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Laona Segaetsho – The Networker

Mr Laone Joel Segaetsho was a colossus of a man, physically and in deed. As an easy goer and networker, I interacted with him on many fronts and it is difficult to write some and leave some out. We were all activists, but also met on business and family matters. Interestingly, Laone liked swimming, as he would not miss the opportunity of plunging into the swimming pool.

In 1995, I organised an interview with Ms Montlenyane Baaitse of Radio Botswana’s (RB 1) Masa-a-sele programme. As secondary school teachers in Sefhare, we were forming a secondary school teachers’ organisation. RB 1 then had characteristics of a public broadcaster and allowed the interview.

Thousands of teachers were apparently listening to the radio as I and a colleague, Mbanga Mbanga was planning to form a teacher association. That interview, led to what is BOSETU today having metamorphosed from Botswana Federation of Secondary School Teachers association (BOFESETE), which had collapsed then.

It was then difficult to publicise the activities of BOFESETE to the teachers and the nation at large to know that there was a teacher organisation. Radio was the answer. There were no private radio stations and no mobile phones until around 1998 when Gabzfm complimented RB1 quite well by giving us radio interviews too. It was during Segaetsho’s days at RB 1 that BOFESETE grew in leaps and bounds, attracting thousands of new members through the morning show of Masa-a-sele.

As a teacher and BOSETU Publicity Secretary then, I was welcome to propose debate topics to Segaetsho and his other afternoon show team mate Squandor Baitshepi of Live line show. Together with their management team, they gave BOFESETE unlimited airtime.

The organisation was failing to form a quorum at times at national conferences and the radio rescued the situation. By the time autocrats in government blacklisted BOSETU from being covered by Botswana Television, Botswana Daily News and Radio Botswana, BOSETU had already grown in leaps and bounds and did not miss the state media.

The private radio and print media did a great job for the organisation. Through the intense RB 1 debates, the government had to revise a number of programmes and policies during the time, and it was the nation that ultimately benefited. BOSETU launched a spirited publicity campaign against the transportation of students by open trucks, and as a result, government bought buses to solve this problem.

Segaetsho also allowed us to condemn the way parallel progression was structured; re-introduction of school fees; double shift; scarce skills, working and living conditions of teachers, etc. Segaetsho and company would even cover the always successful peaceful demonstrations before such demonstrations were outlawed by the government. While at Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) as Chairperson, Segaetsho would not hesitate to informally remind BOSETU to renew its membership.

He is one of those people who contributed immensely to BOSETU growth and its positive network with the media, through MISA. BOSETU owes its share of growth to this media activist as he did not entertain self sensorship in handling union issues. Last year, when BOSETU was exploring opportunities of further expanding its international networks, Segaetsho came handy and profiled opportunities in USA, especially that he was an employee of the embassy here.

As a progressive media activist, Laone did not miss the recent two Gabz fm Presidential debates, as we would make a post debate analysis at the end. You contributed to media plurality of this country. Go well cde! Your family, friends and nation will take solace to your immense contribution in the media fraternity.

Justin Hunyepa is Former BOSETU Publicity Secretary and Executive Secretary

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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