Miss Botswana organisers are already betting on the wrong horse. With only a month left before the 71st edition of Miss World, whereat the reigning Miss Botswana, Lesego Chombo is expected to participate, the Miss Botswana Organization is tongue-tied on arrangements towards the prestigious beauty pageant.
Not that it is a surprise anyway, Miss Botswana Organization and its partners have over the years been accused of sabotaging queens. The malfunctions border on the Public Relations perspective, wardrobe, image and Beauty-with-a-Purpose projects. There is a team behind Miss Botswana, but its yields are conspicuously blank. Some suggest that it may be time to rip the Miss Botswana behind-the-scenes team to shreds.
Just when beauty enthusiasts thought attention will shift towards promoting Chombo for Miss World, the organization is already hunting for her replacement. How ironic! As a matter of fact, auditions kick start today in Kasane. Based on this misnomer, observers are of the view that Miss Botswana organisers are now behind the eight ball hence beyond redemption.
For this year’s edition, Miss Botswana promises to showcase the finest in beauty, talent, leadership and the transformative power of mindset change, continuing the legacy of empowering young women in Botswana. However, the organisers are yet to share details of when the event will be held.
Astonishingly, Miss Botswana Organization continue to fail to attract sponsors because, ‘they won’t cast pearls before swine’. In addition the organize still fail to give out the queen’s gifts – and some in the industry wonder if things will done differently this time around; and empower the young women.
It’s only early last month that Chombo was invited to Miss World South Africa launch, where she shared wisdom nuggets with fellow beauty queens. This is an event that won’t boost Chombo at Miss World, because what is expected of her is to make an impact through her Beauty-with-a-Purpose project (that should be focusing on children). The bite of nails approach by Miss Botswana organisers has left Chombo between the devil and the deep blue sea!
When speaking in an exclusive interview, renowned beauty pageants analyst, Morekolodi Smith, said Chombo’s publicity in the build up to the Miss World competition is underwhelming.
“I have seen her social media content. She does share the events she occasionally attends and her full shots. But her PR team is not being strategic about her social media content because many of her photographs are just leisure pictures. Do we want an Instagram hottie or a traditional beauty queen? The answer is we want both. This is the period to build online following, share with the fans, and produce Miss World related content as well.”
Smith strongly criticized Chombo’s management, saying is lacking behind in revamping her social media presence, commonly known as Multimedia at Miss World.
“We need to see promotional photo shoots and snippets of her Beauty-with-a-Purpose project. I am expecting to see video reels of advocacy and unfortunately, I am not seeing much of her duties, frankly. They are not shared with us.”
On events that Chombo is slaving in, Smith stressed that they will not boost her status at Miss World, adding that attending charity events would do the trick as a Miss World contender.
Now that the Miss Botswana Organization is moving on to the next assignment, Smith noted that this will dim Chombo’s spotlight. “One will ask, how does the organization find balance in preparing Chombo for Miss World and hunting for the next Miss Botswana? The two can’t be simultaneous during this period.”
BOTSWANA, SOUTH AFRICA PARTNERSHIP
Last week, Miss Botswana and Miss South Africa forged a partnership in which they aspire to work together in a number of issues pertaining to pageantry. The three-year strategic partnership really aims to address shared challenges and exploring opportunities for the betterment of both countries, in as much as pageantry is concerned.
The countries seek to pool their resources and expertise to delve into the beauty business sector because the sector holds immense potential for enhancing employment opportunities, fostering economic prosperity and promoting the development of women and girl children in both countries.
Botswana and South Africa will be working together in production, sponsorship, communication, operations, risk management and joint hosting (as they explore possibilities for joint hosting of the Miss World competition).
Smith said “One thing I have in mind is cross over contestants, in which delegates share the same maintenary. I still stand, Botswana cannot host Miss World. If it happens that Botswana and South Africa co-host Miss World, I suggest Botswana hosts the fast-track events only and the finale be held in South Africa. The preliminary events will be manageable. South Africa successfully held Miss World before, so I have no doubt about the country.”
Hosting Miss World is expensive, according to Smith. “It is very big-budget unless government intervenes which is unlikely. Miss Botswana organizers can’t host a successful Miss Botswana and they always call out for sponsors to help the queen.
Their funds are insufficient. There is no how bringing Miss World here will be possible, let’s be realistic. It is a recipe for humiliation. I am aware of hosting budget by China in 2017 and 2018, which was over 100 million US Dollars. Miss Botswana has a long way to go.” Miss Botswana team did not respond to questions sent to them at the time of going to print.
“Botswana can’t host Miss World, that’s a recipe for humiliation”
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.
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has taken a significant step towards diversifying its energy mix by signing a power purchase agreement with Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village. This agreement marks a major milestone for the energy sector in Botswana as the country transitions from a coal-fired power generation system to a new energy mix comprising coal, gas, solar, and wind.
The CEO of BPC, David Kgoboko, explained that the Power Purchase Agreement is for a 6MW coal bed methane proof of concept project to be developed around Mmashoro village. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy in the energy mix. The use of coal bed methane for power generation is an exciting development as it provides a hybrid solution with non-dispatchable sources of generation like solar PV. Without flexible base-load generation, the deployment of non-dispatchable solar PV generation would be limited.
Kgoboko emphasized that BPC is committed to enabling the development of a gas supply industry in Botswana. Sekaname Energy, along with other players in the coal bed methane exploration business, is a key and strategic partner for BPC. The successful development of a gas supply industry will enable the realization of a secure and sustainable energy mix for the country.
The Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Moagi, expressed his support for the initiative by the private sector to develop a gas industry in Botswana. The country has abundant coal reserves, and the government fully supports the commercial extraction of coal bed methane gas for power generation. The government guarantees that BPC will purchase the generated electricity at reasonable tariffs, providing cash flow to the developers and enabling them to raise equity and debt funding for gas extraction development.
Moagi highlighted the benefits of developing a gas supply industry, including diversified primary energy sources, economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. He commended Sekaname Energy for undertaking a pilot project to prove the commercial viability of extracting coal bed methane for power generation. If successful, this initiative would unlock the potential of a gas production industry in Botswana.
Sekaname Energy CEO, Peter Mmusi, emphasized the multiple uses of natural gas and its potential to uplift Botswana’s economy. In addition to power generation, natural gas can be used for gas-to-liquids, compressed natural gas, and fertilizer production. Mmusi revealed that Sekaname has already invested $57 million in exploration and infrastructure throughout its resource area. The company plans to spend another $10-15 million for the initial 6MW project and aims to invest over $500 million in the future for a 90MW power plant. Sekaname’s goal is to assist BPC in becoming a net exporter of power within the region and to contribute to Botswana’s transition to cleaner energy production.
In conclusion, the power purchase agreement between BPC and Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village is a significant step towards diversifying Botswana’s energy mix. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy. The government’s support for the development of a gas supply industry and the commercial extraction of coal bed methane will bring numerous benefits to the country, including economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. With the potential to become a net exporter of power and a cleaner energy producer, Botswana is poised to make significant strides in its energy sector.
It is not clear as to when, but before taking a festive break in few weeks’ time UDC leaders would have convened to address the ongoing deadlock surrounding constituency allocation in the negotiations for the 2024 elections. The leaders, Duma Boko of the UDC, Mephato Reggie Reatile of the BPF, and Ndaba Gaolathe of the AP, are expected to meet and discuss critical matters and engage in dialogue regarding the contested constituencies.
The negotiations hit a stalemate when it came to allocating constituencies, prompting the need for the leaders to intervene. Representatives from the UDC, AP, and BPF were tasked with negotiating the allocation, with Dr. Patrick Molotsi and Dr. Philip Bulawa representing the UDC, and Dr. Phenyo Butale and Wynter Mmolotsi representing the AP.
The leaders’ meeting is crucial in resolving the contentious issue of constituency allocation, which has caused tension among UDC members and potential candidates for the 2024 elections. After reaching an agreement, the leaders will engage with the members of each constituency to gauge their opinions and ensure that the decisions made are favored by the rank and file. This approach aims to avoid unnecessary costs and conflicts during the general elections.
One of the main points of contention is the allocation of Molepolole South, which the BNF is adamant about obtaining. In the 2019 elections, the UDC was the runner-up in Molepolole South, securing the second position in seven out of eight wards. Other contested constituencies include Metsimotlhabe, Kgatleng East and West, Mmadinare, Francistown East, Shashe West, Boteti East, and Lerala Maunatlala.
The criteria used for constituency allocation have also become a point of dispute among the UDC member parties. The issue of incumbency is particularly contentious, as the criterion for constituency allocation suggests that current holders of UDC’s council and parliamentary seats should be given priority for re-election without undergoing primary elections. Disadvantaged parties argue that this approach limits democratic competition and hinders the emergence of potentially more capable candidates.
Another disputed criterion is the allocation based on the strength and popularity of a party in specific areas. Parties argue that this is a subjective criterion that leads to disputes and favoritism, as clear metrics for strength and visibility cannot be defined. The BNF, in particular, questions the demands of the new entrants, the BPF and AP, as they lack a traceable track record to support their high expectations.
The unity and cohesion of the UDC are at stake, with the BPF and AP expressing dissatisfaction and considering withdrawing from the negotiations. Therefore, it is crucial for the leaders to expedite their meeting and find a resolution to these disputes.
In the midst of these negotiations, the BNF has already secured 15 constituencies within the UDC coalition. While the negotiations are still ongoing, BNF Chairman Dr. Molotsi revealed that they have traditionally held these constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally. The constituencies include Gantsi North, Gantsi South, Kgalagadi North, Kgalagadi South, Good Hope – Mmathethe, Kanye North, Kanye South, Lobatse, Molepolole North, Gaborone South, Gaborone North, Gaborone Bonnignton North, Takatokwane, Letlhakeng, and Tlokweng.
The resolution of the contested constituencies will test the ability of the UDC to present a united front in the 2024 National Elections will depend on the decisions made by the three leaders. It is essential for them to demonstrate maturity and astuteness in resolving the constituency allocation deadlock and ensuring the cohesion of the UDC.