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Thursday, 18 April 2024

Gov’t warns Kgamane


Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, the Bangwato regent, is faced with a plethora of issues that pits him between a rock and a hard place.  On the one hand, scores of Bangwato residents who descended Serowe main kgotla Saturday to learn over the fate of their embattled royal Khama family in an impromptu emergency meeting accuse him of being disloyal.

In addition, this week there were reports he could be slapped with a warning letter for failing to control activities at the kgotla, a government institution. As if that is not enough, Kgamane is not a popular man in Goo-Tau where he is being accused of refusing to act on a decision to dethrone the Maele’s from the village chieftainship and replace them with the Gaoalekelwe’s.  There is one common denominator among all the issues confronting Kgosi Kgamane – they all have the potential to polarize communities.

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]The Goo-Tau saga stresses Kgamane

In Goo-Tau, Kgamane appears to be the final arbiter in a matter involving two families embroiled in a squabble over the chieftainship. The Maeles have held bogosi in Goo-Tau since 1985 following a vote call after the demise of a long time kgosi.  However, the supposed owners of the throne have laid claim to “what is theirs” and Kgosi Serogola Seretse who was asked to mediate seems to have agreed with claimants’ version of events leading to Goo-Tau bogosi changing households.

Nevertheless, Kgamane as the regent, was expected to make the final decision after he was handed minutes of a meeting between the Gaoalekwe’s and Maele’s but appears to be taking long to act. Reports further suggest that he does not even want to release minutes of the said meeting.
On the other hand, when confronted by the Gaoalekwe’s Kgamane has claimed to be busy as there is just too much work on his table. The Gaoalekwe’s have sought the intervention of the Director of Tribal Administration and very soon they intend to meet the Minister of Local Government.

As things stand the village is divided along the family ties. However, political divide has also chipped in with those aligned to the Maele’s being linked to Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) whilst those associated with the Gaoalekwe’s go with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Just recently, the village of Goo-Tau voted a new Village Development Committee and the Gaoalekwe camp claimed victory.

Khama-Masisi feud weighs heavy on Kgamane

The traditional revered Khama royal family is currently embroiled in a cat and mouse fierce fight with the new administration of President Mokgweetsi Masisi, threatening to divide the Bangwato tribe. The political standoff between the two political figure heads now appears to have descended to the entire Khama family with the latest episode presenting the detention of Khama brothers and their families, a straw that broke the camel’s back angering Bangwato subjects in the process.

“Go a bonala go na le dikgosi dingwe tsa rona tse di senang le rona mo kgannyeng e. Mme ke bata go ba raya kere Passop,” cautioned Phokoletso Motalaote at an emotionally charged kgotla meeting. He added: “Re tshwanetse go ya Palamenteng go kgoreletsa dipuisano ka nakwana tsa Palamente. Le yone ofisi ya ga molaodi mono re tshwanetse go etela go bona gore o representile mang.”

“Go dikgosi ka re Passop. Ha e le gore ba tsile mono ba rentile a ba re tswele ka kgoro,” Motalaote concluded sparking a roar of applause and appreciation from his Bangwato audience eager to defend their traditional royal leaders with all costs. By the statement, the visibly emotional Motalaote certainly referred to the regent of Bangwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane handpicked by ex-President Khama from the neighbouring Shoshong village to represent him at the Kgotla proceedings in his absence as the Paramount Chief of Bangwato himself busy with national duties as the commander of the army and later as President.

A close blood relative of Khama, Kgamane comes from Shoshong village historically the original base of Bangwato tribe. Fingers point to a lackadaisical Kgamane over the harassment and persecution of the Khama family without a firm strong hand and tone. An employee of Government on their payroll, Kgamane is caught between the administration of Masisi as his employer and the Khama family as their paramount chief, hence he has little room to maneuver.

Government has the prerogative to suspend or even fire him from the position as regent of Bangwato on Government salary should he be found wanting and anti-Government. In his traditional usual soft-spoken approach and demeanor, Kgamane for his part preached for his Bangwato subjects to adopt peaceful means rather than their current warpath character as exhibited during the day, insisting it was better to jaw jaw rather than war war.

“Mafoko re a utule hela othe. Bangwe ba ne ba bua ka go ikuela mo mahatsheng ka jalo go thokahala diexperts go re thusa. Nna ke bona tswelediso ya dipuisano e le yone tsela betsho,” he concluded in his closing remarks. The Khama-Masisi feud reached climax when Khama formed his own opposition party behind the scenes, the Botswana Patriotic Front which contested the 2019 general elections. Masisi’s ruling Botswana Democratic Party won big – prolonging further the tension. The ex-President has since skipped the country on a self-imposed exile to the neighbouring South Africa, alleging fears for his life amid perceived corruption charges hovering over his head during his 10 year tenure at the helm.

The alleged warning letter

Following the heated meeting at the kgotla, Kgosi Kgamane is said to have been slapped with a warning letter as an employee of government. Kgamane has been cautioned before about the use of the Kgotla for politically charged meetings. The warning letter is an indication that government is not happy with the way he handled the recent kgotla meeting, in fact, they say he should never have allowed the meeting to proceed in the first place. [/ihc-hide-content]


Nigerians, Zimbabweans apply for Chema Chema Fund

16th April 2024

Fronting activities, where locals are used as a front for foreign-owned businesses, have been a long-standing issue in Botswana. These activities not only undermine the government’s efforts to promote local businesses but also deprive Batswana of opportunities for economic empowerment, officials say. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has warned of heavy penalties for those involved in fronting activities especially in relation to the latest popular government initiative dubbed Chema Chema.

According to the Ministry, the Industrial Development Act of 2019 clearly outlines the consequences of engaging in fronting activities. The fines of up to P50,000 for first-time offenders and P20,000 plus a two-year jail term for repeat offenders send a strong message that the government is serious about cracking down on this illegal practice. These penalties are meant to deter individuals from participating in fronting activities and to protect the integrity of local industries.

“It is disheartening to hear reports of collaboration between foreigners and locals to exploit government initiatives such as the Chema Chema Fund. This fund, administered by CEDA and LEA, is meant to support informal traders and low-income earners in Botswana. However, when fronting activities come into play, the intended beneficiaries are sidelined, and the funds are misused for personal gain.” It has been discovered that foreign nationals predominantly of Zimbabwean and Nigerian origin use unsuspecting Batswana to attempt to access the Chema Chema Fund. It is understood that they approach these Batswana under the guise of drafting business plans for them or simply coming up with ‘bankable business ideas that qualify for Chema Chema.’

Observers say the Chema Chema Fund has the potential to uplift the lives of many Batswana who are struggling to make ends meet. They argue that it is crucial that these funds are used for their intended purpose and not siphoned off through illegal activities such as fronting. The Ministry says the warning it issued serves as a reminder to all stakeholders involved in the administration of these funds to ensure transparency and accountability in their disbursement.

One local commentator said it is important to highlight the impact of fronting activities on the local economy and the livelihoods of Batswana. He said by using locals as a front for foreign-owned businesses, opportunities for local entrepreneurs are stifled, and the economic empowerment of Batswana is hindered. The Ministry’s warning of heavy penalties is a call to action for all stakeholders to work together to eliminate fronting activities and promote a level playing field for local businesses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s warning of heavy penalties for fronting activities is a necessary step to protect the integrity of local industries and promote economic empowerment for Batswana. “It is imperative that all stakeholders comply with regulations and work towards a transparent and accountable business environment. By upholding the law and cracking down on illegal activities, we can ensure a fair and prosperous future for all Batswana.”










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Merck Foundation and African First Ladies mark World Health Day 2024

15th April 2024

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks “World Health Day” 2024 together with Africa’s First Ladies who are also Ambassadors of MerckFoundation “More Than a Mother” Campaign through their Scholarship and Capacity Building Program. Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “At Merck Foundation, we mark World Health Day every single day of the year over the past 12 years, by building healthcare capacity and transforming patient care across Africa, Asia and beyond.

I am proud to share that Merck Foundation has provided over 1740 scholarships to aspiring young doctors from 52 countries, in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Embryology & Fertility specialty, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Advanced Surgical Practice, Pain Management, General Surgery, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Internal Medicine, Trauma & Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Cardiology, Stroke Medicine, Care of the Older Person, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Child Health, Obesity & Weight Management, Women’s Health, Biotechnology in ART and many more”.

As per the available data, Africa has only 34.6% of the required doctors, nurses, and midwives. It is projected that by 2030, Africa would need additional 6.1 million doctors, nurses, and midwives*. “For Example, before the start of the Merck Foundation programs in 2012; there was not a single Oncologist, Fertility or Reproductive care specialists, Diabetologist, Respiratory or ICU specialist in many countries such as The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea, Burundi, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Namibia among others. We are certainly creating historic legacy in Africa, and also beyond. Together with our partners like Africa’s First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Gender, Education and Communication, we are impacting the lives of people in the most disadvantaged communities in Africa and beyond.”, added Senator Dr. Kelej. Merck Foundation works closely with their Ambassadors, the African First Ladies and local partners such as; Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building healthcare capacity and addressing health, social & economic challenges in developing countries and under-served communities. “I strongly believe that training healthcare providers and building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to equitable and quality at health care in Africa.

Therefore, I am happy to announce the Call for Applications for 2024 Scholarships for young doctors with special focus on female doctors for our online one-year diploma and two year master degree in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties, which includes both Online Diploma programs and On-Site Fellowship and clinical training programs. The applications are invited through the Office of our Ambassadors and long-term partners, The First Ladies of Africa and Ministry of Health of each country.” shared Dr . Kelej. “Our aim is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people by building healthcare capacity across Africa, Asia and other developing countries. We are strongly committed to transforming patientcare landscape through our scholarships program”, concluded Senator Kelej.

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Interpol fugitive escapes from Botswana

15th April 2024

John Isaak Ndovi, a Tanzanian national embroiled in controversy and pursued under a red notice by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), has mysteriously vanished, bypassing a scheduled bail hearing at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court in Gaborone. Previously apprehended by Botswana law enforcement at the Tlokweng border post several months earlier, his escape has ignited serious concerns.

Accused of pilfering assets worth in excess of P1 million, an amount translating to roughly 30,000 Omani Riyals, Ndovi has become a figure of paramount interest, especially to the authorities in the Sultanate of Oman, nestled in the far reaches of Asia.

The unsettling news of his disappearance surfaced following his failure to present himself at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court the preceding week. Speculation abounds that Ndovi may have sought refuge in South Africa in a bid to elude capture, prompting a widespread mobilization of law enforcement agencies to ascertain his current location.

In an official communiqué, Detective Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Selebatso Mokgosi of Interpol Gaborone disclosed Ndovi’s apprehension last September at the Tlokweng border, a capture made possible through the vigilant issuance of the Interpol red notice.

At 36, Ndovi is implicated in a case of alleged home invasion in Oman. Despite the non-existence of an extradition treaty between Botswana and Oman, Nomsa Moatswi, the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), emphasized that the lack of formal extradition agreements does not hinder her office’s ability to entertain extradition requests. She highlighted the adoption of international cooperation norms, advocating for collaboration through the lenses of international comity and reciprocity.

Moatswi disclosed the intensified effort by law enforcement to locate Ndovi following his no-show in court, and pointed to Botswana’s track record of extraditing two international fugitives from France and Zimbabwe in the previous year as evidence of the country’s relentless pursuit of legal integrity.

When probed about the potential implications of Ndovi’s case on Botswana’s forthcoming evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Moatswi reserved her speculations. She acknowledged the criticality of steering clear of blacklisting, suggesting that this singular case is unlikely to feature prominently in the FATF’s assessment criteria.


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