The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress in Mmadinare is expected to usher in a new leadership. Party President Lt gen Ian Kham called for a united BDP and encouraged selflessness if the party is to continue building on its solid foundation. As a prelude to the congress the BDP held its National Council to look into other issues such as the Peter Siele Commission which probed the Primary Elections. Captured pictured is of the outgoing central committee.
The ongoing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Mmadinare Congress is being dominated by party and constitutional reforms, as the party seeks to reclaim its glory following the challenges realized in the 2014 general elections.
The Mmadinare Congress has turned out to be a watershed moment for the party to discuss reforms that will ensure that the party remains in power avoids another humiliation at the next polls.
Former BDP Executive Secretary Botsalo Ntuane and Member of Parliament for Tati West Biggie Butale have been instrumental in selling the reform agenda for discussion at the ongoing party congress.
Democrats also agree on the need to relook into the party primary elections popularly known as “Bulela Ditswe” which created a rift between contestants in 2013 leading to significant number of candidates contesting elections as independent candidates.
The BDP primary elections conundrum led to the party appointing a task team led by former cabinet minister Peter Siele, after the general elections to look into the troublesome inner party elections. The findings have already been shared with the BDP central committee and the recommendations are being discussed at the ongoing congress.
BDP primary elections were introduced ahead of the 2004 general elections in the aftermath of the increase in the number of constituencies. This saw the party doing away with the committee of 18, which was initial the organ responsible for choosing a candidate who would contest a particular constituency.
A number of significant leading BDP members including Assistant Minister of Agriculture Fidelis Molao believe reforms will be necessary to resurrect the party and ensure that it win the next elections.
Molao cited the post 1994 general elections in which BDP managed to re-invent itself through reforms after it was given a hiding by opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) at the polls. The general expectation was that BDP will lose the 1999 elections, but incisive reforms such as electoral reforms and introduction of presidential term limits offered the party a lifeline.
Ntuane wants BDP to introduce a hybrid electoral system which will see the BDP adopting a mixture of First-Past-the-Post and proportional representation in its electoral system.
Speaking to this publication ahead of the congress Ntuane said some of the ideas are a work in progress and could not say with certainty that congress would adopt them. “For that to happen one must have the support of their branch, region and of course lobby others across the country,” said Ntuane.
In terms of lobbying Ntuane has received support and as the chairman of the Gaborone Region, the most influential in the affairs of BDP, Ntuane could hope for the better. But he was still doubtful if all his proposed reforms will be adopted by the congress. “It is the congress that must adopt whatever ideas or proposals tabled,” said the former Gaborone Bonnington South MP. “So I cannot with any certainty say the reform agenda will be discussed.”
In the past recent years, a debate of reforms has been ‘banned’ inside the BDP and was part of the 2009 Kanye Congress in which the party returned divided. However the Mmadinare Congress does not have the hall mark of the Kanye Congress since the party is not divided by factionalism like it was the case in 2009.
The Gambling Authority continues to collaborate with international organisations and other jurisdictions to combat illegal gambling activities and share best practices for regulation of the industry.
Just recently (last week), the Gambling Authority Board Chairman, Mr. Marvin Thokodzani Torto, and Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Emolemo Peter Kesitilwe visited the United Kingdom (UK), Birmingham-based Gambling Commission on a benchmarking exercise aimed at maximising benefits of gambling to the economy while minimising harm to individuals and society.
The Gambling Commission is an executive, non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for regulating gambling and supervising gaming law in Great Britain.
During the visit, the Gambling Commission shared with the Gambling Authority how they regulate the industry in Great Britain, how it’s changed over the years, and how their learnings can assist the Gambling Authority as they enter a new era of growth and expansion with the desire to implement industry best practice for their future work.
Furthermore, the two entities discussed various measures aimed at preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime, as well as ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and further protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
“We’re looking forward to attending and meeting other gambling regulators from across the world to share best practice, discuss common challenges and tackle illegal gambling in ways that makes regulation work for all. Many thanks to Mr Marvin Thokodzani Torto (Chair) and Mr Peter Emolemo Kesitilwe (Acting CEO) for taking the time to visit us,” read a communique from Gambling Commission.
This week, the civil society assembled and reflected on the status of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The organizations, Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (BOCONGO), Global Call for Action Against Poverty as well as Success Capital congregated to recommend priorities for Botswana’s progress in Agenda 2030.
This year (2023) marks the mid-point, with only seven years left to accelerate climate action, eliminating poverty, hunger and ensure gender equality among thirteen other SDGs. The civil society says the global commitment has been integrated across national development plans and aligned to regional integration mechanisms and multilateral interventions.
“Botswana should not be an exception to ensuring the fulfilment of the SDGs: from ensuring capacity to collect data, to addressing governance shortcomings and service delivery. The People’s Assembly joins the rest of the world in galvanizing stakeholders towards ensuring no one is left behind.”
Civil society indicated that it ensured priority issues were raised at 2022’s Voluntary National Reviews that the government reported on; illuminating the gaps and aspirations for more meaningful engagement and inclusion.
“This year, challenges and shortcomings remain the same. Increasing concerns on gender-based violence, safety, media freedom, civil society resourcing, stigma, discrimination, non-communicable diseases and HIV/AIDS among other notable health challenges across the public health spectrum. We continue to raise concern across different platforms and mechanisms to ensure commitments are fulfilled and shortcomings addressed,” the civil society said.
The civil society called on Botswana to strengthen the baseline for measuring and collecting data on SDGs. “We also call on government to strengthen avenues for collaborative partnerships that leave no one behind. Representation in social participation mechanisms should reflect those most impacted. This should translate to expanding ‘who’ and ‘how’ communities and civil society are invited to decision making mechanisms.”
“Harnessing the demographic dividend of Botswana’s youth and diverse communities should be institutionalized and encouraged under the mindset change campaign. We implore for increased opportunities for dialogue and complimentary implementation in ensuring no one is left behind by engaging civil society meaningfully. This includes formal inclusion, representation and resourcing for civil society to participate in national, regional and global fora”
Furthermore, the civil society called on the private sector to engage them to advance the SDGs. “Multisectoral approaches can only strengthen development outcomes if hard-to-reach communities are included. We are on the ground as complimentary partners to the country’s development agenda.”
BOCONGO Executive Director, Maipelo Phale, said for SDGs to be accelerated, implemented and realized, all sectors of society should come up with robust partnership models to leverage the country’s development agenda.
“The People’s Assembly is a collective global form of solidarity and action reflecting how even with limited resources020, we can gather and unite for accelerating progress for the Decade of Action. Our members should continuously engage for our issues to be heard in spaces such as the United Nations General Assembly.”
Success Capital Founder, Dumiso Gatsha said Botswana is leading in reported rape incidents and inequality, stressing that this should not reflect in SDG progress and implementation.
“We should harness our leadership at the World Health Organization’s Executive Board, Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Secretariat and SADC Parliamentary Forum to improve Botswana civil society engagement. This can only be achieved through harnessing, strengthening and including grassroots civil society, communities and groups in Vision 2036 and Agenda 2063.”
A squabble has broken out between Pule Mosala Funeral Parlour and the Botswana Police Service (BPS) over the remains of a South African national who has been in the Mosala mortuary for more than nineteen months. The deceased was one of 10 suspects who were controversially shot dead during a lengthy shootout with law enforcement authorities in Gaborone’s Phase 2 early last year.
The deceased individual’s family based in Soweto, has encountered difficulties in repatriating the body which has been in the care of Mosala Mortuary Services. Following the incident, it has emerged that all 10 bodies were transported to PFG mortuary in Lobatse for a brief period while the police attempted to locate their next of kin. It is reported that the families of the deceased were eventually identified and informed to come and identify their loved ones, including other South African nationals who were part of the criminal group. These families also witnessed the autopsy procedures conducted at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone.
Except for the family from Soweto, nine of the bodies were claimed and taken by their separate relatives. The Soweto family claims they lack the resources to bring the body back to South Africa and has made it known that they are looking for money. To end the supposed verbal agreement over the body’s storage for repatriation, Mosala Funeral Service has filed a case against the police at the Lobatse High Court.
According to Keakantse Mmotlhana, the company’s Sales and Marketing Manager, 10 people who were killed in Phase 2 by gunfire were all temporarily transferred to one of PFG’s branches in Lobatse by the police while efforts were made to find their next of kin. She expressed outrage at the statement made by the Minister of Defense and Security, recently.
After Assistant Police Commissioner Dipheko Motube called her office to apologize for giving the Minister wrong information during a news conference, she confirmed that they had accepted the apologies. He made it clear that one of the victims was still at Pule Mortuary in Lobatse.
Bushie Mosala, the director and owner of Mosala Funeral Services, confirmed that the body of a South African national has been in his mortuary for the past nineteen months. He expressed his desire for the police to remove the corpse from the mortuary, characterising the situation as a “nightmare.” He has instructed his legal team to file a lawsuit against the police in the Lobatse High Court concerning the body.
Mosala urged the acting Police Commissioner to come forward and apologize to the nation for the situation, asserting that the public has the right to know the truth regarding the body of the South African national, w
C -002Bhich was preserved by the police as evidence.
The South African High Commission in Gaborone had not responded to queries from Weekend Post at the time going of going to press.