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Barolong Chief’s dilemma…

Lotlamoreng not sure whether to contest or not

Kgosi Lotlamoreng II of Barolong has said the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has not approached him in regard the prospect of him representing the party in a bye-election following a vacancy created by the resignation of James Mathokgwane as Member of Parliament for Goodhope-Mabule.  


Lotlamoreng is expected to address a kgotla meeting in Goodhope on Tuesday where he will clarify his standing as far as political party politics is concerned. “It is not true that I will represent the UDC in the coming bye-election. In fact I have not been approached by anyone from the UDC or any other political party,” he said.


Should the Barolong kgosikgolo decide to represent the UDC or any other political party, he will most likely to throw the Barolong bogosi into some dilemma. Traditional pundits in the area intimate that the fact that he has no direct heir complicates matters for the royal family. “It is very likely that the chieftainship of the Barolong will now go outside the Montshioa lineage,” said an elder in Goodhope.


At the Tuesday meeting, sentiments to be expressed by the chief are expected to echo the outcome of a consultation process that has been done with other magosi from around the twenty or so villages in the area. Lotlamoreng rules over a wide area which is made of small and big villages, and there is also a twist in his rule over Barolong, villages spanning from Mabule down southeast are under the Bangwaketse chieftainship according to the Tribal Territories Act.  


UDC official spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa made it clear that in terms of party constitution, regulations and culture, when a vacancy opens up for a position of a councillor or MP and the party decides to field a candidate,  a writ of election is issued by the Elections Board in consultation with the secretary general. 

He said “this allows any member who is willing to be deployed to apply. Thereafter if we have more than one comrade available, primary elections are held.”  Mohwasa said it is unfair to start attacking Kgosi Lotlamoreng when he has not declared his intention to run.  


Currently the Botswana National Front (BNF), an affiliate of the UDC has two councillors in the Goodhope-Mabule constituency while the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has eight councillors. Most BDP veterans in the constituency believe that they lost the MP seat because of the Kitso Mokaila factor; hence the race is going to be different this time around.


Lesego Molapo, who has been a BDP councillor for 25 years in the constituency, told Weekend Post that the area remains a BDP stronghold. She was confident that her party will win the bye-election because it has learnt from the 2014 general election loss.

Mr Klass Motingwa, a BNF veteran based in Goodhope urged his party leadership to hasten to get ordinary members in the loop because they are yet to briefed on the developments.

“We only read in the newspapers that the MP has resigned and we are yet to be briefed here in Ramatlabama,” he said. Both veterans from the two opposing corners await keenly Kgosi Lotlamoreng’s final word on talk that he could be a candidate for one of the parties.


For the BDP there are seven people who want contest primary elections. Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale, who is also a Specially Elected Member of Parliament, is expected to be a strong contender.

Former BDP Youth Wing chairperson, Kenaleone Motsaathebe is contesting as well as a host of former councillors who lost in the 2014 elections. Therefore the BDP only wants to know if Lotlamoreng is in the race to map a campaign strategy against him.


Motingwa interestingly told WeekendPost that there was a group that engaged Freddie Ramodisa to contest for the position. “I heard that a group people had approached him to contest, I am still to hear about the outcome of their interaction,”he said.

Contacted for comment Ramodisa said he will not comment because he has no political party at the moment. Ramodisa was part of the group that defected from the BDP and formed the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), which is now an affiliate of the UDC.

Before the 2014 general election, he paved way for Mathokgwane of the BNF but was incensed when he was overlooked for council nomination and he contested as an independent candidate and lost. Carlson Teemane of Pitsane is one other BNF stalwart in the area whose name is mentioned by party sympathisers in the area.

While Lotlamoreng will bring a big profile and command audience there could be a backlash from those who have toiled for the BNF for many years in the area without success until messianic Mathokgwane capitalised on BDP frailties.


The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is yet to make an impact in the constituency, for them, contesting will only just enhance the country’s democratic credentials as usual, BNF and BDP veterans. However they do acknowledge the presence of BCP in Pitsane, Goodhope and Metlojane.  


Currently the main subject of the Goodhope-Mabule debate is Kgosi Lotlamoreng, should he take the baton, he may now have to face his demons in Ramatlabama where he is accused of imposing the late Kewagamang Lebelwane as chief despite not being of bogosi lineage.

In Papatlo, the chief is also not popular because of appointing an “outsider” as the village chief. In Goodhope, residents appear to have a gripe with him, should he be the candidate, BNF stalwarts admit that it will not be a roller coaster, “but he is the best we get under the circumstances.” They point out that a strategy should be mapped out on how to win the two Barolong sections, including the one under Bangwaketsi domain.


While the BDP currently has the advantage of sitting councillors, Lotlamoreng must first cultivate the buy-in of his magosi before he can bank on them. As things stand Lotlamoreng has not been apparoched but his Tuesday kgotla meeting has some of the answers.

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Travel ban unfair and unjustified – Masisi

7th December 2021
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi

For the past two years, the world has been at combat with various COVID-19 variants. A new variant of concern which is considered to have a combination of the greatest hits (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta) has sent alarm bells around the world.

Botswana’s COVID-19 genomic surveillance, which actively monitors COVID-19 variants in Botswana, picked four samples that were concerning and discovered a completely new variant. In accordance with international obligations, as a responsible member state under the International Health Regulations of 2005, Botswana submitted the suspected new variant for the entire global scientific community to respond to this early finding. Shortly after, the Republic of South Africa, also submitted a similar concerning variant.

The new variant, ‘Omicron’ is named after the 15th letter of the Greek Alphabet to avoid public confusion and stigma.
The news spread like wild fire which resulted in European Union member states, the United Arab Emirates and United States of America imposing travel bans on Botswana and other sister SADC nations, resulting in drawing a wedge between nations.

In his address on the occasion of an update on Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has shunned the response by some countries to Botswana’s detection of the Omicron variant stating that it is unfortunate as it appears to have caused unnecessary panic amongst the public across the world. He considers it defeating the spirit of multilateral cooperation in dealing with this global pandemic.

“The decision to ban our citizens from travelling to certain countries was hastily made and is not only unfair but is also unjustified while remain confident that reason and logic will prevail, the harshness of the decision has the effect of our shaking our belief in the sincerity of declared friendship and commitment of equality and economic prosperity for us,” he said.

President Masisi has appealed to the nations that have imposed travel restrictions on Botswana to reflect and review their travel restrictions stance against the Southern African region.

African leaders and heads of state are in agreement on a matter. Some stating that the travel bans are ‘uncalled for, afro phobic, unscientific, strict, unfair and unjustified’. They have come out to bash the unilateral travel bans and request immediate upliftment of the restrictions imposed on SADC member states by European Union member states, the United Arab Emirates and United States of America.

While Batswana are banned from international travel, locally as at 26th November 2021, a total of 195 068 COVID19 cases and 2 418 deaths had been reported since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We have been steadily witnessing a decrease in the number of new cases and deaths in the last three months. We are currently reporting an average of less 10 infections per 100 000 people compared to 648 cases per 100 000 people at the peak of the third wave. We have also observed a gradual decline in hospitalizations across the country with an average of less than 10 patients at a time at Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) and our other health facilities countrywide,” pointed out President Masisi.

Masisi encouraged Batswana not to despair as to date, all the nations’ key indicators remain stable. “This is comforting although it still does not warrant any complacency on our part in terms of behaviour and other attitudinal patterns towards this dreadful disease. We are actively monitoring the evolving situation in view new variant of concern,’’ he sternly advised.

Government through the different Ministries leading the different sectors, has been working tirelessly to prepare for potential outbreaks and a fourth (4th) wave. This will be achieved through; installing oxygen generating plants and increasing skilled human capacity.

With regards to the vaccination programme; as of 29th November 2021, an estimated One Million and Fifty Three Thousand Three Hundred and Sixty One (1 053 361) people translating to 75.7% of the target Batswana citizens and residents over the age of 18 years have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. A total of Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy Three (950 973) people translating to 68.4% have been fully vaccinated. This number exceeds the 64% target Botswana has set to achieve by end of December 2021.

Masisi enthusiastically revealed that; “We are one of the three countries in Africa that have achieved the World Health Organisation target of vaccinating at least 40% of the entire population by December 2021. We are committed to ensure that all is done to reduce the transmission of the virus in the country.

More vaccines are being procured to ensure availability for those who have not yet received any dose. Government is also considering booster doses for those who may be identified as qualifying for them.”

President Masisi urged Batswana to continue observing the COVID-19 health protocols of social distancing, washing hands or sanitizing and wearing masks and avoid unnecessary travelling.

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China pledges a billion vaccines to Africa

7th December 2021

As COVID-19 pandemic continues to shake the world, China has promised to donate a billion coronavirus vaccines, advance billions of dollars for African trade and infrastructure, and write off interest-free loans to African countries to help the continent recover from the coronavirus pandemic. All these promises emerged at the Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Senegal at the end of November 2021.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China will provide one billion doses of vaccines to Africa when delivering keynote speech at the Eighth Ministerial FOCAC via video link on 29th November. Of those, 600 million would be via donations and the rest would be produced jointly by African countries and Chinese companies. In addition, China would send medical teams to help the continent deal with the pandemic.

President Xi also announced nine programmes that China will work closely with African countries in the next three years. He mentioned the medical and health program, the poverty reduction and agricultural development program, the trade promotion program, the investment promotion program, the digital innovation program, the green development program, the capacity building program, the cultural and people-to-people exchange program, the peace and security program. President Xi hailed China-Africa relations as a shining example for building a new type of international relations.

Furthermore, Xi said Beijing would pump US$10 billion into African financial institutions for onward lending to small and medium enterprises. He promised to extend another US$10 billion of its International Monetary Fund allocation of special drawing rights, which would help stabilise foreign exchange reserves. In addition, China will write-off interest-free loans due this year, to help the economies that had been ravaged by the pandemic. Last year, China also promised to write off interest-free loans due at the end of 2020.

Beijing pledged US$60 billion to finance Africa’s infrastructure at the forum in Johannesburg in 2015, and a similar amount when the gathering was held in the Chinese capital in 2018. But in the past few years, Chinese lenders, including the policy banks – Exim Bank of China and China Development Bank – have become more cautious and are now demanding bankable feasibility studies amid debt distress in the continent.

Besides seeking more money for projects, Xi said China would encourage more imports of African agricultural products, and increase the range of zero-tariff goods, aiming for US$300 billion of total imports from Africa in the next three years.

China would also advance US$10 billion of trade financing to support African exports into China. He said the country would also advance another US$10 billion to promote agriculture in Africa, send 500 experts and establish China-Africa joint agro-technology centres and demonstration villages. African countries are pushing to grow exports of agricultural products into China. At the moment, Beijing maintains an enormous trade surplus over the continent. African imports from China include machinery, electronics, construction equipment, textiles and footwear.

Meanwhile, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi summarized FOCAC achievements when meeting with journalists ahead the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference. Wang said that the FOCAC is a crucial platform for collective dialogue between China and Africa and an effective mechanism for practical cooperation.

He said since the inception of the FOCAC 21 years ago, Chinese enterprises have built over 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 1,000 bridges, nearly 100 ports, and over 80 large-scale power facilities in Africa.

In addition, they have assisted Africa in building over 130 medical facilities, 45 gymnasiums and more than 170 schools, and training over 160,000 professionals in various fields. Chinese medical teams have provided medical service to an accumulated number of 230 million, and China’s network service has covered around 700 million user terminals.

Yi said that the Eighth FOCAC Ministerial Conference was a great success. According to Yi, the success of the conference confirmed the strong will of China and Africa to work together to overcome difficulties and seek common development, and showed the huge potential and bright prospects of China-Africa cooperation.

Wang summarized the most important consensus reached at the conference as following: 1) both sides will promote the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation; 2) China and Africa will work together to defeat the pandemic; 3) both sides will work to enrich China-Africa cooperation in the new era; 4) the two sides will work together to practice true multilateralism; 5) China and Africa will jointly build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.

FOCAC, is one of the developments that came as a major shift in the dynamics of the China-Africa relationships came about in the 1980s when China embarked upon its “Opening up and Reform Policy” –a wide-ranging policy that gave birth to the new China. Economic and geo-strategic interests rather than the desire to export a specific political philosophy drive China’s current relationship with Africa.

For Africa though, the key problem is that our economies are weak in value creation. 
As argued by one economist, what workers and factories produce is produced more efficiently, with better quality and at lower cost, by other economies. “In such circumstances, making money is easier through rent than through value creation.

African governments should be capable of guiding their private sector towards value creation, a key factor for achieving a sustainable competitive edge in the global market. Furthermore, partnerships that Africa forges should be targeted to enhance such an environment”. The question remains as to whether China’s intervention in Africa will help address this challenge.

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COVID-19 has pushed cost of living up – report

7th December 2021

A report by The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) has given its outlook for the rise and fall of living costs around the world.

The report is based on current and past trends impacting the cost of living, including currency swings, local inflation and commodity shocks. In addition, it compares more than 400 individual prices across over 200 products and services in 173 cities.

The Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) rankings continue to be sensitive to shifts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which have pushed up the cost of living across the world’s major cities. Although most economies are now recovering as covid-19 vaccines are rolled out, the world’s major cities still experience frequent surges in cases, prompting renewed social restrictions. In many cities this has disrupted the supply of goods, leading to shortages and higher prices.

The report highlights that “the inflation rate of the prices tracked in the EIU’s WCOL across cities is the fastest recorded over the past five years. It has accelerated beyond the pre-pandemic rate, rising by 3.5% year on year in local-currency terms in 2021, compared with an increase of just 1.9% in 2020 and 2.8% in 2019.”

However; supply-chain problems, as well as exchange-rate shifts and changing consumer demand, have led to rising prices for commodities and other goods. The most rapid increases in the WCOL index were for transport, with the price of a litre of petrol up by 21% on average.

Tel Aviv, a city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast tops the WCOL rankings for the first time ever, making it the most expensive city in the world to live in. The Israeli city climbed from fifth place last year, pushing Paris down to joint second place with Singapore. Tel Aviv’s rise mainly reflects its soaring currency and price increases for around one-tenth of goods in the city, led by groceries and transport, in local-currency terms. Property prices (not included in the index calculation), have also risen, especially in residential areas.

The cheapest cities are mainly in the Middle East and Africa, or in the poorer parts of Asia. Damascus has easily retained its place as the cheapest city in the world to live in. It was ranked the lowest in seven of the ten pricing categories, and was among the lowest in the remaining three. While prices elsewhere have generally firmed up, in Damascus they have fallen as Syria’s war-torn economy has struggled. Tripoli, which also faces political and economic challenges, is ranked second from the bottom in our rankings, and is particularly cheap for food, clothing and transport.

“Over the coming year, we expect to see the cost of living rise further in many cities. Inflationary expectations are also likely to feed into wage rises, further fuelling price rises. However, as central banks cautiously raise interest rates to stem inflation, price increases should moderate from this year’s level. We forecast that global consumer price inflation will average 4.3% in 2022, down from 5.1% in 2021 but still substantially higher than in recent years. If supply-chain disruptions die down and lockdowns ease as expected, then the situation should improve towards the end of 2022, stabilising the cost of living in most major cities.”

“The survey has been designed to enable human resources and finance managers to calculate cost-of-living allowances and build compensation packages for expatriates and business travellers. It can also be used by consumer-goods firms and other companies to map pricing trends and determine optimum prices for their products across cities. In addition, the data can be used to understand the relative expense of a city to formulate policy guidelines,” highlights the report.

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