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Thursday, 30 November 2023

Moruakgomo retained as BALA president


He triumphed over nominated Cllr Peloetletse

Mpho Moruakgomo has been retained as the president of Botswana Association of Local Authority (BALA). Moruakgomo emerged victorious this week after outclassing outspoken Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s nominated councilor for Gaborone City Council (GCC), Macdonald Peloetletse. Moruakgomo garnered 70 votes against Peloetletse’s paltry 12 votes.

The vote means Moruakgomo is retained as president of the umbrella body of local authorities in the country for the next two years. Sylviah Muzilla also triumphed as a vice president for the organisation after hammering Caroline Lesang and Alec Seametso who each got 14 votes; Motlhophi Leo came fourth with 12 votes.

 The new Project Officer is James Kgalajwe who got 51 votes against Nthobatsang’s 27. After attracting 38 votes, Peter Williams also lost to Leonard Mojuta who got 41 votes. The additional members are Phenyo Segokgo and Ido Lesope. Other positions included Welfare officer which was won by Botho Ntirang after he garnered 57 votes to Foster Seretse’s 23 votes.

Geoffrey Sibisibi got away with the Finance Committee chair with 65 votes against 13 votes for Mohammed Sobhan while Jordan Makhura was voted by 54 delegates to Ezekiel Kajou’s 23 for the regions. The opposition put forward three names for contestation and won two.

Meanwhile the decision by the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) councilors not to field a candidate is said to have favoured the Moruakgomo camp.

It is understood that due to their inferior numbers in the Local Authorities around the country, the opposition collective did not fancy its chances of taking the reins of leadership at BALA. In most cases, politicians vote along party lines. Some say opposition didn’t contest for top positions as nobody was available from their parties – or atleast not ready to do so. However, it is not clear if they took a resolution as opposition to vote for a preferred candidate over the other. What is crystal clear though is that they have voted – and that is to say they have voted for Mpho Moruakgomo as a preferred BDP candidate in the just ended BALA elections.

Speaking to this publication after the elections, opposition Councillors spokesperson at the event, Stephen Makhura said they had no official position as opposition councilors with regard to who to rally behind between Moruakgomo and Peloetletse. As such, it is believed that Council Secretaries (16) also played a vital role in the outcome. But Makhura confirmed that they all cast their vote in accordance with their individual conscience.

WeekendPost has however established that although they were divided, Moruakgomo had enormous support from the opposition bench. Peloetletse was dismissed as a new comer who doesn’t know anything with regard to running of Councils – this publication gathered.

Makhura defended the opposition’s no-show for the presidency and voted for the BDP’s Moruakgomo saying it was not the first time a party supported the other for BALA leadership. “BALA is not formed under BDP but it’s for all Councils in the country regardless of party affiliations, he clarified.

“Besides the late Botswana National Front (BNF) stalwart Paul Rantao, who was the mayor of Gaborone then, was at one point president of BALA, somewhere between 1989 and 1994, before going to parliament – and he was elected to the position by the ruling BDP. BALA was never formed for BDP or opposition but for all the parties,” he said.

 It has also come to this publication’s attention that some BDP followers are also calling for non politicisation of BALA and want to avoid by all costs turning the organization into pro-BDP organ. They say it should be a representation of all people despite party affiliations. According to Makhura, opposition did not necessarily make an outstanding impact but added that, “only lobby influenced the outcome of the election and not a party bloc supporting one candidate over the other.”

Only delegates were allowed from the Councils to cast their votes. Basically, on average it was 5 delegates per Council. From Gaborone City Council (GCC) was a delegation of 5 Councillors casting their votes in which only 2 were opposition and 3 BDP, while Central District Council (CDC) there were 7 in which 2 were opposition and 5 BDP, Kgatleng District Council (KDC) 6 delegates 5 from opposition and 1 BDP (Moruakgomo himself). Chobe District Council (CDC) had 3 BDP delegates while opposition had 1. Many of the Council delegates were made up of more BDP Councillors than opposition.

Besides the UDC Councillor Makhura also stated that the opposition needs to further understand the organization before they contest for the presidency of the latter. He said they only fielded other positions like that for regions and one of the three special nominated members in the just ended elections.

BALA was formed to promote unity, cohesion, solidarity and cooperation among Local Authorities across the length and breadth of the country. Currently, there are 16 Councils – including ten District Councils, three Town Councils and one Town Authority. In the build up to the formation of BALA, it was found that there is need for information and exchange of experiences among councilors and as such an organisation that was later to be named BALA came to being.

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19 Bokamoso Private Hospital nurses graduate at Lenmed Nursing College

28th November 2023

The graduation of 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College marks a significant milestone in their careers. These nurses have successfully completed various short learning programs, including Adult Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Nursing Care, Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing, Anaesthetic Nursing, and Recovery Room Nursing. The ceremony, held in Gaborone, was a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Lenmed Nursing College, a renowned healthcare group with a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana, has been instrumental in providing quality education and training to healthcare professionals. The Group Head of Operations, Jayesh Parshotam, emphasized the importance of upskilling nurses, who are at the forefront of healthcare systems. He also expressed his appreciation for the partnerships with Bokamoso Private Hospital, the Ministry of Health, and various health training institutes in Botswana.

Dr. Morrison Sinvula, a consultant from the Ministry of Health, commended Lenmed Health and Lenmed Nursing College for their commitment to the education and training of these exceptional nurses. He acknowledged their guidance, mentorship, and support in shaping the nurses’ careers and ensuring their success. Dr. Sinvula also reminded the graduates that education does not end here, as the field of healthcare is constantly evolving. He encouraged them to remain committed to lifelong learning and professional development, embracing new technologies and staying updated with the latest medical advancements.

Dr. Gontle Moleele, the Superintendent of Bokamoso Private Hospital, expressed her excitement and pride in the graduating class of 2023. She acknowledged the sacrifices made by these individuals, who have families and responsibilities, to ensure their graduation. Dr. Moleele also thanked Lenmed Nursing College for providing this opportunity to the hospital’s nurses, as it will contribute to the growth of the hospital.

The certificate recipients from Bokamoso Private Hospital were recognized for their outstanding achievements in their respective programs. Those who received the Cum Laude distinction in the Adult Intensive Care Unit program were Elton Keatlholwetse, Lebogang Kgokgonyane, Galaletsang Melamu, Pinkie Mokgosi, Ofentse Seboletswe, Gorata Basupi, Bareng Mosala, and Justice Senyarelo. In the Emergency Nursing Care program, Atlanang Moilwa, Bakwena Moilwa, Nathan Nhiwathiwa, Mogakolodi Lesarwe, Modisaotsile Thomas, and Lorato Matenje received the Cum Laude distinction. Kelebogile Dubula and Gaolatlhe Sentshwaraganye achieved Cum Laude in the Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing program, while Keletso Basele excelled in the Anaesthetic Nursing program. Mompoloki Mokwaledi received recognition for completing the Recovery Room Nursing program.

In conclusion, the graduation of these 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College is a testament to their dedication and commitment to their profession. They have successfully completed various short learning programs, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields. The collaboration between Lenmed Nursing College, Bokamoso Private Hospital, and the Ministry of Health has played a crucial role in their success. As they embark on their careers, these nurses are encouraged to continue their professional development and embrace new advancements in healthcare.

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BNF secures 15 constituencies in UDC coalition, wants more

28th November 2023

The Botswana National Front (BNF) has recently announced that they have already secured 15 constituencies in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, despite ongoing negotiations. This revelation comes as the BNF expresses its dissatisfaction with the current government and its leadership.

The UDC, which is comprised of the BNF, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Alliance for Progressives (AP), and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), is preparing for the upcoming General Elections. However, the negotiations to allocate constituencies among the involved parties are still underway. Despite this, the BNF Chairman, Patrick Molotsi, confidently stated that they have already acquired 15 constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally.

Molotsi’s statement reflects the BNF’s long-standing presence in many constituencies across Botswana. With a strong foothold in these areas, it is only natural for the BNF to seek an increase in the number of constituencies they represent. This move not only strengthens their position within the UDC coalition but also demonstrates their commitment to serving the interests of the people.

In a press conference, BNF Secretary General, Ketlhafile Motshegwa, expressed his discontent with the current government leadership. He criticized the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for what he perceives as a disregard for the well-being of the Batswana people. Motshegwa highlighted issues such as high unemployment rates and shortages of essential medicines as evidence of the government’s failure to address the needs of its citizens.

The BNF’s dissatisfaction with the current government is a reflection of the growing discontent among the population. The Batswana people are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the failure to address pressing issues. The BNF’s assertion that the government is playing with the lives of its citizens resonates with many who feel neglected and unheard.

The BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, even before the negotiations have concluded, is a testament to their popularity and support among the people. It is a clear indication that the Batswana people are ready for change and are looking to the BNF to provide the leadership they desire.

As the negotiations continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the interests of the people. The allocation of constituencies should be done in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that the voices of all citizens are represented. The BNF’s success in securing constituencies should serve as a reminder to the other parties of the need to listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people they aim to represent.

In conclusion, the BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, despite ongoing negotiations, highlights their strong presence and support among the Batswana people. Their dissatisfaction with the current government leadership reflects the growing discontent in the country. As the UDC coalition prepares for the upcoming General Elections, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize the needs and aspirations of the people. The BNF’s success should serve as a reminder of the importance of listening to the voices of the citizens and working towards a better future for Botswana.








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Children’s summit to discuss funding of NGOS

21st November 2023

One of the key issues that will be discussed by the Childrens’ Summit, which will be hosted by Childline Botswana Trust on 28th – 30th November in Gaborone, will be the topical issue of financing and strengthening of civil society organizations.

A statement from Childline Botswana indicates that the summit will adopt a road map for resourcing the children’s agenda by funding organizations. It will also cover issues relating to child welfare and protection; aimed at mobilizing governments to further strengthen Child Helplines; as well as sharing of emerging technologies to enhance the protection of Children and promotion of their rights.

According to Gaone Chepete, Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement towards promoting practices and policies that fulfil children’s rights and welfare.

“Child Helplines in the region meet on a bi-annual basis to reflect on the state of children; evaluate their contribution and share experiences and best practice in the provision of services for children,” said Chepete.

The financing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the state or its functionaries has generated mixed reactions from within the civil society space, with many arguing that it threatened NGOs activism and operational independence.

In February 2019, University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo released a paper titled “State philanthropy: The demise of charitable organizations in Botswana,” in which he faulted then President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama for using charity for political convenience and annexing the operational space of NGOs.

“Civil society is the domain in which individuals can exercise their rights as citizens and set limits to the power of the state. The state should be developing capable voluntary organizations rather than emaciating or colonizing them by usurping their space,” argued Dipholo.

He further argued that direct involvement of the state or state president in charity breeds unhealthy competition between the state itself and other organizations involved in charity. Under these circumstances, he added, the state will use charity work to remain relevant to the ordinary people and enhance its visibility at the expense of NGOs.

“A consequence of this arrangement is that charitable organizations will become affiliates of the state. This stifles innovation in the sense that it narrows the ability of charitable organizations to think outside the box. It also promotes mono-culturalism, as the state could support only charitable organizations that abide by its wishes,” said Dipholo.

In conclusion, Dipholo urged the state to focus on supporting NGOs so that they operate in a system that combines philanthropic work and state welfare programs.

He added that state philanthropy threatens to relegate and render charitable organizations virtually irrelevant and redundant unless they re-engineer themselves.

Another University of Botswana (UB) academic, Professor Zibani Maundeni, opined that politics vitally shape civil society interaction; as seen in the interactions between the two, where there is mutual criticism in each other’s presence.

Over the years, NGOs have found themselves grappling with dwindling financial resources as donors ran out of money in the face of increased competition for financing. Many NGOs have also been faulted for poorly managing their finances because of limited strategic planning and financial management expertise. This drove NGOs to look to government for funding; which fundamentally altered the relationships between the two. The end result was a complete change in the operational culture of NGOs, which diminished their social impact and made them even more fragile. Increased government control through contract clauses also reduced NGOs activism and autonomy.

However, others believe that NGOs and government need each other, especially in the provision of essential services like child welfare and protection. Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele said government considers NGOs as critical partners in development.

“We recognize the role that NGOs play a critical role in the country’s development agenda,” said Modukanele.

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