death of its MP Tshelang Masisi. BDP which failed to contest the bye election won the constituency back in 2014 general elections represented by Ignatious Moswaane.

In 2009, the parliament saw only two legislators Venson Moitoi and Botlhogile Tshireletso while Dorcas Malesu was brought in through the specially elected dispensation. The trend continued to 2014 with the trio retaining their seats while Unity Dow was specially elected after losing Mochudi West to Gilbert Mangole in the general election.

Bame Bathobakae from UDC also triumphed. The trend is not helped by Botswana’s refusal to sign the Southern African Development Corporation (SADC) Gender Protocol which pushes nations in the region to achieve 30% of women representation at parliament.

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Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.

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FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.

The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter.  According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.

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Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.

There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.

The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.

Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.

In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.

“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.

In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.

“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”

Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.

In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.

In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.

This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.

In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.

Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.

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