Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 03 July 2018 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 15:48

Debswana, workers clash over scannex

There is new twist in the long-standing dispute between the Debswana Mining Company and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) over installation of full body ray scanners.

 


Debswana had taken DEA to court to compel the department to give approval for installation of the machines. While DEA had not filed opposing papers the case was scheduled for status hearing last week Thursday. It has since emerged that the department had a day before the case came for status hearing, written letter of approval for a go ahead.


Now Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has entered the fray and is tomorrow (Saturday) scheduled to petition Debswana Mining Company over its intention to install the controversial low dose full body X-ray scanners (Scannex) at its mines.
The installation of the machines has been marred by controversy for the past five years when the diamond mining company revealed that it would be installing the machines with the aim of protecting the precious stones from theft. The petition by the union follows the decision by DEA authorising installation of the machines.


The diamond mining giant got a conditional license some years back from the Department of Radiation to install the low dose full body X-ray scanner (Scannex) in various locations at the Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines. Debswana had submitted a Draft Scoping Report to DEA. The DEA had initially questioned whether statistics by Debswana imply a decline in cases of diamond theft and if it also suggests the success of the current security measures.


In an interview with Botswana Guardian this week BMWU President Jack Tlhagale said they are still against the installation of the machines. He explained that they are aware that a day before a court case by Debswana challenging the delay by DEA the department granted the authorisation for installation. Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama was at one point accused of blocking the authorisation. In his defense, Khama stated that all he wanted was for proper procedure to be followed indicating that he would not endanger the lives of miners who are Batswana. The minister explained that as soon as Debswana avails all the necessary documentation as per the request his ministry would grant the authorisation.


“The case was to be heard on June 21st 2018 and a day prior, a letter of authoirastion was issued. What also worries us is that for a long time we have been questioning the installation of these machines but we were not made part of the court case.
“We could have made our case known before court why we believe the machines should not be installed. This is why we are petitioning the company at both Jwaneng and Letlhakane mines where we expect Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo or representatives to receive the petition,” said Tlhagale.


Under “dose limitations” DEA had asked Debswana to stipulate the number of times employees are expected to be exposed to these scans in the different areas of the mine per day “in order to determine the possibility (or lack thereof) of exceeding the limits”. Pregnant women and individuals under the age of 16 are exempted from exposure to the scanner.


The union President said Debswana has failed to bring concrete proof from external experts to indicate that a small dose of ionising radiation is not harmful. “We engaged experts whom in their report expressed fear that exposure to ionising radiation could result in cell death, cell damage, cancer and that prolonged exposure could lead to death. Botswana Mine Workers Union is against the use of Scannex,” said the president.


Debswana has justified the use of Scannex saying the physical search methods and surveillance of personnel at work areas have proven insufficient. “Since diamonds are portable, and easily concealable, a diamond thief can conceal the stones in body orifices such as nostrils, ears, mouth, navel, penis (urethra and foreskin) or vagina or the rectum,” Debswana stated in its draft scoping report to DEA under the subhead “rationale for the project.”


Tlhagale argued that using South Africa and Namibia as success stories of the use of this technology for over 20 years is not justifiable. “Because those machines were installed by apartheid regime. We also know how the regime treated people so that is not justifiable. As we have said before and explained by experts the Radiation Protection Regulations of 2008; Regulation 37 (5) requires that records of workers be preserved until the worker reaches 75 years, and for not less than 30 years after termination of work involving occupational exposure.


“Where are we going to get records of such people? Who is going to be monitoring them because obviously Debswana would not be doing that? People would get sick after having retired from the mines and die without any records being kept. We are worried about this situation because our members are going to be subjected to these machines every day when they knock off,” he explained.
Tlhagale said they would also petition the company on the 3 percent salary increase which was agreed in 2016. He said they want a new increase to be negotiated. “We had agreed to the 3 percent because at that time it was public knowledge that our diamonds were not doing well. Currently things have improved,” posited Tlhagale.


In the agreement between the parties there is a clause that stipulates that parties can review if inflation goes beyond 5 percent. However, Tlhagale argues that that should not be the only factor that is being considered. Minister Khama could not be reached for comment this week as he was said to be busy with Sothern African Customs Union (SACU) summit while DEA Director Charles Mojalemotho was said to be in Denmark on official duty.


Debswana’s Corporate Affairs Manager Matshidiso Kamona said Debswana has not received an approval to install Scannex machines. “We can confirm that we have received an official notification of a planned mass demonstration by the Botswana Mine Workers Union. According to the note addressed to the Managing Director of Debswana, Mr. Balisi Bonyongo, the petition relates to unsatisfactory conditions of service in general and it has no reference to Scannex,” she said in her short email response.

Published in News
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 15:27

Mokaila turns Mascom appeal down

Mascom Wireless Botswana who recently lost with costs a case in which it had sought a review of the lawfulness of a directive promulgated by the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA), is far from giving up, Botswana Guardian can reveal.

 


Mascom took the matter to Gaborone High court before Justice Michael Leburu complaining about BOCRA’s decision to regulate the Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs) in the country. Their view is that the rates as set by BOCRA are very low and wants them increased. But, BOCRA and telecommunications experts see this differently as they believe Mascom simply wants to protect their interest and profit at the expense of the consumer.

Having dismally failed to convince the court, Mascom has decided to exploit another avenue – appealing to minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila in a move that legal experts believe should have been their first step before challenging BOCRA in court.But despite having thought they had a good case, they found Mokaila unshakable as he turned down their request stating that the court has made its decision on the matter.

Minister Mokaila confirmed that Mascom has appealed to him. Speaking to BG News Mokaila said, “Yes, I can confirm that Mascom has contacted and appealed to me by way of a letter from their Chief Executive Officer, Jose Cicero who wrote requesting for my intervention and overturning the ruling.  
“I have since replied them and in my response I told them that the court has pronounced the judgment and there is nothing I can do and the only way out for them will be to appeal to the Court of Appeal,” said Mokaila. It seems Mascom will not give up until they get a favourable response if their Chief Communications and PR Officer, Tebogo Lebotse- Sebego’s response is anything to go by.


Confirming that it is true they appealed to Mokaila, Lebotse-Sebego said that was in line with the Communications Regulatory Authority Act. “We made an appeal to the Honourable Minister Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, seeking his intervention, in what we perceive to be an uneven playing field created by a situation, unheard of in any competitive mobile market, local or international, where the same retail service is regulated for the different competitive providers at different price ceilings,” she said.


According to Lebotse-Sebego Mascom’s plea to the Minister was borne out of a rejection by BOCRA for Mascom to review its retail offering, even though such a review would still retain Mascom’s offer as the lowest tariffs for national calls in the market.
Mascom also accused BOCRA for not properly consulting. But BOCRA demonstrated to the court that before making up its final decision, they conducted a study and consultation for about 14 months as well as making presentation with the operators on a one-on-one basis showing them the information study.


Mascom has the largest subscriber base when compared to other operators - Orange Botswana and BTCL - through its brand beMOBILE.  The BOCRA directive clearly stipulates charges that mobile network operators charge each other for network interconnection.
In 2016 BOCRA study found the rates to be at 29 thebe.

The study determined that 29 thebe was way above costs and directed operators to reduce over a period of two years. The first reduction was on 1st June 2017 reduced from 29 to 22 thebe and the final reduction was on 1st June 2018 to 13thebe per minute.
This is what Mascom did not like. They took the matter to court, but Justice Leburu dismissed the case stating amongst others that the decision by BOCRA is within the context of its decision-making powers and demonstrates that a reasonable and rational choice and decision was made by BOCRA.


Mascom had wanted the court to determine if BOCRA had acted in accordance with its statutory obligations to take regulatory decisions in the open, transparent, accountable, proportionate and objective manner in terms of the Communications Regulatory Authority Act when it issued the regulatory directive No.1 of 2017 on the 24th March 2017 determining the charges that the mobile network operators have to charge each other for network interconnections,.


Mascom Wireless felt that the BOCRA directive - which set Mobile Termination Rules that were to apply on 1st June 2017 and also directed three operators to review their prices to remove the Off Net Mobile voice calls by 1st June 2018 to cost 13thebe - was illegal, irrational, and improper and wanted it reviewed and set aside.


Justice Leburu dismissed the application with costs at attorney to client scale inclusive of costs related to engagement of Senior Counsel. 

Published in News

Two residents of Letlhakane are pointing a finger at Boteti East Member of Parliament Sethomo Lelatisitswe for ‘stealing’ their land in 2014.

 


Seventy-nine old granny, Gaboitsiwe Maphane and Franz Tsietso, 53, are on a mission to go and see President Masisi over the issue. In an interview with Botswana Guardian last week, Maphane said the MP knew the land was theirs and that he took advantage of her old age and connived with Ngwato Land Board to take her piece of land at Motatawa.

“I voted for him thinking he was going to improve my life. Little did I know he was going to cheat me and steal from me,” said Maphane.
She wrote to Ngwato Land Board on September 15, 2015 appealing decision taken by Letlhakane Sub-Land Board concerning the allocation of a ploughing field to Lelatisitse.


In June the same year the Sub Land Board resolved to dismiss her, saying she does not have the right over the land concerned. She was advised that there was enough space next to her field which she could use, and concluded by giving the MP the rights saying he was the rightful owner.


 Botswana Guardian is in possession of documents between the parties, dating back from 2014. A document from the Land Tribunal in Palapye in 2015 says the matter was dismissed on the basis that she does not have rights over the land.
“In terms of the 1st respondent (Ngwato Land Board)’s Allocation Policy of 2011, at clause 13.0, ‘No claim shall be entertained in respect of a letlotla or lelota allocated by the Kgosi/Land Board and was abandoned for a minimum period of five years.”


Maphane had said that she last resided on the land in 1999-2000, which the Land Tribunal argued was 15 years ago. It also stated that Maphane’s claim is for a piece of land which they used purely as their homestead while at the lands contrary to the Botswana Land Policy (clause 60 VII) that ‘Farmhouses (mekgoro) will be situated within arable fields and agricultural holdings.’


In her letter to Francistown Land Tribunal dated November 10, 2016, Maphane said she had given no written or verbal agreement to release the land from her ownership, and that the land was rightfully hers. She revealed that she had owned the six-hectare plot since 1958 through the time of receiving a land grant in 1988.


Tsietso said that the Land Board took their ploughing fields homestead and allocated them to the MP. He told BG News that his intention was to register the homesteads as the village expands and submitted an application in 2003 to Ngwato Land Board.

Land overseer speaks
Serumola Modirwagale, 85, told The Land Tribunal that the MP came to him in 2014 asking him for a signature, and informed him to go and consult Maphane and Tsietso ‘as he knew they had ploughing field homesteads on the other side of the road.’
He told this publication, however, that he did not know then that the MP had already started acquiring the land with the Sub Land Board.


He said Leatisistswe tricked him into signing papers he did not understand since they were written in English. “Ideally, they were supposed to be together when the Land Board allocated him the land. He stole their land,” he said angrily.
Last year The Land Tribunal in Francistown ruled in favour of the MP, citing that he is the rightful owner of the plot as he followed the procedure.
 The complainants failed to appeal the case. “The only way is for us to approach the president. A young man used his power to cheat us,” said Maphane.

MP’s response
In response, MP Leatisitswe said it was all a political gimmick meant to discredit him. He said that he knew the faces behind plans to destroy his political career and that he would not be fazed.

“Those people are insignificant and I know them,” he said.
He said that the plots in question were a barren land and that contrary to what the complainants are saying, their fields are 2km from his land.
“It was a bush and I started developing it in 2014. Even after complaining and appealing, those complainants have been rejected by the courts,” he said.

Published in News

Tensions are reaching boiling point as the deadline for the repatriation of the Namibian refugees held at Dukwi refugee camp to their native country draws nearer.

 


The refugees have until 11th of July (less than two weeks) to return to their country. But fresh information gathered by this publication indicates that some of the refugees at Dukwi Camp are refusing to sign for voluntary repatriation. This comes after some of their colleagues were arrested last week in Gaborone.


The 12 refugees who presented a petition to Southern African Development Community (SADC) on behalf of others at the camp have been detained since Tuesday last week. They were held at Molepolole Centre for Illegal Immigrants and later transported to Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants (FCII) where they are currently detained. There are claims that officials at FCII and Dukwi Camp are reluctant to release the detained Namibians to the camp on fears that they might incite others at the camp not to sign for voluntary repatriation pending intervention by SADC. It is alleged that SADC is currently considering the request for intervention.


About 900 Namibians remain at the camp. They are mostly those who call themselves Caprivians. The Namibian government is said to have managed to repatriate about 3,000 since 2000. The refugees stated in their petition to SADC, that they will only return home if the Namibian government lifts the ban on the United Democratic Party (UDP), which is led by the exiled leader of the separatist movement in the former Caprivi now Zambezi region of Namibia, Mishake Muyongo.


UDP had formed a military wing, the Caprivi Liberation Army, which carried out deadly secessionist attacks at Katima Mulilo on 2 August 1999. The refugees now want SADC to intervene and create a platform where Namibian Government would welcome them back to the country as UDP members. They also want an undertaking from the government that they would not face any criminal charges especially treason.


In an interview at FCII Felix Kakula representing the refugees said no one is communicating anything to them. He explained that they (12 of them) have been detained since Wednesday last week following their arrest. Kakula further stated that SADC has also not responded to their request. He fears that the deadline for the repatriation is drawing near. “It is true that some people are refusing to sign for voluntary repatriation. The only reason is what we have already communicated to SADC. This is a political situation that needs political intervention.

We still maintain that we would not leave for Namibia until they agree to our terms. We have been here detained since last week. We suspect they would not take us to the camp because they fear we might influence more of our people not to sign for the repatriation,” Kakula indicated.


He revealed that they are currently working with Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) who are facilitating through a lawyer for their release from detention. BCC has called on President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reconsider the 11 July 2018 deadline to ensure that the refugees’ repatriation is within the spirit of safety and peaceful settlement of all returnees, with particular reference to the issue of security clearance of the 16 political leaders. The council has since engaged a lawyer to assist with the release of the 12 refugees from the FCII.


UNHCR Chief of Mission, Arvind Gupta told this publication that there is nothing they could do regarding the arrested Namibians because at the time of their arrest they were not refugees. He said their status as refugees was no longer recognised. “Their stay in the Dukwi Camp is for us to assist with facilitation for their repatriation back to their country following the declaration of the cessation clause. Botswana has enforced a cessation clause with respect to the status of Namibian refugees living at Dukwi, which was invoked in 2015. So if they leave the camp Botswana Government has the right to enforce any law that is applicable.

Their refugee status does not exist anymore,” he stated. Botswana Government has not made any statement since the petition and arrest of the refugees.
SADC Head of Regional Early Warning Centre and Representative of Namibian Government Habib Kambanga who received the petition told this publication this week that he could not comment on the matter because at the time he received the petition he was just acting as the relevant officer was out of the country.

Kambanga stated that all he knows is that a letter has been drafted to both Namibian and Botswana Government requesting for a bilateral discussion on the matter.
“Currently I do not know the status of the matter because after the drafting of the letter I also travelled out of Botswana. As SADC we want the matter resolved,” said Kambanga referring further inquiries to Dr Malepa- Director for Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

Dr Malepa also referred the matter to SADC Head of Public Relations Barbara Lopi who was not available for comment at press time. Botswana’s Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi revealed that Namibian President has sent a delegation to Dukwi Camp to talk to the refugees. “The Namibian President has sent three ministers and some traditional leaders to speak to Namibians at the camp. We would be going there to meet them and the meeting would probably be Thursday or Friday. We are hoping for a fruitful engagement,” said Kgathi on Wednesday this week.


Namibia’s Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Likius Valombola, said that they have no communication about Namibians detained in Botswana and are only aware of the 910 refugees who have been cleared “as per current communique”. Valombola also pleaded ignorance on some refugees from Caprivi (now Zambezi) Region in north-eastern Namibia who apparently demand that they be welcomed to Namibia and be recognised as United Democratic Party (UDP) members without being charged with treason. 


“We do not know about UDP members and we do not know that there are still activities going on, unless they reactivated. We cannot dwell on that,” he said. The Namibian government’s position on the current development with regards to refugees at Dukwi refugee camp in Botswana is that it is ready to receive them back home “with open hands”. “There is no point for them to live in Botswana as refugees as per the tripartite,” said Valombola. He added that the Namibian government received a communiqué from SADC Secretariat on 20 June 2018 and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration was consulting with relevant stakeholders on the matter.

“The Government of Namibia is prepared to receive its citizens in safety and dignity,” he pointed out, saying that upon registration for voluntary repatriation, they would be issued with repatriation packages such as building materials and national documents for those who do not have.


According to Valombola, the returnees would be treated like others who have already been repatriated by engaging local stakeholders for resettlement and re-integration purposes back to their various communities. “They will participate in the socio-economic development programmes available in their constituencies and communities without any discrimination or persecution. With regard to school going population, they will definitely be admitted in their respective levels of schooling,” said Valombola.
As per the Tripartite Commission agreement, the UNHCR will give a voluntary repatriation package, which includes money and food for three months, while also monitoring and supervising the voluntary repatriation from the country of asylum to the country of origin.
Valombola warned that those who fail to register for voluntary repatriation would unfortunately forfeit the repatriation packages.

The Commissioner dispelled fears that those who return would be persecuted or imprisoned, saying that “the Government of Namibia is resolute in ensuring that they return in a dignified manner and integrated into their communities without fear from persecution.” He said before the deadline of the 11 July 2018, Botswana hosted 916 Namibians and immediately when the deadline was announced, seven former Namibian refugees registered for voluntary repatriation and were received on the 14 June 2018.

“They are now with their families well integrated into their communities in Zambezi Region,” he noted. Valombola said that those who were not cleared by the Tripartite Commission should write a letter to the President of Namibia Hage Geingob, indicating their circumstances and their intent to return to Namibia.(Magreth Nunuhe is Senior Business Reporter with Southern Times)

Published in News

Members of Parliament have welcomed the Data Protection Bill presented by Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi this week.

 


The MPs further called for enactment of other laws such as Freedom of Information Act. The minister was also cautioned about abuse of power by government to access individuals’ personal information.
Presenting the Bill Molefhi stated that the Constitution of Botswana guarantees at Section 9, the right to privacy as one of the fundamental rights and freedoms of an individual. Access to services from service providers often results in the service providers compiling personal data, some of which is sensitive personal data, he said.  The minister told Parliament that this Bill seeks to regulate the protection of personal data and ensure that the privacy of individuals in relation to their personal data is maintained.

“Personal data is information that relates to an identifiable individual, which individual can be identified directly or indirectly by reference to an identification number or to factors specific to the individual’s physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.  “On the other hand, sensitive personal data is, personal data relating to an individual, which reveals among other things, his or her racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, sexual life and personal financial information.

The main object of the Data Protection Bill is to protect all personal data and to provide for instances where it may be processed,” he explained.  Molefhi added that the Bill further provides for security safeguards required in the processing of data and establishes an Information and Data Protection Commission whose main function is to protect the personal rights of individuals with regards to their personal data.


Debating the Bill MP for Gaborone Central Dr. Phenyo Butale observed that in most instances the Data Protection Laws are often enacted after a country has enacted a Freedom of Information Law. He explained that the reasoning for this is that data protection is often misconstrued by some Governments more especially Governments that like secrecy over transparency, they always think that Data Protection Laws are secrecy laws.


Dr Butale said the chronology is made in this way so that “as you promote transparency, you then have a legal instrument that protects personal information”. Samuel Rantuana of Ramotswa said even though he welcomes the Bill, data protection breaches are not well articulated.  “If the breaches are done (sic), what are we going to do? There should be clearly laid out data protection breaches. This data protection should not be only against private or other individuals. Are individuals protected against the Government that can use this information to harass its own people?” asked Rantuana.

He said the law once enacted should not be like the one used by Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs which has created problems where people were being traced back to their grandparents because they come from Zimbabwe and South Africa. “We did not let them renew their Omang and that is very wrong,” the legislator said. Rantuana stated that the Government can harass its own people from their individual data.


MP for Palapye Moisiraela Goya said one of the good attributes of the Bill is that it talks about setting or establishing an Information and Data Protection Commission. Goya pointed out that this Commission is meant to protect rights of individuals with regard to their personal details.


“If you look at the market today, if you go into shops and other outlets where they provide service, they use machines called speed points. These speed points are supplied or provided by banks to these merchants. These machines work through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) but the question is, how does one’s PIN get protected”?  Goya who is also Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry stated that one does not know whether this PIN has not been shared with Internet Service Providers because it is the banks who supply these speed points to the merchants, so individual customers can do their transactions through these machines. 

MP for Gaborone Bonnington South Ndaba Gaolathe pointed out that the legislation seems somewhat silent on the area of oversight, particularly oversight in relation to Parliament. According to Gaolathe there needs to be explicit reference to how there would be management of potential abuse, because the regulator will have powers to make decisions and grant permission for studies. “How do you have an oversight regime and dispensation, to ensure that at the overall level those powers are not abused? There is always reference to, ‘for security reasons we would not allow such data to be given to other authorities.’

There has to be an objective measure of what security reasons means, as it is done internationally. There are new threats to privacy and being able to enforce privacy, there are new issues of the extent to which technology allows you to interact so many times”.

Published in News

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Gaborone South Constituency is marred by controversy as campaign teams jostling for the area clash on a collision course, Botswana Guardian has learnt.

 


The constituency will pit Gaborone- based lawyer Meshack Mthimkhulu with businessman Monametsi Kalayamotho in the contest for party representation. The party top brass have also been implicated in the matter as they are accused of having dumped Mthimkhulu for Kalayamotho.


Botswana Guardian understands that Mthimkhulu, who joined BDP from Botswana National Front (BNF) after the 2014 general election was promised that like most of the new recruits he would not be subjected to the process of Bulela Ditswe. Mthimkhulu contested the 2014 general election as an independent candidate after he lost BNF primary elections.


It is alleged that Mthimkhulu was at the time recruited to the BDP by Mokgweetsi Masisi who chaired the Communications and International Relations Committee and promised a clear ride as area Member of Parliament Kagiso Molatlhegi would not be seeking re-election.  Mthimkhulu and Kalayamotho are said to be close to President Masisi but the wind now seems to be blowing in the direction of Kalayamotho.


While having enjoyed the blessing from the party leadership both from branch level to Central Committee, tables turned against Mthimkhulu this year when Kalayamotho made his way into the constituency. It is alleged that Kalayamotho was tipped to challenge Annah Mokgethi who was recruited from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) but he was convinced to relocate to Gaborone South a constituency he grew up in. This was because Mokgethi was also allegedly promised not to be subjected to primary elections.
Now the opposing teams of Mthimkhulu and Kalayamotho are firing from all cylinders in a bid to have one of the candidates fall during vetting.

The duo has successfully managed to forward names for expression of interest to contest in the constituency before closing date a fortnight ago. Vetting is ongoing in the constituencies that would go for primaries in August this year including Gaborone South.
At the centre of controversy are accusations from both camps of campaigning before time.

Letters are flying from one office to the other as a smear campaign by both teams. Mthimkhulu’s team has written letters to BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi complaining that Kalayamotho, who transferred his membership from Gaborone Bonnington North to Gaborone South, engaged in early campaign by hosting activities at Old Naledi and branding and distributing t-shirts to constituents with the aim of luring them to vote for him in August.


Letters seen by this publication also question Kalayamotho’s membership transfer. The complainants argue that they sense the transfer was done under dubious circumstances. A recent Entrepreneurship Summit which Kalayamotho hosted at Old Naledi and Bontleng Halls on 17 May 2018 to reach out to the unemployed has also been cited as one of his campaigns for votes. He is said to have resorted to using such a stunt because he has arrived in the constituency late and is only using financial muscle to gain popularity.


On the other hand, Kalayamotho’s team has hit back and written to Branch Committee accusing Mthimkhuku’s team of applying underhand tactics to canvass for votes. Mthimkulu’s team is said to be campaigning by organising activities such as soccer tournaments and buying alcohol for constituents in exchange for them to register so as to vote for him.


It is also alleged that a WhatsApp Group page - a platform the BDP has indicated should not be used for campaigns - has been opened and is being used for campaigning. Candidates for the August 2018 Bulela-Ditswe will only be allowed to campaign after 13th July 2018 and will be allowed to use only house to house campaigns.


Kalayamotho told this publication that it would be against BDP rules and regulations to address the media on such matters. He stated that only the branch committee and secretary general would be in a position to comment. Regarding his transfer, he said he worked within the party rules and Branch leadership can attest to his claims. He told this publication that people are quick to run to the media to discuss internal affairs, which is wrong.


Mthimkhulu refuted claims that he has been campaigning in the constituency. He labelled this as a smear campaign to have him vetted out. “I have not carried myself in any manner that violates the BDP Constitution and or Rules and Regulations. I am also not aware of any complaint against me because even the Branch Committee. has not notified me,” said Mthimkhulu who referred further inquiries to the branch committee
Gaborone South Branch Chairman Alfred Moatlhaping said Kalayamotho followed proper channels to have his membership transfer. He said the complaints about Kalayamotho’s campaign were conveyed to the central committee and not the branch committee. “We would not address a matter that was not brought before my committee.

Those people flouted our rules and there is no how we could help them as the branch. So we will wait for the Central Committee to undertake its investigations and report to us the findings,” said Moatlhaping.
He pointed out that he has been made aware of a letter of complaint from Kalayamotho by the Branch Secretary. Moatlhaping said he has not seen the letter, adding that he would know the contents of the letter this week during a Branch Committee meeting.  Balopi has indicated that all complaints are directed to lower structures to address so that the central committee could deal with such matters at a higher level as appeals.


Balopi has revealed recently that the party’s Political Education and Election Committee is engaged in mass registration across the country and attending to constituencies that are marred by controversies regarding registration and campaigns. He said this is to deal with claims that some of the structures are captured by some of Bulela-Ditswe candidates.


Molatlhegi won the constituency in 2014 with 3,872 votes, followed by Murray Dipate of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) with 3,629, Akanyang Magama of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) with 2,318 and Mthimkhulu, then an independent candidate coming last with 1,475 votes.

Published in News
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 11:35

Tensions fermenting within UDC - Mohwasa

Tensions between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) contracting partners, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana National Front (BNF) over constituency allocation are at their zenith.

 


It is a marriage gone wrong for the once darlings of the coalition who are now at each other’s throats over two constituencies- Moshupa/Manyana and Mmopane/Lentsweletau. When constituencies were allocated BMD and BNF were to hold bilateral talks on the two constituencies and decide who gets what.


Both parties are fighting tooth and nail to claim the constituencies. In fact, BMD has since indicated that the two belong to it and the party has already announced its candidates for the 2019 general election. On the other hand, BNF would not allow that.
What broke the camel’s back was last week’s pronouncement by BMD on the constituencies.

BMD leadership has made it clear that there is nothing to negotiate about the constituencies because it is a closed matter.
BNF is said to now be preparing to unleash war on BMD regarding some of the constituencies. The BNF would also not allow BMD to try and humiliate it by making pronouncement on matters that are still internal. The BNF is said to also be planning to reclaim Gabane-Mmankgodi which is now under the watch of the BMD.  BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa this week quashed claims by BMD.


“The BNF would like to correct the picture that is being created that a resolution has been reached regarding the impasse over the allocation of Moshupa-Manyana and Ntsweletau-Mmopane constituencies as the reports coming from the recent BMD press conference seems to suggest.


“While it is not our position to publicly discuss matters that are a subject of discussion with our partners, in the interest of ensuring that the nation and our members are not confused and fed with wrong information, we are compelled to set the record straight,” Mohwasa said.


Giving a brief history regarding the constituencies Mohwasa explained that after the completion of the Talks with BCP, the old UDC (which then comprised the BMD, BNF and the Botswana People’s Party) got 40 constituencies while the BCP got 17.  
At a meeting held to divide the constituencies amongst the old UDC members, the BNF and BMD felt entitled to both Moshupa/Manyana and Ntsweletau/Mmopane, said Mohwasa who is also UDC Head of Communications. “A decision was then made that the allocation of these constituencies be a subject of bilateral (talks) between the two parties. 


“It was however not possible to engage the BMD because of the leadership challenges it had then until just recently, which we are all aware of. Ourselves and the BMD hold two divergent and strong views regarding who should manage these constituencies on behalf of the UDC. For the BNF, at present, the two constituencies remain un-allocated.


 “We believe a sober engagement between the two parties can assist resolve this matter and avoid the fermenting of tensions within the UDC, which regrettably is the case currently,” stated Mohwasa.  He revealed that the holding of bi-laterals by parties within the UDC on matters of common concern will help strengthen unity.


 Mohwasa maintained that in acknowledgement of the importance of bi-laterals, the BNF central committee at its most recent meeting, resolved to hold bi-laterals with all its partners within the UDC and the labour federations immediately after the forth-coming Annual Conference, to be held under the theme, “Ensuring BNF Unity Now and UDC Victory in 2019”.


 “We would like to appeal to all our partners within the UDC to always engage each other meaningfully and avoid making solo and arbitrary decisions as this has the potential of destabilising the People’s project.
Dealing with our differences in such a manner can lead to others taking the same route, which could lead to anarchy.  “We will not agree all the time, but what is important is how we handle our contradictions. The BNF calls upon its members to remain calm and avoid any acts that have the potential to tarnish the good image of the UDC. We remain hopeful that a lasting solution will be found,” said Mohwasa.


BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole maintained that there is no issue. According to Mangole, BNF has 22 constituencies as per the announcement by UDC leader Advocate Duma Boko. He indicated that should the disputed constituencies be given to BNF it would now mean they have 24 constituencies and BMD would have 11 constituencies.


“We have written to BNF stating that they have to make a formal request if they want us to give them the two constituencies just like what Botswana Congress Party did. Without that there is nothing to talk about because those constituencies are for BMD,” he said. Mangole wondered why the BNF would now also want to claim Gabane-Mankgodi and Gaborone Bonnington South.

Published in News
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 11:24

Dakar Rally mooted for Southern Africa


MOTORPSPORT
The South African based Toyota Gazoo Racing team (TGR) might have established a legacy in the region after dominating the 1000 km Toyota Desert Race (TDR) since 2012. However, the TGR empire will not be complete until they win the Dakar Rally, which is the single biggest motorsport event in the world.

 


This past weekend TGR won the TDR with a comfortable lead proving that the local event has become practice for the 10 000 km week long Dakar Rally that is staged in South America. TGR has tried to win the race on numerous occasions without any success as the likes of Peugeot and Mini Cooper racing teams beat them to the finish line in recent races. However, Toyota team principal Glyn Hall said they just don’t want to win the Dakar for the Southern Africa region but they want to eventually lure the epic rally to the Southern African region.


In a post-race interview in Jwaneng this past weekend, Hall said they have been trying to bring the Dakar Rally to Southern Africa in the past few years. After co-host Bolivia and Uruguay pulled out of the 2019 event, speculation was rife that the race might come back to its roots in Africa.

The event will be exclusively staged in Peru for 2019. “Peru have confirmed that they are hosting the race but they have issues with the money they are asking for. I am sure the Dakar organisers will resolve it with the Peru government.
 We have been trying to move the Dakar Rally to Southern Africa for a couple of years now but we need commitment from the countries and buy in from the Dakar organisation,” Hall said in the side-line of the TDR event.

“However, it takes a year and a half to organise the race, it is not easy to come and do the job. Hall said the Toyota Gazoo Racing program focuses in the South African Cross-Country Series so Toyota Hiluxes are big selling vehicles but their campaign is mixed in with the Dakar Rally, which is the biggest motorsport event in the world. If we can win this for South Africa and Southern Africa, that is our goal.


“The last time the Dakar was held in Africa was almost 10 years ago. The epic odyssey originally started from Paris, France and concluded in Dakar Senegal. The race that has been held since 1978 was moved to South America due to safety concerns. Botswana, South Africa and Namibia have suitable desert terrain for a Dakar event. Meanwhile, Hall said  he had a great edition of the TDR with Gineil De Villiers coming in first and another factory team coming   in second place. “It was a great day for Toyota, we started winning the Desert Race in 2012.


 Since then we have had a very good run, the drivers are great and cars are fantastic”. Hall attributed the success of the team to hardwork, adding that the design team has made sure that the Toyota racing car is both fast and advanced. “There is also the technical staff   who make sure the car is reliable and it doesn’t break. We will keep coming back to Botswana, if we have the opportunity.” Regarding their dominance in the SACCS and the TDR in the last few years, Hall said there is only one way to go when they are on top.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 11:10

Govt provides P4m for AYG team

The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYESCD) has splashed a whopping P4 million towards the upcoming Africa Youth games penciled for Algeria from the 19th until 28th July. However, the final national team is expected trimmed to suit the budget.

 


According to Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho who spoke to this publication in an interview this week, the financial aid is meant to cover all expenses including the games preparations.
However, Serufho said when finalizing the team list, they will be forced to make alterations so that it fits the allocated budget.

He said BNOC relied heavily on the ministry for assistance, with that, they are forced to work with what they have received. The BNOC boss said that the ministry has recommended that a team of only 45 athletes should be selected for the games. The final team list will be communicated to all stakeholders either this week or early next week.


“If it was possible, we would send a bigger number to Algeria because the youth games play a pivotal role in unearthing hidden talent locally,” Serufho said.
Serufho said it was during the 2010 inaugural youth games in Morocco that the likes of the 2012 Summer Olympics Silver medalist Nijel Amos were discovered. Female sprinter Leungo Matlhaku was discovered during the same period when she won a gold medal in her 200m run. The event saw Botswana returning home with a total of six medals.


The second edition of the games was held in Gaborone in 2014 and Botswana witnessed the rise of 400m stars Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda, there was also Otukile Mohammed from the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA).  The country recorded more than 30 medals during the competition.  


Going into the 2018 games, the BNOC boss said they expect to discover hidden talent once again. Nevertheless, Serufho said they would not put pressure on the athletes by expecting them to bring a specified number of medals home.
Quizzed on team preparations, Serufho said that even though they only managed to finalize the funding logistics earlier this week and they expect the team to be highly competitive in Algeria.


Meanwhile sometime last week, the BNOC found itself in an awkward situation and even instructed sport codes to suspend preparations citing financial constraints, as MYESCD had not released the funds. This meant that all plans made by sporting codes were cancelled, however some are reported to have left for South Africa earlier this week. “I can confirm that Cycling and Table Tennis have left, it was a delay on our side however it was sorted,” Serufho said.

Nevertheless, BG Sport has been reliably informed that the Badminton team is still stranded in Gaborone. The team was scheduled to leave for South Africa for the under 19 Championship that started this week. Quizzed on why they could not compete at the championship, Botswana Badminton Association (BBA) spokesperson Barulaganye Ncube said BNOC advised them to stay put at the national camp which started on 21st June.


Ncube said the BNOC alerted affiliates of pending finances from MYESD. He explained BNOC has booked the team of eight in one hotel situated in Block 9.


Nevertheless, some of the athletes forming the Badminton team argued that they are not happy and fear that they will be axed from the team heading to Algeria. “If other codes finally managed to travel outside the country, it means we might be excluded when the official team list is released,” they argued. When brought to speed, Serufho said he could not comment on the matter or even name codes that will represent the country in Algeria. He said as BNOC, they will select the national team without fear or favour and those that have been dropped will be officially informed.  

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 11:01

Marauding BDF VI targets rival teams

BDF VI men volleyball team is yet to lose a game since the start of the Mascom Volleyball league last month. According to team coach Selebatso Mabutho, the team is thirsty for silverware.

 


Mabutho was speaking to Sun Sports this week following the team’s dominant showing over Spiking Stars and Itekeng in Lobatse. “We have not been doing well in the recent past and I believe our current form is a result of our intensive preparation ahead of the league start,” he said.


The soldiers are currently at the summit of the log with 18 points after playing six games and they are only left with five games before the end of the first round. Mabutho said it would do them good if they finish the first round still leading the race.
The confident coach said he would stop at nothing as far as winning the league title is concerned. Mabutho expressed a burning desire to bring back the glory to BDF VI. Furthermore, the coach revealed that his side last won the league honors sometime in 2013 and they have been struggling to return to the top.

Nevertheless, Mabutho said he is pleased with his team’s performance even though he is still trying to find each player’s strength and weaknesses. “I pick my squad randomly ahead of the games, any player in my team is good enough for me. I am not sure who to single out as outstanding,” Mabutho said.


At his disposal, the BDF coach has experienced players including Kabo Moetse and Kesaobaka Lenkopane.  His biggest wish is to have a steady basic setting department, adding that this would assist greatly in consistent play.   
Mabutho’s biggest concern so far is to play against the defending champions Police IV, “I have managed to defeat the likes of Kutlwano and Kalavango, the biggest threat remains Police team which we are to play sometime next month,” he said.

 

Meanwhile Mabutho is expected to lock horns with the unpredictable side of Mag- Stimela this coming weekend at UB Indoor Sports Arena. The BDF VI coach said he will approach the game with his eyes wide-open, adding that teams such as Mag- Stimela have to this end proven that they are capable of humiliating any experienced team in the league.


Mahalapye based Mag Stimela are currently sitting on position three with 11 points after five games. They have in the past troubled the likes of Kutlwano and thrashed the strong Diphatsa side.  

Published in Sports
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