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UDC revises ‘undemocratic’ constitution

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive (NEC) has finally agreed to revise the contentious party constitution, following prevalent polarising views by contracting partners.

UDC experienced turmoil earlier this year, occasioned by disagreements relating to governance issues. One of the parties in the coalition, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), was a ring leader in the melee.

BCP had approached the mother party, proposing a re-look into the ‘undemocratic’ UDC set-up. BCP top brass suggested that there must be a system of mandate renewal, either through elections or rotation.

Despite the Botswana National Front (BNF) having been antagonists towards the idea, the UDC has decided to carefully scrutinise the constitution to make it a unifying document to avoid the past brawls. The process will include future coalition partners; Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BFP).

“The parties that want to join UDC would also be allowed to submit proposals on the constitutional architecture. So, it will be a unifying document that will reflect the interests of all of us. It will symbolise the ability of the partners to compromise and work together for the good of the nation,” explained party spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa.

The notorious transitional clause which has no timeline is the elephant in the room in the UDC. The constitution says the clause ceases to exist upon UDC holding a congress, but the party is yet to have an elective congress.

UDC project has proved to be confusing parties and the party rank and file as to whether it is a party or just an election arrangement structure. The ongoing revision will deal with all these and others by various parties. Each party, including AP and BPF, according to Mohwasa, will make its submission.

“The BNF has assigned Nelson Ramaotwana and Oteng Motlhala to come work on a draft which will be presented to the party’s Central Committee which will then be sent to the UDC NEC as BNF position,” he said. UDC VP Dumelang Saleshando is overseeing the collation of different submissions, which will be dealt with by the UDC NEC.

The revised constitution of 2018, which was passed after UDC negotiations with BCP, has never been implemented after Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) – UDC constituent party objected to the registrar of societies saying BCP is not a UDC member in good standing. UDC now uses an older constitution signed and stamped on the 23rd of August 2012, when the idea of opposition unity was formulated.

In terms of the negotiation structure, the constitution (2018) was crafted by a stream with six BCP representatives and six UDC representatives. The constitution then went to the leading negotiating team, which effected some changes. The final negotiation level was the BCP and UDC presidents, who also agreed on some changes.

In the current set-up of the UDC, BNF should assume the project’s leadership as per the founding recommendation from a report prepared by then President of BMD, Gomolemo Motswadi and BNF Vice President, Same Bathobakae. The two leaders are deceased. The initial coalition agreement was premised on cooperation and unity, but it seems that events have overtaken it.

Some are adamant that UDC is not registered as a political party but just a conglomerate specified in its constitution. In contrast, others say otherwise that it is a political party in its context.


One of the UDC resolutions that stalled its execution was the proposed amendment of article 5.3 of the constitution, in which there is a call to replace ‘may’ with ‘shall’ so that it becomes mandatory.

It was also resolved that article 5 should include suspension and termination of membership and allow for voluntary termination and confer powers to suspend on the UDC NEC through simple majority, and powers to expel to an extraordinary congress.

The congress had also agreed that termination of membership, as stated in the old constitution, should be incorporated into the new constitution; hence there should be no individual membership within the UDC.

Delegates agreed that membership to the UDC shall only be through party affiliation. They argued that there is no logic in individual membership outside political parties as the rights of those individuals are not articulated.

Congress also agreed that the founding members should be mentioned in the constitution. In addition, they resolved that article 6.1 (f) Equitable should be replaced with proportional because the latter recognises the strength of the contracting parties.

Delegates also adopted the principle of consensus and a simple majority. They also agreed that contracting parties should subscribe to the UDC, and the amount of subscription should be moved to regulations and not specified in the constitution.

Those who attended the congress as delegates also resolved that the NEC should decide if the contribution amount should be proportionate to the membership base. There were also resolutions on article 7 to deal with congress, extraordinary congress, NEC, and Policy forum. It was adopted that the structure will not have either a women’s league or youth league.

Delegates also agreed that the principle of proportionality should be used instead of 10 members per constituency, and decision-making shall be by 2/3 majority or 50% of the constituency members.

Concerning the state of affairs within the main opposition party, Mohwasa said the negotiations with BPF and AP are still ongoing. Allocation of some wards (for by-elections) has been done, and the party is still to look at others that fell vacant after the conclusion of the initial process.

“It is not like when we don’t release a statement or have a press conference; we are not talking. At times, it helps to hold talks away from the glare of the public under the radar,” he concluded.


BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.


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Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.


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FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.









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