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Afrobarometer barred from doing surveys within BDF bases


Afrobarometer surveys are supposed to be representative of the entire population of Botswana, but it has emerged that the entire Botswana Defence Force, which has over 12 000 personnel has never been included in these surveys.


Researchers for this institute have revealed that the Office of the President has listed the military base as one of the no go areas for their surveys. Some of the prohibited areas are prisons which hold thousands of inmates and Game Reserves which are often homes to many tribal people of Sesarwa origin.


“When we do statistics we are not allowed to go to prisons, military bases and game reserves,” pointed out Professor Mogopodi Lekorwe of the Afrobarometer.


The restriction comes with the survey permit issued by the Office of the President before the commencement of any survey.  The researchers were speaking in Gaborone this week during a stakeholders meeting where the Afrobarometer round six survey was reviewed.


The round six survey was an opinion poll of Batswana on the quality of democracy and governance in Botswana with special focus on the level of trust on government institutions, judiciary, political representatives and the country’s presidency.


The restriction on the army barracks is also extended to statistics Botswana whose researchers are also denied access to the barracks.


However none of the researchers at the meeting wanted to admit publicly that the restrictions do have a bearing on the final results of the surveys.


Concerns were however raised by some of the academics during the meeting that corruption that might be going on in the army might be systematic and could only surface through proper studies. The contention was that it was seemingly not so tidy for the Office of the President to be prescribing who does not have to participate in the survey as it was a conflicted party in issues of governance and especially that the President was the commander in chief of the Military.


The concerns by local Academics are supported by an army personnel, Dan Henk of the American Air Force who previously made findings about the BDF and its control by the country’s President.


In his report, titled Evolution of a professional African military, Professor Henk 
suggested that considerable power is concentrated in the office of the President and this according to him has very specific ramifications for the military.


“The powerful position of the executive branch in relationship to the Defence Force raises another key question relating to civil- military relations in Botswana how are decisions made on substantive issues of national security policy? The most perceptive observers of national politics in Botswana believe that essential security-related decisions are made by a small group of senior officials that are close confidantes of the president, with limited consultation outside this circle, a feature difficult to reconcile with liberal democratic norms of accountability and transparency. Significantly, this inner circle includes the past and present commanders of the BDF. Clearly, the senior military leadership is well represented in the councils of state, ” Henk  pointed out.


He further added that the “concentration of power is more worrisome in view of a peculiar obsession for secrecy on the part of both the executive branch and the military itself. This not only applies to the large issues of operations and equipment acquisition but also extends to very mundane and seemingly innocuous issues, including the exact size of the force and the levels of pay and allowances for personnel.”


A National Security Act prohibits the disclosure of any information the government considers privileged, with penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment.

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BAD WEEK FOR MANCHESTER CITY

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After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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