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BDP compromise fails in Goodhope

Eric Molale (pictured) and Motsaathebe headline wish list

Four candidates of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who submitted their names for the Goodhope-Mabule constituency primary election attempted to nail a final minute deal to have only one of them taking on cabinet Minister, Eric Molale in the party primaries scheduled for July 11th but failed.


The four, Kenaleone Motsaathebe, Topo Mononi, Mogatle and Phillip Sebakile met at the Phakalane Gold Resort to try and agree on a consensus candidate among themselves but failed. The talks were doomed to fail because the four candidates met after paying the P5000 application fee to earn a right to contest the primaries.

Another indication that the talks were nullity was the fact that the BDP political education sub-committee held talks with all candidates to try and rally around one person but the talks also collapsed as the candidates could not agree. The four candidates have since agreed to disagree and go for the jugular.


The candidates have been notified that the primaries will be held on July 11th, this will be immediately after the party’s elective congress in Mmadinare.

The party central committee has taken a decision that no time should be wasted after the central committee and all members of the new central committee will be expected to descend in Borolong to activate the campaign which is expected to be challenging because the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will be fielding the paramount chief of Barolong, Kgosi Lotlamoreng II.


The 11th July date makes the situation very tricky for primary election candidates because it makes the campaign time very short. Some have even decided not to go to the Mmadinare congress because of time constraints as they want to canvass votes. They have only one week to do that. Given the vastness of the constituency, the contestants will need resources to be able to cover it in a short space of time.


The other candidates seem to be riled by Molale’s decision to contest, veterans within the BDP point to the issue of resources as the most pain for them. Molale may present a formidable challenge because of his access to resources despite his less colourful political experience.

Motsaathebe was seen as the heir apparent to former Member of Parliament for Borolong, Kitso Mokaila. But as fate will have it, Molale was drawn into politics by way of special nomination and this changed prospects for Motsaathebe altogether. He hopes to win the primaries though since he has been through the structures.


Motsaathebe has a colourful political curriculum vitae – he has served the BDP at various structures. He has been the national chairperson of the BDP Youth Wing between 2008 and 2010, a position that put him straight into the ruling party’s central committee.

He also served in the same structure from 2006 to 2008 under the leadership of Kefentse Mzwinila. Motsaathebe was a member of the BDP national disciplinary committee between 2007 and 2009.

At one stage he was at the helm of Tshekedi Khama’s bid to come to Parliament, replacing his brother, Lt Gen Ian Khama. He has also helped the course of BDP’s fraternal relations with the African National Congress (ANC) during his days as Youth Wing chairman by engaging them on various issues and inviting them to Botswana. Today most of those he fraternised with are elevated in the ANC or outside the ANC.


Pule Mabe is a member of the ANC executive and also a Member of Parliament; while Julius Malema has formed his own party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and is also in Parliament. Motsaathebe now wants to emulate his peers and go to Parliament, but first he must win BDP primary elections.

He is said to be against primaries being held on the 11th because the campaign time is very short. He has tried to make himself relevant in the constituency by registering the Barolong Development Trust at the behest of former MP, Mokaila. He has also provided his legal services pro-bono to residents of the constituency.
 

BLOCK MOLALE PETITION FOILED
Molale is the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration – he came to Parliament by way of Special election by the President. He is also a former Permanent Secretary to the President, a career civil servant who cultivated friends and foes during his career. He is the most senior of the candidates, and is well resourced.

At a meeting of the PEEC of the BDP, he denied allegations raised by his opponents that he was flouting regulations by campaigning before time. He also put to bed, talk that he is running because he wants to be Vice President in 2018; he denied such reports as they were put before him by other candidates. He made it clear that he only wants to serve the people of Morolong by direct appointment.


Molale appears however, to be having the support of the majority of BDP councillors in the constituency. The Khama card may also work for him, his campaign troops on the ground are citing the fact that he is trusted by the President as a wild card for him.

Molale is not moved by the issues raised by his opponents that he is already in Parliament hence he should not be contesting. They state that Borolong already has two representatives in Parliament and Molale wants to reduce the number.

Molale will have to resign his Parliament seat should he win the primaries so that he contests Goodhope-Mabule. On the other hand Molale seems to have crossed the bridge in regard to a would-be protest from the four other candidates which alleged that he submitted his application to contest the primaries late.

They alleged that he submitted his papers well after the cut off time of 12 noon. But indications are that Molale’s name has been accepted by the branch in Goodhope and indeed by the central committee which sat in Mmadinare on Thursday.


Mononi has tried his luck on a number of occasions. He has always been unlucky with elections. In the last general election he tied with a UDC candidate for the Goodhope ward but went on to lose the re-run. In 2008 he lost the BDP primary elections for Goodhope ward to Seleha Ditshwane.

On the 23rd of May this year, Mononi lost branch chairmanship elections to Kago Kamodi in Rakhuna. However he is confident that despite his unimpressive record with elections, he may pull a surprise in the constituency primary election this time around.


Phillip Sebakile is from Mabule, and he expects to play the wild card of being the loner from the other side. He solely banks on Mabule residents to help him cross the bridge. He has no leadership track record in the BDP, safe to being a member.


Mogatle, a former police officer is from Pitsane and will help nurture democracy in the BDP primaries.

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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Ngamiland Cattle Farmers Gain Green Zone Revenue

27th January 2023

Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.

Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.

To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.

These collaborative efforts being piloted in Habu and Eretsha villages also include the Pro-Nature Enterprises Project for the People of Southern Africa, funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Le Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM). This complementary funding from AFD and FFEM supports the implementation of the Herding4Health (H4H) model and Rangeland Stewardship Agreements across four rangeland sites in Southern Africa, including Habu and Eretsha, to incentivize best practices that could offer sustainability in the long term for livelihoods, conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.

“We spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine – that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,” said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.

Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herder’s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.

“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,” said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).

Through co-financing of almost P1 billion from the Botswana government and Green Climate Fund, these interventions will be replicated, through The Ecosystem Based Adaptation and Mitigation in Botswana’s Communal Rangelands project, across the country. Both projects aim to improve the economic benefits of cattle owners and multitudes of Batswana households, while contributing to land restoration and climate change efforts by the Botswana government

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