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BDP members should not accept being silenced – Magang

Lesang Magang

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) youth wing leader, Lesang Magang has warned some party activist about the dangers of discouraging party members from sharing their opinion, indicating that it will be detrimental to the party going forward.

Magang’s concern follows an opinion he shared on social media about the need to review the party primary elections system known as Bulela Ditswe which was introduced in 2003.

In 2015, following a record 108 complainants registered in the 2013 general elections and subsequent party dismal performance in the 2014 general election, the party initiated a Commission of Inquiry on the process.

The Commission, headed by party veteran and former cabinet minister, Peter Siele, found out that indeed the system was prone to abuse and that the party should introduce more measures to ensure the credibility of the process.

Although there were suggestions that the system could be scrapped out, the party decided to stick with the system albeit with improvements and good monitoring systems. The system also faced criticism ahead of last general elections.

While Magang admits that he received feedback from those who share his concerns, he was not impressed by those who questioned his decision to discuss such matter on a “wrong platform”.

“Over the past few years there has been a mischievous, relentless and constructive attack on robust engagement in the party. This was allowed to happen because the past leadership thrived in the atmosphere of no debate but viral adulation,” said an irate former BDP youth leader.

“In the process a small class of self-appointed ‘Social Media Police’ emerged. They caution and direct people on what they say is right to be posted and what is not. Some have the audacity to threaten Cadres to take down posts. These are not my words, they are the cries of colleagues who have shared their stories with me.”

Magang, who served in the party Central Committee during the presidency of Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae indicated that the new culture that discourages debate is a cancer that will eventually destroy the party.

“My observation in the past couple of years is that it has resulted in most of the best brains in the party literally halting all open engagement about the BDP. It is especially detrimental to the party because now when the party or government is openly attacked and disparaged not many bother to speak out even if they individually know the facts to clear the issue,” said Magang.

Magang, who is an aspirant for the Secretary General position at the next congress, warned that the current state of affairs will continue if there is a select small group of people dumbing down the discourse from within democrats.

“If we are not comfortable to debate our own issues, then we will not educate each other. We will not be able to learn the party’s principles, values and ethos from the activist veterans amongst us,” he said.

“This is not healthy for all the new recruits we are receiving now and again. Ba tlaa ithuta Domokoraga mo go mang haele gore ga go buisanwe…ga go gakollanwe…?”

Magang, said the BDP is lucky to have Mokgweetsi Masisi as it leader because he thrives in open debate.

“Unlike our previous leader he leads from the front and takes part in all major debates in Parliament no matter how seemingly contentious the issue may be. He is open to be questioned by the media more regularly than anyone who has come before him,” Magang stated.

“To me this is inspiration to the entire party to understand that times have now changed. We are now the party of engagement, of debate and of differing perspectives. So let’s enjoy it while it lasts.”

Magang reminisced about the BDP of yesteryears in which the party ensured that it was seized with burning issues during National Councils and National Congress.

“Bring back the BDP of late night National Councils. The BDP of three days two night National Congresses where differences in policy and direction were not only expected they were celebrated.

“The times when Gaborone Region would bring the hot topic resolutions. Kweneng Region would come with their perspective and Francistown Region will be grabbing the roving mic because they had an alternate view. Party ele monate batho ba bua mahatlha a bone,” said Magang.

“Back then there were no Secret WhatsApp Groups and screen munches out of context by people who never comment. Ne re buela mo pontsheng.”


Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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