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IEC blames fake news for doubtful 2019 elections

Fake news have caused chaos in the just ended 2019 General Elections and left an egg on the face of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). IEC operates under the auspices of Office of the President (OP), which is under the grip of the governing party, an interested player in the elections of Botswana.

The recent elections have raised questions of integrity and its outcome remains in doubt from certain quarters especially opposition political parties. This led to numerous election protests in IEC, which had tussled in court following petitions and appeals from opposition parties. The election disputes saw 24 petitions lodged with the High Court, in which two were withdrawn before hearing, 15 petitions were dismissed on preliminary points of law while seven progressed to trial.

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng had told Parliament that subsequently 14 were later dismissed at Court of Appeal which was said to not have jurisdiction over National Assembly election petitions. IEC has ascribed and attributed these election protests and prevailing state of affairs to fake news era and abuse of social media by among others, media and the public.

IEC Spokesperson Osupile Maroba told WeekendPost that elections are very sensitive and are conducted in accordance with strict compliance to the electoral laws, and therefore any single occurrence of publication of fake news could have far reaching implications. “The disinformation and fake news perpetuated the already existing perceptions on the integrity of the IEC. The public subscribe to what they read on social media and any news, fake or authentic, is considered as the truth by those who read them and influence their response,” he pointed out.

According to Maroba, some of the common fake news during elections included announcing wrong opening and closing polling hours, declaring winning candidates before conclusion of counting, using it to confirm to their candidates or agents that they have voted for and false declaration of polling day prior to issuance of the writs of elections. “These fake news compromised the integrity of the electoral process and further confused the public,” he decried.

He continued to restrain social media users to exercise caution when discussing sensitive processes, while adding that disinformation through fake news may lead to sensationalization of issues and trigger election instability in the country. Meanwhile Leader of Opposition Dumelang Saleshando also expressed his worry in Parliament immediately after last elections that fake news and foul language dominated social media from all quarters.

“You will agree with me that to describe the 2019 elections using phrases like political maturity, tolerance, respect for one another and peace smacks of denialism,” he asserted. According to Saleshando even intraparty contests leading to the national elections were characterised by intense friction leading to court interventions, with some losers being labelled Manyasa after many years of loyal service to the country. “The first election under the leadership of President Masisi has brought to the fore, the weaknesses of our system and how it can be abused for electoral gains,” the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Vice President asserted.

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6th February 2023

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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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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