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BDP kills Motswaledi motion

The late Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) leader, Gomolemo Motswaledi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) caucus led By President Lt Gen lan Khama secretely decided against a motion of their own Member of Parliament, Biggie Butale to name a major government facility in honour of the late Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) leader Gomolemo Motswaledi.


The party caucus debated the motion for three hours with varying views on it from diffrent members.A cabinet member told this publication that most of the members were in support of the motion but the party leadership decided that the move will be politically suicidal.Khama was instrumetal in making sure that the motion was withdrawn and the party was left with no other choice but to follow his instruction.


The party took a resolution to shoot down the motion on the basis that it will give credence to the flourishing Umbrella For Democratic Change (UDC) and hurt the ailing BDP. In parliment yesterday (Friday) after been given the oppotunity to table his motion the mover of the Motion, Butale rose up to and said “Madam Speaker it is with deep sorow and regret that i have to withdraw the motion.” He declined to field further questions from WeekendPost.


The BDP leadership including President Lt Gen Ian Khama and Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi had tried to advise Butale against the motion. However, he chose to proceed with it.


The BDP discussed the issue to avoid confusion in parliament as some members did not know whether to go with or against the motion.This was evident in the genesis part of the debates as Cabinet ministers started filing out of parliament buildings as soon as Butale presented the controversial motion.


Before debate was to begin, confusion reigned over whether the motion should be directed at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration or the Transport and Communications one. This was after Minister of Lands and Housing Prince Maele interrupted the presentation seeking clarification about which ministry will be responsible for responding to the motion.


The motion was however deferred when National Assembly deputy speaker Kagiso Molatlhegi ruled that the motion could not be relevant as ministers were absent from Parliament.


Butale as sources said was also warned to watch his steps and avoid appearing to be speaking from the opposition corner.Butale, a pastor however is said to have said that his motion was clean and in good faith.


“The BDP Caucus is of the view that the UDC cannot and should not be allowed any space to breath following their humiliation of the BDP in the just-ended elections.They posit that aceeding to Butale ‘s motion will promote the UDC and may appear to be a victory in parliament for the arrogant UDC,” a member who attended the caucus shared.


The party’s worry was that the BDP is already losing support as evidenced by its razor thin margin of 46.7 %  and is not in  a position to take any further risks of legitimising or promoting the pompous opposition. The party that has ruled this country since independence, the BDP member said is wary of its declining popularity and will be hatching a comeback strategy for the future.


The party’s fortunes have been waning election after election since managing 80 percent of the votes in 1965. Things worsened from 1999 to 2009. In 1999 the party managed 57.15 and in 2004 it amassed 51.73 while in 2009 it could only manage 53 percent before 46.7 percent in highly contested last year’s elections.


Motswaledi was a committed member of the BDP since childhood up until his fallout with the BDP president, Lt Gen Ian Khama in 2010.The fall-out led to his dismissal from the party prompting him, along with his sympathisers to form a BDP splinter party, the BMD. He died last year in a controversial car accident. Butale is of the view that Motswaledi needs to be honoured for the indelible mark he has left in this country for his immense contribution in the field of politics and music.

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UDC founder warns against merger

19th October 2020
Ex UDC Convener: Mpotokwane

Lebang Mpotokwane, one of the conveners who presided over the opposition cooperation talks that resulted in the formation of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has advised against changing the current umbrella model in favour of a merger as proposed by others.

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Dumelang Saleshando recently went public to propose that UDC should consider merging of all opposition parties, including Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BNF).

Saleshando has been vehemently opposed by Botswana National Front (BNF), which is in favour of maintaining the current model.  BNF’s position has been favoured by the founding father of UDC, who warned that it will be too early to ditch the current model.

“UDC should be well developed to promote the spirit of togetherness on members and the members should be taught so that the merger is developed gradually. They should approach it cautiously. If they feel they are ready, they can, but it would not be a good idea,” Mpotokwane told WeekendPost this week.

Mpotokwane and Emang Maphanyane are the two men who have since 2003 began a long journey of uniting opposition parties in a bid to dethrone the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BCP) as they felt it needed a strong opposition to avoid complacency.

Tonota born Mpotokwane is however disappointed on how they have been ejected from participating in the last edition of talks ahead of the 2019 general elections in which BCP was brought on board.  However, despite the ejection, Mpotokwane is not resentful to the opposition collective.

He said the vision of opposition unity was to ultimately merge the opposition parties but he believes time has not arrived yet to pursue that path. “The bigger picture was a total merger and we agreed that with three independent parties, members might be against merger eventuality so the current model should be used until a point where they are now together for as long as possible,” he said.

“UDC should gradually perform better in elections and gain confidence. They should not rush the merger. We have been meeting since 2003, but if they rush it might cause endless problems. If they are ready they can anyway,” he advised. For now the constituent parties of the umbrella have been exchanging salvos with others (BCP and BNF).

“There are good reasons for and against merging the parties. Personally, I am in favour of merging the parties (including AP and BPF) into a single formation but I know it’s a complex mission that will have its own challenges,” Saleshando said when he made his position known a week ago.

“Good luck to those advocating for a merger, it will be interesting to observe the tactics they will use to lure the BPF into a merger,” former BNF councillor for Borakalalo Ward and former BNF Youth League Secretary General, Arafat Khan, opined in relation to BCP’s proposed position.

Mpotokwane, who is currently out in the cold from the UDC since he was ejected from the party’s NEC in 2017, said the current bickering and the expected negotiations with other parties need the presence of conveners.

“We did not belong to any party as conveners so we were objective in our submissions. If party propose any progressive idea we will support, if it is not we will not, so I would agree that even now conveners might be key for neutrality to avoid biasness,” he observed. Despite being abandoned, Mpotokwane said he will always be around to assist if at all he is needed.

“If they want help I will be there, I have always been clear about it, but surely I will ask few questions before accepting that role,” he said. UDC is expected to begin cooperation talks with both AP and BPF either this week or next weekend for both upcoming bye-elections (halted by Covid-19) and 2024 general elections and it is revealed that there will be no conveners this time around.

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BDP attaches Boko’s property

19th October 2020
DUMA BOKO

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) moved through its lawyers to attach the property of Umbrella for Democratic (UDC) President Duma Boko and other former parliamentary contestants who failed in their court bid to overturn the 2019 general elections in 14 constituencies.

WeekendPost has established that this week, Deputy Sheriffs were commissioned by Bogopa Manewe Tobedza and Company who represented the BDP, to attach the properties of UDC elections contents in a bid to recover costs.  High Court has issued a writ of execution against all petitioners, a process that has set in motion the cost recovery measures.

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COVID-19 exposes decay in the education system

19th October 2020
Education Systm

Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) says COVID-19 as a pandemic has negatively affected the education sector by deeply disrupting the education system. The intermittent lockdowns have resulted in the halting of teaching and learning in schools.

The union indicated that the education system was caught napping and badly exposed when it came to the use of Information System (IT), technological platforms and issues of digitalisation.

“COVID-19 exposed glaring inefficiencies and deficiencies when it came to the use of ITC in schools. In view of the foregoing, we challenge government as BOSETU to invest in school ITC, technology and digitalization,” says BOSETU President Kinston Radikolo during a press conference on Tuesday.

As a consequence, the union is calling on government to prioritise education in her budgeting to provide technological infrastructure and equipment including provision of tablets to students and teachers.

“Government should invest vigorously in internet connectivity in schools and teacher’s residences if the concept of flexi-hours and virtual learning were to be achieved and have desired results,” Radikolo said.

Radikolo told journalists that COVID-19 is likely to negatively affect final year results saying that the students would sit for the final examinations having not covered enough ground in terms of curriculum coverage.

“This is so because there wasn’t any catch up plan that was put in place to recover the lost time by students. We warn that this year’s final examination results would dwindle,” he said.

The Union, which is an affiliate of Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Union (BOFEPUSU), also indicated that COVID-19’s presence as a pandemic has complicated the role of a teacher in a school environment, saying a teacher’s role has not only transcended beyond just facilitating teaching and learning, but rather, a teacher in this COVID-19 era, is also called upon to enforce the COVID-19 preventative protocols in the school environment.

“This is an additional role in the duty of a teacher that needs to be recognized by the employers. Teachers by virtue of working in a congested school environment have become highly exposed and vulnerable to COVID-19, hence the reason why BOSETU would like teachers to be regarded as the frontline workers with respect to COVID-19,” says Radikolo.

BOSETU noted that the pandemic has in large scales found its way into most of the school environments, as in thus far more than 50 schools have been affected by COVID-19. The Union says this is quite a worrying phenomenon.

“As we indicated before when we queried that schools were not ready for re-opening, it has now come to pass that our fears were not far-fetched. This goes out to tell that there is deficiency in our schools when it comes to putting in place preventative protocols. In our schools, hygiene is compromised by mere absence of sanitizers, few hand-washing stations, absence of social distancing in classes,” the Union leader said.

Furthermore, Radikolo stressed that the shifting system drastically increased the workload for teachers especially in secondary schools. He says teachers in these schools experience very high loads to an extent that some of them end up teaching up to sixty four periods per week, adding that this has not only fatigued teachers, but has also negatively affected their performance and the quality of teaching.

In what the Union sees as failure to uphold and honour collective agreements by government, owing to the shift system introduced at primary schools, government is still in some instances refusing to honour an agreement with the Unions to hire more teachers to take up the extra classes.

“BOSETU notes with disgruntlement the use of pre-school teachers to teach in the mainstream schools with due regard for their specific areas of training and their job descriptions. This in our view is a variation of the terms of employment of the said teachers,” says Radikolo.

The Union has called on government to forthwith remedy this situation and hire more teachers to alleviate this otherwise unhealthy situation. BOSETU also expressed concerns of some school administrators who continuously run institutions with iron fists and in a totalitarian way.

“We have a few such hot spot schools which the Union has brought to attention the Ministry officials such as Maoka JSS, Artesia JSS, and Dukwi JSS. We are worried that the Ministry becomes sluggish in taking action against such errant school administration. In instances where action is taken, such school administrators are transferred and rotated around schools.”

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