Connect with us
Advertisement

BDP hails Masisi, Tsogowane for stabilising the party ahead of 2024

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has hailed the leadership of party President, Mokgweetsi Masisi and Chairman Slumber Tsogwane for stabilising and uniting the party ahead of the crucial 2024 general elections.

With the country emerging from COVID-19 pandemic, BDP went through three elective congresses of its organs, comprising Women’s Wing, National Youth Executive Committee and the National Congress. In the build-up the party was marred by divisions which threatened the unity of the party.

Despite the Tsabong Congress, at which Democrats fired salvos at each other ahead of the elective congress, the party has since closed ranks around winners, party spokesperson, Banks Kentse has said.

“Congresses by nature divide the organisation because of preference of different candidates. What is important is that once the congress has passed, we rally behind the leader that people have selected and ask them to lead,” said Kentse.

“It is a very important aspect of political organisation. It is called democratic centralism — where we say, post-congress, let us rally behind elected leaders.”

Kentse said ahead of the elective events of party organs, there was a noise depicting polarity in the party, but Democrats have put everything behind them in the spirit of unity.

“Look at the BDP today, it is very united and very stable under the leadership of President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Chairman Slumber Tsogwane. This is the kind of leadership you would have asked for, that can stabilise the party post many such events,” said Kentse.

The BDP was meeting for its Elective National Congress for the first time since Masisi became the party leader. The last congress, prior to Tsabong, was the 2017 Congress held in Tonota, at which Masisi won his second bid for the party chairmanship, just a few months before he became President of Botswana and the party.

The elective events saw new faces in the party structures.  Peggy Serame, the Minister of Finance and Specially Elected Member of Parliament, became the new leader of the Women’s Wing. Serame, who has since her political star rise over the past few years, is expected to play a key role in the politics of BDP in the near future, with insiders indicating that she may be considered for the Vice Presidency in 2024.

Former Cabinet Member, Kavis Kario returned to the centre scene in fashion, replacing out of favour MP Mpho Balopi as the party Secretary General. Balopi was elected to the position in 2017. He previously held the position from 2011 to 2015 in the first stint.

Kario, the one term MP — who disappeared from the political scene after losing his parliamentary to Botswana Congress Party (BCP) then leader, Gilson Saleshando, in 2009 — is bracing for a key role in the politics of the BDP. Already, as the Secretary General, he is in the melting pot of the party, and in charge of driving the party machinery. Kario, according to reports, will make a bid for parliament again, this time in his native constituency of Ngami.

Collen Mochotlhi, a Councillor in Tlokweng, emerged as the new leader of the NYEC, after his failed bid in 2020. Mochotlhi, previously associated with a faction that was not pro-leadership, managed to swim against the tide and win the hotly contested elections.

BDP DECLARES COVID-19 RESPONSE SUCCESS

The country has fully returned to normalcy, the last to affirm this being a decision to make wearing of masks optional in September 2022. Ever since the beginning of the year, all sectors of the economy have been pumping in full force, including the anchor sector, mining.

“The challenges of the parties in government are always overwhelming. We had Covid-19 for two years and that disturbed government programme which we were to deliver as per our 2019 promises and commitment. When these things are not attained, they reflect badly on the party,” said Kentse.

The BDP mouthpiece said as a party they are proud of the speedy recovery Botswana got post Covid-19, indicating that the government responded very well to Covid-19.

“If you compare us with other countries in the region, you will realise that Botswana’s response started slowly because we didn’t know what we were into. But once we knew what we were into, we responded very well. The curfews, the medications that we got, and our vaccinations were one of the highest in the region, that is a good success story,” he said.

Kentse said while the priority was to save lives, government response also saved jobs because the government was able to keep businesses running by cushioning them against the effects of Covid-19 by making funds available to keep the economy running.

In April 2020, Government approved a Covid-19 Economic Response Plan, which was a short-term plan aimed at addressing risks facing businesses, workers and households. Some interventions in the plan like the food hampers were implemented up to the end of June 2020 whilst others like the loan guarantee continue to be offered. The key strategic objectives of the Plan, which were supported by Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Fund Order were support to workers; stabilization of businesses; ensuring availability of strategic reserves; and promoting opportunities for economic diversification.

Beyond the Covid-19 Response Plan, Government prepared a medium to long term Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan (ERTP) for mitigating the effects of the pandemic. The ERTP, which was approved by Parliament as an addendum to the Mid-Term Review of NDP 11, resulted in Government appropriating additional resources through the Supplementary Estimates in the form of Industry Support Facility to the tune of P1.3 billion.

“We were able to save a lot of jobs. We know there is a lot to be done, specifically around job creation and employment for the youth. That is for us a huge priority for BDP as we go to 2023,” said Kentse.

“There is still no alternative. We are looking forward to 2023 general elections where we would have primary elections, and 2024, where we would go into national elections and return the BDP to

Continue Reading

News

Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

Continue Reading

News

Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

Continue Reading

News

Ngamiland Cattle Farmers Gain Green Zone Revenue

27th January 2023

Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.

Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.

To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.

These collaborative efforts being piloted in Habu and Eretsha villages also include the Pro-Nature Enterprises Project for the People of Southern Africa, funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Le Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM). This complementary funding from AFD and FFEM supports the implementation of the Herding4Health (H4H) model and Rangeland Stewardship Agreements across four rangeland sites in Southern Africa, including Habu and Eretsha, to incentivize best practices that could offer sustainability in the long term for livelihoods, conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.

“We spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine – that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,” said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.

Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herder’s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.

“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,” said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).

Through co-financing of almost P1 billion from the Botswana government and Green Climate Fund, these interventions will be replicated, through The Ecosystem Based Adaptation and Mitigation in Botswana’s Communal Rangelands project, across the country. Both projects aim to improve the economic benefits of cattle owners and multitudes of Batswana households, while contributing to land restoration and climate change efforts by the Botswana government

Continue Reading