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Ministers meet Tsogwane over Corona crisis

The churches umbrella bodies, the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), Botswana Council of Churches (BCC), and the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) have asked President Mokgweetsi Masisi to set a date for a national prayer against the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Botswana is yet to register any confirmed cases of the virus and the church bodies are convinced that this is abundant mercifulness and favour of God on Botswana and this recognition of the divine is best expressed in prayer, the three church bodies said. “For this reason, we hereby resolve and declare a national call to prayer by every citizen and resident of Botswana. Through, this all are required to join and participate in the forty days of national prayer,” reads a letter given to Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. The prayer should effect from the 1st of April to the 3rd of May.

The church bodies ask the citizenry of Botswana to spend at least three minutes in prayer from their houses, offices and workplaces. The agreement according Botswana Network of Christian Communities (BONECO) Secretary Reverend Gabriel Tsuaneng is ready to assist the government with resources. “We further continue to explore how our resources such as human (both clergy and laity), social resources such as land and buildings could be availed for the benefit of the nation in a difficult time such as this.”

On top of this there is also a suggestion from Raphael Habibo from EFB that the government through President Masisi to make a call for prayer day to ask God’s grace to continue protecting the nation from the virus. Tsogwane has assured the churches that he will relay the message to his superior. While church leaders agree that they would be ready to work with government, they feel hard done by President Masisi for not including them in his task team fighting the pandemic.

“We are ready VP to fight this and we are because we have also stopped the Easter Pilgrimages but I feel the task team should have included the faith sector because with God everything is okay,” OFAIC leader Tebogo Motlhagodi. Motlhagodi’s argument is if they could have been included from the onset they would have conveyed the message to their congregants from a more authoritative corner than from volunteerism and they will be ready to join the committee if at all they would be roped in.

The church leadership who were glad to have met with VP and Ministers to map the way forward in dealing with virus also had some requests.  “We should have media space in media where we will have programs that would uplift the spiritual well-being of our people,” EFB President, Moffat Lubinda said. His fellow clergymen also converged. “We need more slots from radio and television so that we can relay the message of hope and motivate the people,” added Reverend Tsuaneng.

Their request however has not been given the thumbs up by government and they will remain in limbo until the government decides.  “I have noted your suggestion regarding the programming at Mass Media but let me say, it has been noted. I cannot give you a definite answer but I heard you,” Minister of Presidential Affairs Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng told the Ministers. Another concern from the church leaders was regarding government’s decision to change numbers of allowed congregants in a church.

The priests say initially it was said 100 will be allowed to worship, then it was 50 now it is 10. “But the police did not interpret it well because the law says less than 10 people should be allowed to worship but to our surprise they closed down most of the churches without looking at the numbers. The churches should continue to operate and we will do all we can to ensure that we comply,” Motlhagodi lamented. As the virus numbers continue to cause havoc, some churches cry that their closure means they will not pay their staff and will not be able to pay their utilities.

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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
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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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