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HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Botswana’s Southern African Problem

At the recent public forum on Human Trafficking hosted by The Botswana Society, guest speaker Senior Superintendent K. Malete of the Botswana Police noted that Botswana, like the rest of the world, is affected by human trafficking and smuggling.   

It is the slavery of our times; victims suffering the violation of their human rights at the hands of profit-seeking criminals.  Whether for sexual exploitation, organ removal, forced labour and begging, individuals of both genders, young and old, can find themselves lured or sold into such situations. They are difficult to detect by authorities and even the general public, because they are usually isolated, tightly controlled, and their documents withheld.   

Human trafficking means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, and/or harboring of such persons and controlling such persons through threats, use of force or other forms of coercion or abduction.  The use of fraud, deception, promises of benefits to a person are also used to gain control. 

It should be distinguished from the smuggling of migrants, who voluntarily enter into an arrangement to gain entry to another country or pass through illegally through a country to reach yet another.  Such persons, unlike those trafficked, usually retain their documents, can move about freely, and return home should they chose to, though such persons can fall prey to predators and end up in a situation much like a trafficked person.  

Those trafficked, on the other hand, may not necessarily cross a border; in fact from available evidence, in Africa most are trafficked inside their own country, such as a boy moved from one region to another to be used as a herd boy in a remote location, or a girl taken by a family friend to the city on promise of support and education, and instead turned into an unpaid, full-time house servant.  

Though Botswana has enacted the Anti-Human Trafficking Act effective 1 January 2015, to empower police and criminal investigators to apprehend and charge traffickers, much remains to be done in the training of officers, immigration officials, and others, and to coordinate the monitoring of human trafficking among various government, regional, and international bodies, such as SADC, the ILO, and Interpol.  

On September 9, Wednesday starting at 6:30 pm, at Livingstone Kolobeng College, The Botswana Society will host the second in its three-part public forum series, to address Human Trafficking in the SADC region.  Botswana is a major transit country for illegal human smuggling and whereas human trafficking is involved, certain to be affected by what takes place in other surrounding nations.  

Speakers on the topic will represent SADC, the US Embassy and Botswana’s Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security. The event is open to the public and the main hall is wheelchair accessible.  Refreshments will be served following the presentations and discussion.  

The event is sponsored by The Botswana Society, Livingstone Kolobeng College, Mmegi/Monitor, Weekend Post and Sunday Standard.

Public Forum: 9 September 2015, at Livingstone Kolobeng College, 6:30 p.m.

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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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