The Chairperson of the Central District Council (CDC) Mr Peter Williams has promised to work hard in his two year tenure to ensure that Boteti achieves the status of a township and is awarded developments the region has been longing for.
Speaking at a Kgotla meeting he addressed in Letlhakane recently, he said he had come to Letlhakane to hear residents’ grievances, exchange views as well as share his ambitions roadmap and developmental plans.
He said this was his first meeting with the residents since he assumed office as Chairperson of the vast and sparsely spread Central District. “Our district is the biggest in Botswana and possibly in Africa with a lot of remote area dwellers, owing to that we are confronted with many challenges as such are I’m here to report to you and seek suggestions on how we can work together to take the region forward” he announced, to a fully packed Letlhakane Kgotla.
He said he is aware of the low levels of developments in Letlhakane and that the village has a sub-standard sewage system, lack of good gravel roads, unreliable water supply, salty and oftentimes unhygienic drinks water and no street lights. He assured the constituents that he had been consulting with relevant authorities to resolve those long standing grievances.
He promised that during his tenure he will lobby all those who wield influence and power to ensure that Letlhakane achieves the status of a township like Orapa and Sowa-Pan “It is about time that this village is converted into a Township that will have an autonomous structure as we see in Sowa-Pan. This is done only to ensure that developments can be delivered timely to residents, I have to admit that this village has lacked behind as compared to other mining zones” he said.
He implored the youth not to rest on their laurels and to fully utilize government programs and initiatives, saying the current government has the best interest of the youth at heart “I arrived here yesterday after addressing Kgotla meeting in Xere and Rakops and I want to tell the youth that one elderly woman complained that you are not fully utilizing the programs we have availed, another elderly lady in Xere even suggested that we should share some of the money allocated towards youth projects with the elderly, as they themselves are ready and willing to work hard to see projects to full fruition, while the youth are lacking behind” he said.
He promised that the CDC will fix internal roads and that the council had recently fixed its machines, he announced that therefore a number of roads in Letlhakane will benefited as they will be upgraded. He said he was committed to small business development in his district and owing to that the Central District Council had recently set up a task force to come up with strategies of improving small businesses as well as create employment for the youth.
He urged the youth to work hard and preserve so that they can create employment for themselves. He also told the residents that he will be touring several select villages and all the seven Sub-districts in the central region to appraise them on developments and seek their views until there is a clear picture of his roadmap and developmental plans, he said this process will continue until the end of August.
He said poverty eradication programs, LIMID, ISPAD as well as the destitute and orphans programs in Boteti have been rolled out successfully and in his assessment were benefitting the intended beneficiaries and recipients. Saying more than 360 orphans enrolled together with over 1000 destitute persons in Letlhakane.
He said the CDC had been awarded over 652 million pula for developmental purpose and he stands ready to ensure that the money is used proficiently, to the enjoyment and enhancement of overall life for the inhabitants of the central district.
He called for delivery and efficient monitoring of government projects. He said CDC will continue to request for more funds from the central government to augment their meager resources needed to cater for the vast district. Boteti Sub-district chairperson said they also stand ready to support Mr Williams in his noble endeavor to better their district, he said all the concerns brought forward by the constituents will be considered at their next sitting.
He said the dilapidated Letlhakane hospital will be getting a facelift courtesy of Debswana mining company and that the hospital will also be revamped to add extra beds.
For their part, residents of Letlhakane thanked the Chairperson for his visit and comprehensive presentation, the majority of those who spoke and asked questions supported the idea of Letlhakane being converted into an independent township and begged for more developments in the village.
One of the residents, Mr Michael Thanke asked that street lights be installed in the village with urgency as many people who had come to ply their trade in the mine have brought with them a lot of unsavory habits and crime, he said the police were inundated with cases of violent crime and theft.
He said Letlhakane can no longer afford to be dark when a lot of the mine employees work night shifts putting their lives in danger. Residents also complained about slow delivery of the SHAA housing scheme, lackadaisical contribution to village development by the mines around the village as well as rampant youth unemployment which they said was a danger to peace and stability.
The chairperson’s tour of the CDC and its constituent sub-districts has taken him to various villages in the central district which included, Xhomo, Sebina, Gweta, Nata, Masunga among others. It will also see him traverse the length and breath of the district addressing residents to lay out his roadmap and seek for guidance during his term in office.
Mr Peter Williams ascended to the leadership of the Central District Council eight month ago taking over from long time CDC chairperson Mr Lesego Raditanka whom he beat by 91 to 81 votes. The CDC has a total of 174 councilors, a few of them had accompanied Mr Williams on his journey, he promised to work diligently together with his team to ensure unhindered delivery of service to Boteti.
The United States (US) will on the 3rd of November 2020 chose between incumbent Donald Trump of the Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democrats amid the coronavirus pandemics, which has affected how voting is conducted in the world’s biggest economy.
Trump (74) seeks re-election after trouncing Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Biden (77) is going for his first shot as Democratic nominee after previous unsuccessful spells.
US Presidents mostly succeed in their re-election bid, but there have been nine individuals who failed to garner a second term mandate, the latest being George W H. Bush, a Republican who served as the 41st US President between 1989 and 1993.
Dr Mark Rozell, a Dean of the School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia describes the complex US electoral system that will deliver the winner at the 3rd November elections.
“The founders of our Republic de-centralised authority significantly in creating our constitutional system, which means that they gave an enormous amount of independent power and authority to State and local governments,” Dr Rozell told international media on Elections 2020 Virtual Reporting Tour.
Unlike parliamentary democracies, like Botswana the United States does not have all of the national government elected in one year. They do not have what is commonly called mandate elections where the entire federal government is elected all in one election cycle giving a “mandate” to a particular political party to lead, and instead US have what are called staggered elections, elections over time.
The two house Congress, members of the House of Representatives have two-year long terms of office. Every two years the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election, but senators serve for six years and one third of the Senate is elected every two years.
For this election cycle, US citizens will be electing the President and Vice
President, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the open or contested seats in the Senate, whereas two thirds are still fulfilling the remainder of their terms beyond this year.
An important facet of US electoral system to understand given the federalism nature of the republic, the US elect presidents State by State, therefore they do not have a national popular vote for the presidency.
“We have a national popular vote total that says that Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump or in Year 2000 that Al Gore got a half million more votes than George W. Bush, but we have what is called a State by State winner takes all system where each State is assigned a number of electors to our Electoral College and the candidate who wins the popular vote within each State takes 100 percent of the electors to the Electoral College,” explained Dr Rozell.
“And that is why mathematically, it is possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the presidency.”
Dr Rozell indicated that in 2016, Hillary Clinton won very large popular majorities in some big population States like California, but the system allows a candidate to only have to win a State by one vote to win a 100 percent of its electors, the margin does not matter.
“Donald Trump won many more States by smaller margins, hence he got an Electoral College majority.”
Another interesting features by the way of US constitutional system, according to Dr Rozell, but extremely rare, is what is called the faithless elector.
“That’s the elector to the Electoral College who says, ‘I’m not going to vote the popular vote in my State, I think my State made a bad decision and I’m going to break with the popular vote,’’ Dr Rozell said.
“That’s constitutionally a very complicated matter in our federalism system because although the federal constitution says electors may exercise discretion, most States have passed State laws making it illegal for any elector to the Electoral College to break faith with the popular vote of that State, it is a criminal act that can be penalized if one is to do that. And we just had an important Supreme Court case that upheld the right of the states to impose and to enforce this restriction”
There are 538 electors at the Electoral College, 270 is the magic number, the candidate who gets 270 or more becomes President of the United States.
If however there are more candidates, and this happens extremely rarely, and a third candidate got some electors to the Electoral College denying the two major party candidates, either one getting a majority, nobody gets 270 or more, then the election goes to the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives votes among the top three vote getters as to who should be the next President.
“You’d have to go back to the early 19th century to have such a scenario, and that’s not going to happen this year unless there is a statistical oddity, which would be a perfect statistical tie of 269 to 269 which could happen but you can just imagine how incredibly unlikely that is,” stated Dr Rozell.
BLUE STATES vs RED STATES
Since the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates.
Many states have populations that are so heavily concentrated in the Democratic party or the Republican party that there is really no competition in those states.
California is a heavily Democratic State, so is New York and Maryland. It is given that Joe Biden will win those states. Meanwhile Texas, Florida and Alabama are republicans. So, the candidates will spent no time campaigning in those states because it is already a given.
However there are swing states, where there is a competition between about five and 10 states total in each election cycle that make a difference, and that is where the candidates end up spending almost all of their time.
“So it ends up making a national contest for the presidency actually look like several state-wide contests with candidates spending a lot of time talking about State and local issues in those parts of the country,” said Dr Rozell.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.