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Makgato rings changes at BDP Women Wing

Dorcas Makgato wants Women Wing to influence party policy   

Newly elected Chairperson of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Women’s Wing, Dorcas Makgato has vowed to have the most active and influential women’s wing during her tenure at helm of the party organ.   

Following her ascendency to the leadership of the Women Wing last month, Makgato told the media this week that there would be some reforms introduced to the Women Wing as the organ strives for influence over the party and its central committee. By virtue of her position, Makgato will sit on the party’s Central Committee.

Part of the reforms, she said, include the introduction of the General Assembly which will convene every year after the election of the women’s wing committee members. Makgato said the development was as a result of the recognition that BDP women need to engage more regularly to address issues relating to party policy and others.

“The BDP women wing has also committed to embark on empowerment training, developing a finance and investment strategy, rolling out a recruitment drive as well as engaging in social investment activities,” she said.

Initially the BDP women’s wing met only during the elective congress, which Makgato said led to a lot of inactivity. Makgato, who is also Minister of Health, said it is important that women are empowered through political education to ensure that they play a meaningful role in Botswana politics.

BDP has come under heavy criticism for failing to formulate policies and laws that empower women to play a meaningful role in politics through representation in parliament and councils. BDP has only four female Members of Parliament, one, Dr Unity Dow having been brought to the law making house through the Special Nomination dispensation.

With BDP having received the worst popular vote in its entire history last year, Makgato wants the Women’s Wing to also take charge of increasing the party visibility in constituencies.

Makgato said as part of the new committee’s agenda which includes creating additional organizational structures at regional and national level, the women’s wing will audit BDP women structures as well as identify and profile BDP talent to serve as role models to younger women in politics.

The former Trade Minister said they will have some events which are not partisan to attract new members into the BDP folder.

The newly elected committee met President Khama this week to introduce themselves.

The ascendency of Makgato to the Chairpersonship of the Women’s Wing comes at a time when the party is readying itself for the elective congress in July in which scores of BDP heavy weights are jostling for influential party positions. Makgato has however refused to be drawn into announcing which candidates her committee will be throwing their weight behind.   

Since being appointed Specially Elected MP following the 2009 general elections, Makgato has proved to be one of Khama’s trusted and performing cabinet members.

Makgato joined BDP from Botswana Export Development Investment Agency, (now Botswana Investment Trade Centre) and was immediately appointed Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry but later took over as a full Minister following the ill health of the then Minister, the late Baledzi Gaolathe.

During the past general elections, Makgato contested for Sefhare-Ramokgonami constituency and won against Dr Kesitigile Gobotswang of Botswana Congress Party (BCP). She was then moved to Ministry of Health following the appointment of the new cabinet.

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BCP, AP stalemate in 7 constituencies

21st March 2023

When the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Alliance for Progressives, Botswana Labour Party (BLP), and conveners reconvene next week, the controversial issue of allocation of the seven constituencies will be the main topic of discussion, WeekendPost can reveal.

Not only that, but the additional four constituencies will also dominate the talks. The idea is to finally close the “constituency allocation phase,” which has proven to be the most difficult part of the ongoing negotiations.

Earlier this year, the two parties announced that the marathon talks would be concluded by February. Even at a media briefing last month, BCP Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile and Publicity Secretary Dr. Mpho Pheko were optimistic that the negotiations would be concluded before the end of February.

However, it is now mid-March and the talks have yet to be concluded. What could be the reasons for the delay? This is a question that both Kekgonegile and Pheko have not responded to, as they have ignored the reporters’ inquiries. However, a senior figure within the party has confided to this publication as to what is delaying the highly anticipated negotiations.

“We are reconvening next week to finalize constituency allocations, taking into account the additional four new ones plus the outstanding seven,” he explained. It later surfaced that Gaborone Central, Gaborone North, Mogoditshane, Tswapong North, Francistown West, Tati West, and Nata Gweta are all contested by both BCP and AP. This is because the other 50 constituencies were allocated by December of last year.

The three parties have failed to find common ground for the Bosele Ward by-elections. Are these constituencies not a deal breaker for the talks? “None of the constituencies is a deal breaker,” responded a very calm BCP official.

In Bosele Ward, AP has yielded to BCP, despite most of its members disapproving the decision. On the other hand, BLP has refused, and it will face off with BCP together with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The decision by BLP to face off with BCP has been labelled as a false start for the talks by political observers.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

21st March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

Merapelo Mokgosi, the Assistant Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), confirmed that he will be extradited to France, where he is wanted for his crimes.

“It is true that Tayub will be extradited to France, where he has been wanted for some time,” says Mokgosi.

She explained that the fugitive was arrested by the Botswana Police in early January while attempting to enter Botswana through the Pioneer border gate. Since his arrest, he has been appearing before the Lobatse Magistrate Court to fight his release from custody and to object to his extradition to France. During his court appearance, Tayub opted for voluntary extradition.

“He opted for voluntary extradition, which the extradition Act allows,” said Mokgosi. She added that the suspect was not under duress when he chose voluntary extradition. Soon after he made this choice, the Ministry of Justice was notified, and the minister approved his extradition. Preparations are still underway to fly the wanted man to France, and once the necessary paperwork is completed between the two nations, the suspect will be extradited.

Mokgosi indicated that plans were still being made to complete the suspect’s extradition to France, and the Botswana government would pay for his flight along with his escort.

Meanwhile, the court has ordered the Botswana Prison Services (BPS) to provide the Islamic British fugitive with “halal food” while he is in custody.

In an earlier court application, Tayub had asked to be detained at a five-star hotel, as he could pay for it until the completion of his case. He also argued that he should not have to wear a prison uniform due to the Covid-19 outbreak. He was thought to have been traveling to Malawi at the time of his capture.

When delivering the order, the principal magistrate, Gofaone Morwang, said the detainee should be provided with halal daily rations with immediate effect while he is in custody. The magistrate dismissed TAYUB’s application for hotel detention and exemption from wearing a prison uniform.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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