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BDP stallions come hard on BOFEPUSU nosiness

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) defenders, Secretary General Mpho Balopi and Youth Wing chairman, Andy Boatile have lashed at Johnson Motshwarakgole and his Federation for ‘interferring’ in the party’s internal elections.

Balopi and Boatle are of the view that the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU)’s efforts to try and influence the outcomes of BDP’s upcoming elective congress will come to naught.
BOFEPUSU announced last week that it will influence its members and sympathizers within BDP not vote for Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi in his bid to become the party chairman.

This has irked BDP party leadership, and the ruling party’s secretary general issued a subsequent statement castigating the union for what he called “meddling in the affairs of the BDP.”

Balopi defended Masisi’s policy towards workers, and noted that the Vice President believes in a society that is just and opens up opportunity for all its members. “He believes that workers should be renumerated fairly and their conditions of service must also be improved,” said Balopi in a statement.

Balopi said BOFEPUSU is still held on pre-elections rivalries instead of adopting a reconciliatory stand. He further accused, BOFEPUSU’s Labour Secretary, Johnson Motshwarakgole of being a divisive character. “Once again, BOFEPUSU is wasting limited workers resources and time in a political campaign that has nothing to do with them and the interests of members,” he stated.

In the run up to the 2014 general elections, Masisi was among the list of Members of Parliament who were viewed as anti-workers therefore having to be de-campaigned. Among the list include former Gaborone Central MP and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando and former Leader of Opposition Botsalo Ntuane who went on to lose their parliamentary seats.

BOFEPUSU has had not a good relationship with Masisi ever since the 2011 public servants strike in which Masisi was then minister responsible for public service. BOFEPUSU has described him an enemy of labour movements therefore deserving to be de-campaigned.

Balopi said BOFEPUSU has lost the true mandate of the trade unions and it is has now lost the plot as its leaders are politicians masquerading as trade unionist. “The race for the BDP Chairmanship is a matter to be decided at congress by members of the party and we don’t understand why Motshwarakgole imagines he has the power to dictate how our people will vote,” he contended.

The BDP Secretary General said Motshwarakgole is still smarting from electoral defeat and he personally is still dealing with having his ambitions of being specially nominated thwarted.

Meanwhile Boatile has observed that Motshwarakgole wants to influence BDP members to vote weak leaders. “The reason why he is afraid of Masisi is that he knows that he is the one who will take the BDP to victory in 2019,” observed Boatile. The Youth Wing chairman said he was ready to defend the Vice President against Motshwarakgole who has lost his sense of purpose as a unionist.

Masisi announced his bid for chairmanship a few weeks ago, changing the race for the coveted central committee position. The battle for chairmanship will see Masisi facing strong contenders in former Cabinet Ministers Ramadeluka Seretse and Tebelelo Seretse, while the youthful Biggie Butale has also been mentioned as a candidate who’s likely to cause major upset in the race.

Tebelelo Seretse, tried her luck in the Chairmanship in 2009, when he faced the than indomitable Daniel Kwelagobe but suffered a defeat.

Masisi’s entrance into the race is viewed as a strategic move to consolidate his power within the party as he readies to take over the presidency in three years time. Masisi will automatically become president of Botswana when the office becomes vacant at the beginning of April in 2018.

BOFEPUSU has made it clear that they will do everything in their power to block Masisi from becoming Vice President, though he will ascend with the help of constitution provision.

BOFEPUSU leadership is convinced that Masisi played a mainstay role in the government’s decision to take away multimillion GEMVAS tender from Unigem (Pty) Ltd, a company which is owned by affiliates of BOFEPUSU save for Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) which de-invested from the company last year for what it called “business reasons”.

“He (Masisi) is the one spearheading the GEMVAS in-sourcing such that by the 1st of June, 2015, it would be totally under the control of government. We disqualify Masisi because if he succeeds Khama as the next President he would be a much worse dictator than him,” said Motshwarakgole.

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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.

Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.

The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.

Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.

“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.

Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.

Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.

For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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