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Boko to meet Malema, Chamisa, Hichilema

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko will meet various opposition leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in August this year to exchange notes in strengthening opposition bloc in the region

Reports say SADC opposition leaders unanimously agree that there is need for solid opposition solidarity platform to hold governing parties to account and need for a regional opposition party platform to strengthen dwindling democracy.

Southern Africa has long been considered the most stable and peaceful region on the continent, political developments in eSwatini, Zimbabwe and the ongoing insurgency in Mozambique somehow shows that there is need to keep the ruling government on their toes.

This has forced the opposition leaders to sense the need for solid opposition solidarity to hold governing parties to account. It is said, there is a potential need for a regional opposition party platform to support democratic political parties, promote a peaceful interaction between parties and strengthen the democratic political and legal environment.

According to researcher and political analyst at the University of Johannesburgs Department of Politics and International Relations Tinashe Sithole, this platform can amplify the voices of citizens, who are often ignored and oppressed in their countries. I argue that this is the alternative that the region needs to stand up for constitutional rule. Citizens distrust institutions such as the SADC, which has rubber-stamped controversial elections that have contributed to the current problems faced by the region.

Opposition parties play an essential role in strengthening democracy, significantly when the government does not restrict the role of the opposition party. At the same time, where the political agora is closed, solidarity can be the all-important factor in the internationalization of issues.

Boko, has joined the platform and is set to meet other leaders in preparation for 2024 elections. His first stop is anticipated in Zambia, where he is set to exchange notes with the current President who is also leader of United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema. Hichilema won the elections in August last year after attempting five times amid rigging claims.

Boko is expected to touch base with the President to learn how he overcame the usually not so free and fair elections and is likely to rope in the consultants who assisted Hichilema last year. The expectation is in August this year he should tour the SADC region. He will meet Hichilema to exchange notes on how he guarded against rigging which is synonymous with African elections. In fact, Boko is in talks with the consultants in preparation for 2024 elections because surely the past elections were not fair, a UDC insider has disclosed to this publication.

UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando is said to have been the first man to touch base with the consultants when he accompanied President Mokgweetsi Masisi to Hichilemas inauguration and shared the contacts with Boko. The discussion has been that, UDC raises P2million to pay for the services come 2024. However with the current developments within the UDC, it remains to be seen whether the two leaders will raise the funds together for the party.

After the Zambian trip, Boko will visit South Africa where he is set to touch base with Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema and Democratic Alliance (DA) John Steenhuisen.
It is at the meeting that he will share the current political landscape in Botswana with the two leaders in a bid to strengthen and put pressure on the ruling parties.

We should have a common understanding with these parties, we should see them condemning and commenting on some injustices that happens locally, that way, the voice of opposition in the region would be instrumental and that is when we expect SADC and other organizations to act whenever we call them for intervention, UDC source shared.

The UDC is on record saying the rule of law is almost nonexistent in this country, they point out to the ongoing fights between the DIS and DCEC, un-just detention and arrest of some aligned to the opposition and overall high economic inflation to the current regime. They believe, EFFs high pitched voice could be of great assistance.

The EFF has in the past held solidarity protests at the eSwatini border to indicate the opposition parties role in raising awareness about the Southern African Development Communitys (SADC) problems. Undoubtedly, the potential risk of conflict spilling over to other countries has grown, and the immigration situation in South Africa is one example according to the proponents of this idea.

In the past decade, SADC has been criticized for turning a blind eye to the state-sponsored violence in member states such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, eSwatini, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Among the other leaders that Boko will meet is Nelson Chamisa Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). The outspoken leader has in the past called on SADC to intervene in the Zimbabwean elections.

In March this year, he was quoted saying, Let me talk about elections. You know that we have been having problems with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). ZEC has already proved that they are not capable of running the elections in this country. What do we need to do? I have already written to SADC. I am telling them enough is enough.

It is said Boko believes that with Zimbabwe going to Presidential elections next year, there is a lot that they can learn from Chamisa led party which they can use for their 2024 preparations. The two leaders are speaking the same languages against the ruling parties when it comes to election rigging.


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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