Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)ís 2019 General Elections National Campaigns Manager Tebelelo Seretse says a lot should be done by the party at the upcoming elective congress to protect its Chairman Slumber Tsogwane by relieving him some of the responsibilities lest he loses his constituency in 2024.
Seretse who is contesting the position of Deputy Treasurer under team Nonofho Molefhi (Tsogwaneís challenger) is worried about the Chairmanís demanding roles. ďWhat I like about President Masisi is that he has never pronounced who he supports because he is a father to all of us. But then the VP who is also the chairman wants to defend his position in the party, but if you look carefully his popularity or numbers decline after every elections. We should ask ourselves why, maybe it is because he is always busy because of multiple responsibilities.Ē
To drive her point home, Seretse says if at all Tsogwane was that popular the BDP was not supposed to lose the Khwee ward (Boteti East) in last yearís by elections. BDP got 258 votes against UDCís 425. ďThatís his neighboring constituency and we expect him by being the second in command to use his influence, but then the margin even increased from 2019. I think the VP shouldnít be a party chairman and also an MP because it is too demanding.Ē
From her submission it would appear that Seretse is tilting the scales to her team leader, Molefhi to take the position because he is available and not busy like Tsogwane. In fact, Seretse, a former minister says while doubling as an executive member and MP is tiring, how about the many hats Tsogwane is wearing.
In 2009 the partyís Central Committee decided that party members should choose serving on either Central Committee positions or Cabinet posts. The decision saw the then Minister of Presidential Affairs and party SG, Daniel Kwelagobe dropped from the executive as he chose party over cabinet. Seretse wants this resuscitated more especially that there are some past party Chairpersons who were not Vice Presidents.
Seretse, a two time MP from 1999 to 2004 told this publication the reasons why she decided to contest under team Molefhi. ďChairmanís (Tsogwane) lobby came very early and ultimately closed doors for some of us who had intentions because if you are told that the chairman has his lobby, it becomes difficult, but contesting under a different team is not an issue since we are all democrats with the same ideology but maybe different executions.Ē
She added, ďWhat I like about Molefhiís team is a good representation of women compared to the VPís lobby and also geographical representation. It appears Molefhi has faith and believes women have capacity to lead.Ē
Molefhi and Seretseís lobby has four women (Unity Dow, Seretse and Bridget Mavuma) vying for executive positions while Tsogwane has only two who are eyeing more junior ones as additional members.
SERETSE CONCERNED BY BDP BI-ELECTION RESULTS
Seretse who has served at three Cabinet level positions, is concerned by the way her party is losing by-elections. ďThe way we lose by elections shows that something has changed from the original BDP. Back then we engaged various constituencies to assist during by-elections to assist with campaigns because we have diverse members with varying skills, but now we just appoint people, which is not right, we should be more inclusive and cast our net wide and also use statistics to prepare well.Ē
As a former campaigns manager, she says she always looks at the numbers and when elected into the central committee she would make suggestions and proposals on how to win. So far the BDP has won three out of 10 wards in the recent by-elections.
NO NEED TO ASK FOR PERMISSION FROM MASISI, TSOGWANE
A former Ambassador to the United States, Seretse who was part of President Masisiís team in 2015 and 2017 congresses, says she has never asked for blessings from the party leadership. ďThere is nothing to ask a permission for if you are contesting. But I only called Dada (Satar- Treasurer) informing him that I am interested in the treasurer position and after he consulted, he came back to me and said that President Masisi wants him to continue since elections are closer and there would be need for fundraising, that is when I decided to drop to the deputy treasurer positions, so indirectly consulted.Ē
She is nonetheless disappointed by the way robust debates are dying within the party because members seem to be afraid to exercise freedoms they have. She said this when asked if she had interacted and canvassed for votes. Nowadays it is like we donít engage with the democrats like we used to. People seem afraid to honestly tell candidates what they think and we need to bring that back for the better of the party. However this time there was a little time and resources because normally we have three months to mobilize and it was better compared to this time around.Ē
Seretse will square off with Jag Dish Shah for the deputy treasure position at Tsabong next weekend. †She is confident that her name is synonymous with the BDP members as she has served in various capacities within the party.
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‚Äôs commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that ‚Äúthe 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‚ÄĚ. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that ‚Äúthe donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC‚Äôs commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries‚ÄĚ.
He further stated that through this marathon, ‚Äúwe 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‚ÄĚ. ¬†He concluded by stating that ‚ÄúBTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large‚ÄĚ he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that ‚Äúhe is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon‚ÄĚ. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the ‚ÄúCSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities‚ÄĚ, 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.
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.
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.