Gender Activists have urged government to tackle the mounting Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in a more tangible and attainable approach. As part of fighting the violence, government has been advised to strengthen the justice system by establishing a specialised court which deals with issues of gender based violence, which will also bound the government to provide training to magistrates and judges.
The specialised court, which will form part of the holistic approach to fighting GVB is necessary for the expedition in prosecution of GBV cases. GBV has proven to be the new plague in Botswana, swelling at a startling rate since the introduction of back-to-back COVID-19 lockdowns and the controversial State of Emergency that has been extended by six more months.
When speaking during the Decent Work Day on Wednesday, Gender Activist from SRHR Africa Trust, Goitsemodimo Ditsele, said government has made attempts in trying to address gender based violence, noting the passing of the Bill which aims at establishing the registration Bill for sexual offenders. Ditsele indicated that the police department established the gender desk in most police stations, and further commended the police for sharing GBV data with the nation.
However, she emphasized that Gender-Based Violence is still rather high and a lot needs to be done in addressing the crisis. “We call upon our government to strengthen our justice system by training more police officers and create fully functional gender department within each police station. Even though the gender desk exist in some police stations, it is not enough as there are now few officers who have been trained on gender issues,” she said.
There is a need to collaborate with Non-Governmental Organizations NGOs to come up with standard operating procedures on addressing gender-based violence cases that are reported, Ditsele told WeekendPost on the side-lines of the Decent Work Day. “This is not something new as it has been done before and it proved to be working. Some countries in Southern Africa have fully fleshed gender department in their police stations. These countries include our neighbouring Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia. This is the time for the government of this country to benchmark from those who have done it.”
“We also as a country have to ensure that we set a maximum time that a Gender-Based Violence case should have been convicted. This will help to expedite the process as so many cases are reported and end up in police shelves without being convicted,” Ditsele further said. Furthermore, government has been challenged to set up policies that address Gender-Based Violence in the workplace. “We speaking of sexual harassment that takes place in the workspace and does not get reported. We will not have competent staff at workplace if they are not protected against violence in the workplace. We have done enough talking, it is time we act.”
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.
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.
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.