Monday, 20 May 2019 11:05

Former MPs condemn Khama

Former Members of Parliament have blasted former head of state Dr. Ian Khama accusing him of dividing the nation. The former MPs made a resolution during their Annual General Meeting on the 11th of this month during The Association of Former Members of the Botswana Parliament to condemn Dr Khama.

According to the former MPs there is national instability and anxiety created by the Former President emanating from his unfounded appeal for sympathy from across the nation. “We observe with regret that his sympathy seeking antics are fast turning into promotion of regionalism and tribalism. “Our collective view is that the Former President’s actions and utterances are uncalled for and must be rejected by all those who live in this beautiful country if we are to preserve our national peace and tranquility that we have enjoyed over the years and have become the envy of many a nation,” the MPs said.

The association was established on the 24th September 2018 under Section 6 (1) of the Registration of Societies Regulations of the Societies Act. It is a non-profit making and independent organisation whose membership is drawn from former members of the Botswana Parliament from various political parties. According to the association what Dr Khama is doing presents grave risk to the stability of the nation and its core values and principles. 

The Association further called upon the Former President to desist from his divisive gatherings and statements and play his role as a statesman who has enjoyed the support and recognition of Batswana during his term of office. “Our plea is informed by the diligent job our other former Presidents did in their retirement. They did not only subordinate themselves and allowed space for their successors to run the affairs of the nation but also became ambassadors of Botswana across the globe through their noble peace-making efforts.

“We believe this immediate past Former President must do the same,” argues the association. The former MPs are further disturbed by the level of corruption which they say happened in the past ten (10) years. Dr Khama was the president of the country in the past ten (10) years.

The Association says like the nation at large it is alarmed by the high levels of corruption in the economy that is being reported in the media. Incidences of corruption according to the former MPs seems to have literally spiraled out of control during the past ten years.
“To this end, we call upon Batswana to embrace the fight against corruption in all its forms across the economy”.

The Association says its objectives are among others, to provide collective opinions or pronouncements on matters of national interest and importance and to advise Government, the nation at large or any other institution on any matter that may be within its competence. 

Published in News
Tuesday, 07 May 2019 10:12

BFTU launches Workers’ Manifesto

The Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) launched its first ever manifesto for the 2019 national elections on 1 May to coincide with Workers’ Day. BFTU spokesperson Thusang Butale told this publication that the manifesto was premised on the realisation that they do not educate workers properly on critical issues that they should consider when they are engaging parliamentary aspirants in their constituencies.

“Last year October we held a general council meeting and during our discussions we pointed out that elections are around the corner and that a lot was happening in our country in terms of issues of unemployment, corruption and poverty, which essentially affect workers,” he said. Butale explained that while the manifesto was launched this week, they would roll it out in the coming weeks and also engage community leaders and members through kgotla meetings.

He said they would also engage political parties on their manifestos “BDP released theirs and we are waiting for the UDC manifesto that will be out in the next two weeks.  “We will not influence or persuade workers who to vote for but to improve the scope of education and knowledge as we strive to advance Botswana.”
He said that manifesto covered a wide range of issues but one key issue was work ethic in Botswana.  “We wanted to know why workers don’t apply themselves more in Botswana and it directed us to welfare issues, decent and work deficit, which cover issues of occupational health and safety,” he said.

The union mouthpiece also said that they had included the political landscape because of the inter-party fighting and opposition and ruling party bickering, adding that they had observed that workers are often “bought” for votes as if their vote is for sale to the highest bidder. “This is because some workers are not well-informed on issues and do not know how to engage public office aspirants. We created this document that could speak to workers and educate them on issues of interest, with primary focus on educating them on issues that affect them and the current status.”

Butale cited corruption as a niggling issue in Botswana. “NPF money and Central Bank funds belong to Botswana – there should be accountability. “The public should know that they are suffering while a few people benefit. Subsequent to all this we saw petrol price hikes and this affects workers but the minimum wage is still very low and the private sector for example, has not seen wage increases in a long time.

These issues impact across board.” He said that socio-economic inequality was still prevalent 50 years after independence. “The gap between the poor and the rich continues to increase. From outside Botswana appears to be rich but reality is the opposite. How can we bring wealth to the country when we are the working poor?

“We demand sharing resources and wealth, and creating a democratic, diversified and inclusive economy. A report done by UNDP indicates that since 1996 there has not been any huge change in Batswana’s socio-economic status… “This reflects jobless growth, which in turn signifies a rootless, wealthlessness and futureless Botswana where the current generation squanders resources needed by the future generation but as the saying goes, ‘we live today because of time borrowed time by the future generations’… but what are the future generation going to find?”

He said that they were also of the view that an economy without a strong SMME sector could not be sustainable and that Botswana should have a policy to place citizens in the middle of the SMMEs sector, develop incubators and have in place preferential access to credit.

Butale added that accountability and governance was key. “We believe organisations such as auditor general, DCEC, IEC, BURS – should be appointed and removed from office by Parliament and account to Parliament and not form an arm of executive.

“In addition, there should be oversight bodies that include civil society institutions such as faith based and unions. These institutions should rather be built into Botswana governance and accountability structure, and these organisations should be able to do checks and balances on each other.”

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:18

MP Majaga, BDP headed for showdown

Member of Parliament for Nata-Gweta Polson Majaga is being pushed against the wall by his party – Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Majaga who dared to defy party convention, went against his party’s processes and even seemed to disrespect the party’s values when he tabled the motion calling for direct election of President in Parliament.

Although it received overwhelming support, there had been prior plans to kill the motion when Vice President Slumber Tsogwane tried to engage Majaga in a bid to dissuade him against going ahead with his plans. But now, indications are that Majaga’s hard work will all come to nought following this past weekend’s BDP National Council in Kang, which wants nothing to do with the ‘dangerous’ motion. This week BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi said there is no how the party would give such a dangerous motion the green light.

In fact, he said that Majaga himself conceded at the National Council in Kang to not having followed proper party processes and procedures and promised to “engage further with party leadership on the motion”. But in an interview this week Majaga told Botswana Guardian that the motion is for Batswana and not for ‘one man who stood at the National Council and expressed his discomfort about the motion’.  The outspoken legislator said the National Council was “not the right forum” to discuss a matter which has been dealt with by Parliament.

“I did agree to engage the leadership further on the matter. People have to understand that this issue is for Batswana and it is one of the issues they have long wanted to be attended to. “I humbled myself at the Council because I had to respect the leadership of the party but surprisingly people who were pushing for the motion to be discussed though I was not around, which is why when my whereabouts were questioned I stood up and went to the podium to explain. “I did not want to embarrass anyone, which is why I obliged for further consultation but that does not change what happened in Parliament,” said Majaga adding that MPs were not opposed to the motion.

He wondered why at the Council Vice President Tsogwane, Balopi and newly-appointed Central Committee additional member Tebelelo Seretse were also pushing for the motion to be subjected to further rigorous debate by the BDP. But Balopi told the media this week that it was “disorderly” to have the motion brought before Parliament without first being subjected to vigorous scrutiny by the party. He revealed that on numerous occasions the party through its Parliamentary Caucus tried to have the motion put on hold but failed because the majority wanted to have the motion proceeded with.

“The motion at first hand might be seen to be progressive because this is done in other countries. When you scrutinise it further you will find out that there would be a lot of changes that comes with it. “The motion has to be subjected to party process which is why after the National Council we would take it further to the National Congress. The motion was first taken to Parliament and we are saying this is not how we do things as the BDP. “The motion would not only affect the president but everything around the presidency. So, we have to understand the implications that come with it,” Balopi explained.

He stated that this could also affect other party members who would have thought would grow through party ranks to at one point become the president. He said the BDP is not saying the motion is bad but wants it to be debated thoroughly. Balopi said the motion would not only change the political landscape but that the Constitution would also have to be changed.

“This would be a huge process that would need referendum and change of landscape politically,” said Balopi adding that as the BDP they do not want Botswana to find herself in the position of Malawi which at one point voted a non-partisan president who immediately formed a party and polarised Parliament through appointment of ministers and those who wanted appointments joined the new party. “This is why we say as the BDP there is no way the matter should be first discussed in Parliament. All BDP MPs who stood and debated the motion are deployees of the BDP. 

“At times people misdirect themselves and say I have been voted by the people. Why don’t you contest as an independent candidate and be voted as such?  “So, when you use the BDP ticket, emblem and slogan then learn to respect its constitution, principles and its values and act accordingly.  As the BDP we are not going to accept that to happen that way,” Balopi stated.

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:05

The expensive contest that never was

Although she waged a spirited campaign, Dr. Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi’s presidential bid was littered with many faultlines that culminated in her last minute pullout to the dismay of multitudes of BDP faithful.

The nation’s hope and anticipation had built over time on who would win the historic presidential race. The campaign was tough and at one point involved legal action in which three judges recused themselves to avoid any semblance of bias or perceived relationship with any of the parties.

What gave rise to the court case is the fact that Moitoi had submitted a list of people that she said were delegates to Secretary General, Mpho Balopi in compliance with Article 29.3 of the BDP constitution. Balopi received Moitoi‘s letter accompanied with names of her 50 delegates but he noticed that 26 of them were Councillors and therefore not  delegates. 

Balopi told Botswana Guardian that he wrote to Moitoi that, “according to our reading of Article 26.4 of the constitution and also the legal opinion that the party had sought from the party lawyers, Councillors are not party delegates and therefore  once those people are removed from the list, it means she does not comply”.  Moitoi was then advised to comply, and to do her due diligence to ensure that people that she is submitting are delegates.

Balopi said after receipt of that letter, an urgent application, “we were served on Wednesday afternoon and required to be in court at 8; 30 am the next morning.  “The application was bulky, which led to the attorneys working the entire night to respond and actually had to call me as I was just leaving for Kang to come back so that I could give them an affidavit.”

Three weeks prior to the party writing to Moitoi, the party had obtained legal opinion that the only delegates template by Article 29.3 and 29.3.1 are delegates as defined by article 26.4.2 of the BDP constitution.   The attendees of the national congress are all members of the national council (Article 27.3) and they are: Members of the Central Committee, MPs of the party, all regional chairpersons, all branch chairpersons and their secretaries, all members of the inner executive committee of the Youth, Women’s wing executive, one councillor from each branch, while members of the sub committees of the central committees may attend as observers.

The second group of attendees is eight (8) delegates from each branch of the 57 constituencies bringing the total to 456 delegates as well as all Councillors. All the above have voting rights. Each constituency has to bring observers.
It was on the strength of the legal opinion that Moitoi was advised in her list that at least 26 were not delegates in accordance with the BDP constitution.

The Party lawyers raised a number of points in limine and argued them in court, which acceeded to three points being; that, the matter was not urgent as Moitoi had known as far back as 17th December 2018 that she was going to contest. She has been a Central Committee member for long, she knew the process and it ought not to have taken her by surprise that the rules were the ones that are in place.  She argued that the constitution does not provide rules, and in court it was demonstrated that there were rules.

The post of a party president is that of a member of the Central Committee in accordance with Article 28, and the constitution provides  for elections of central committee members with the  difference being while the elections for CC are done every two years, the election for president is held on elections year only. The second point Moitoi had not demonstrated that she had locus standi in court showing that she has a demonstrable right to be before the court.

The confusion arose from the fact that BDP constitution states that for one to qualify as a candidate for the post of the presidency for the party, one must also qualify to be president of Botswana under Article 29.3.3 of the constitution.  The constitution states for one to be president of Botswana one must be a citizen by birth or descent. In her founding affidavit she did not state whether she is a citizen by birth or descent instead she only stated that she is a Member of Parliament. The judges ruled that Section 33(1) of the Botswana Constitution state that a person shall qualify to be a president of Botswana if he/she is a citizen of Botswana by birth or descent.

Although there were arguments on the definition of delegate, the court did not rule on it because it was raised as one of the points in limine. Before the court process Moitoi’s lawyers had indicated that they would like to explore the possibility whether the matter could be resolved amicably and they requested to meet with President Masisi. Balopi gave the go ahead and the president was willing to meet them. When the case was set to resume at 2pm the meeting had been set for 11.30. The president and his team waited for about an hour.  The president extended an olive branch that although Moitoi’s 26 Councillors are not delegates, for the purpose of the selection the party can accept them as delegates. 

Moitoi demanded to be given a voters’ roll but Masisi told her that he also does not have it, however, Balopi can provide it so that she has time to inspect it before the election.  Moitoi’s other concerns included wanting to know who the election commissioners were and to be assured of the fairness and transparency of the elections.  She was assured there will be international observers, voting will be done in the presence of observers, media and diplomatic corps.

There would also be verification before and after reconciliation.Moitoi requested for congress to be postponed to July. The party told her that is not possible as people are already in Kang. Further there are rules that she could have followed if she wanted the congress postponed.   In Kang the Commissioners called for the names of both Masisi and Venson, but the latter did not confirm her candidacy as she had withdrawn.

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:00

Motshegwa aims to shake up Parliament

Umbrella for Democratic Change Parliamentary candidate for Gaborone Bonnington South says he is standing for political office to pursue the agenda of the working class and the poor who are marginalised in the economy. Ketlhalefile Motshegwa a renowned trade unionist is currently Secretary General for BLLAWU and Deputy Secretary for Botswana Federation of Public Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU).

He was recently criticised for having failed to disclose his interest in political office. In an interview with Botswana Guardian this week Motshegwa said that after being approached by the UDC he made consultations and has now arrived at a decision to contest for parliamentary election in Gaborone Bonnington South constituency. This is the constituency that he stayed at for some time and voted at in 2014. “Upfront I indicate my respect for those I will be contesting with. They are my fellow citizens whom together we are creating diversity of choice for our people and for functionality and nurturing of our democracy.

“Democracy is about competition, and nobody should be faulted or persecuted for merely availing themselves for democratic process such as elections in a Republican set up. “In our team, in advancing my candidature and those of council candidates, we will be conducting a clean, mature, ethical, progressive and issue-based campaign. We are focused on the elections, and our ideas to the people to solve their problems. This country so much yearns for solution-oriented leaders,” he explained.

He believes issues that have to be dealt with unapologetically and with vigour are those of ideological and policy orientation. He argued that there is need to dismantle a system that protects the power and privilege of the few against the interests and needs of the many.

This needs a radical shift on policy framework hinged on ideological orientation, he stated adding that policies should talk about the workers, the poor, youth, women and disabled people.Motshegwa said he would focus on review of the constitution and efforts for enhancement of the country’s democracy. He believes that the economic gains of this country must benefit all Batswana and that in modern times advocacy should be for the socio-economic, political and psychological independence from those neo-colonial mentality.

“Focus must be on the struggle of the working class and the peasants. The working class or labouring class are the people employed for wages, especially in manual-labour occupations and industrial work. This class has nothing to sell but their labour power and skills and they have a challenge of access to economic resources. “That is even worse for the poor who are living in sorrows, agony and some having lost hope to the extent of wishing death upon themselves daily. So far, we have been walking around, having chats with the people in Gaborone Bonnington South.

“They share stories that touch the heart, with feeling and meaning. Some of those are the most beautiful stories to hear as they are moving and inspirational. On the other hand, some are stories of agony and despair arising from abject poverty. The stories of people who have lost hope and are only seeking death a solution to depart from this earth. When I see their tears, I can’t help but shed my own,” posited Motshegwa.

According to the aspiring legislator the “Motshegwa For Gaborone Bonnington South campaign” is driven by principles of respect of human rights and premised on human centered development.  “Our campaign is to go and revolutionise parliament to bring about radical legal and policy shift to care for the workers, the poor, youth, the disabled, the old people, and robustly push for effective citizenship economic empowerment,” he argues. 

Motshegwa explained that his team understands very well that they have a responsibility to cleanse our politics and ensure that people respect politics and politicians, in order to do away with bad notions attached to politics as a dirty vocation. He said politics should be about listening to and serving people, creating ideas as solutions to socio-economic and political predicaments of the country.

“We want a great Botswana where the economy benefits all and human rights are respected and nurtured. We will be fearless, uncompromising and unapologetic in demanding economic independence for the people of this country’s people and social justice.  “We cannot afford to have a rich country with poor people, this we are moving to stop”.

Published in News

His Excellency the Former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama notes with serious concern the allegations levelled against him in the Botswana Guardian newspaper of 15th March 2019 under the headline “Khama lied to SABC”.

The article is set on a tone of malicious intent whose purpose is to discredit Former President Khama, cast him in bad light as a liar who will stop at nothing to tarnish the image of this country. The writer accuses Former President Khama of being reckless and selfish. The article further casts aspersions of treason and sabotage on the part of the Former President. These very serious allegations are not to be taken lightly. By intentionally ignoring the basic facts on the ground since this is no longer a breaking story, one can tell from the article that the writer has an agenda.

His Excellency the Former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama dismisses these allegations with the contempt they deserve. The allegations are preposterous and border on deformation of character. It is very disappointing to note that the Botswana Guardian did not bother to get the Former President’s side of the story. Basic tenants of journalism require that a story be balanced and both sides be afforded a chance to respond, unfortunately this is glaringly missing in this article. Former President Khama and none of his staff were ever contacted by your publication.

This was obviously a deliberate attempt to tarnish the good name of the Former President. Furthermore, the story lacks credibility as reinforced by the writer’s own admission that he or she did not speak to anyone from the DIS since Brigadier Peter Magosi was unreachable. Unfortunately the said officers have been charged by the Directorate of Intelligence Service.

It is common cause that due to the continued mistreatment and harassment of the Former President Khama by the current administration, his security detail and protocol was withdrawn and instructed not to accompany him on his trip to India for the 60th Tibet Uprising Celebrations. The Former President was never officially informed of the withdrawal but only heard it verbally from the affected officers. Apparently the officers received the instruction through telephone calls.

The Former President, having not received any communication in writing from the Directorate of Intelligence Service then proceeded with them on the trip. The constitution requires that the Former President be protected twenty four hours every day, furthermore he is entitled to four international trips and there are no conditions as to who and where he should visit. Had your esteemed writer bothered to enquire, this information would have been freely availed. 

Needless to say the article was a shoddy piece of someone’s fertile imagination, seasoned with personal disdain and intolerance of Former President Khama. This is further evidenced by the fact that in the entire article, there is not a single sentence addressing His Excellency the Former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama with his full title. We live in a democratic country and it is acceptable to differ on opinions, however we need to do it respectfully.

The role of journalists is to report news in a fair and balanced manner, and this is all we ask from our media. Furthermore the article is clearly misplaced on the front page since it is an opinion piece, therefore should have been properly placed in the opinion section.  It is very important that the press remain impartial in their reporting regardless of political persuasion. The Botswana Guardian lied about the Former President Khama, this is unprofessional and unethical.
His Excellency the Former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama

Published in News
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 15:57

Khama feels betrayed

Former president, Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama said the current head of state betrayed his trust as he thought he chose the future president of this country who was very intelligent and an expert in governance.

He expressed the concern in an interview with this publication after a caucus meeting with BDP councillors in Serowe on Thursday at Central District Council Chambers, where he was accompanied by Presidential candidate, Dr. Pelonomi  Venson Moitoi.  He described Masisi’s administration as dictatorship which undermined the rule of law for personal benefit. 

He warned that if Batswana are not vigilant the country will plunge into turmoil like it is in other countries. Khama says nowadays Batswana are living in fear and are no longer free because of the Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS). The feud between Masisi and his predecessor which is believed to be breaking BDP apart, Khama says, is fueled by Mpho Balopi’s (BDP secretary general) leadership who is favouring one candidate over the other.

Published in News

The country’s long time rulling party, Botswana Democratic Party is expected to win the upcoming general elections albeit without an outright majority. This is according to a fresh report coming from Africa’s leading bank by assets, Standard Bank.

The report, which covers politics and economics of countries where the banking group has operations such as Botswana, was made public last week.  BDP, which has ruled the landlocked country since independence more than 50 years ago, is likely to enter the general elections a highly divided lot.  This is largely due to the standoff between President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor, Dr Ian Khama. A former army commander, Khama is backing Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi for the BDP Presidency ahead of the party’s elective congress expected in July.

“Despite the dispute between Ian Khama and Masisi, we still expect BDP to win the general elections in October 19, though perhaps not by an outright majority. “Chances of the UDC (Umbrella for Democratic Change) coalition strengthening before the 2019 general elections are slim, not while tensions about the constituencies persist,” said the report titled African Markets Revealed.  BDP won 37 of the total 57 constituencies in the last general elections held in October 2014. Following the results of the 2014 general election the BDP leadership was concerned by its declining popular vote as the party only managed 47 per cent of the popular vote, the party’s weakest performance since 1966.

The report further noted that, ‘lack of cooperation between the main opposition parties may provide some safe haven for the ruling party’. ‘Hence, if UDC coalition was to unite amid BDP weakness, it may lead to the ruling party losing the general election to UDC’. However, it appears the opposition parties are also divided post the 2014 general election where they made inroads into BDP constituencies. Botswana Guardian last month reported that Alliance for Progressives, a splinter party from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), has outrightly rejected advances from UDC to join them ahead of the highly anticipated elections.  

AP is led by Ndaba Gaolathe, son to former finance minister, Baledzi Gaolathe, who was a BDP member. Previously, there were reports that BDP is courting Gaolathe junior. Meanwhile, Standard Bank which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has made it clear the current political turbulence as impermanent.  “We view the current political turmoil as temporary; we expect no significant deviation from the current economic policy, even if the BDP lost the election,” said the report in part.

Published in News
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 15:24

Women politicians in Africa face huge odds

Women are gaining ground in politics around the world. Last year, the so-called “pink wave” saw a record number of women elected to Congress in the US’s mid-term elections. There are signs of progress in Africa, too.

Last October, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was praised for his “transformative leadership” after appointing a new set of ministers – half of whom were women. Earlier in February, Egyptian lawmakers proposed amending the constitution to guarantee women 25 percent of the seats in the national parliament. If it’s approved, this change will significantly increase the political representation of Egyptian women. At present they make up just 15 percent of the legislature.

There’s a huge amount of variation in women’s political representation across Africa, a fact shown by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women’s map of Women in Politics. In some countries, including Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, they make up a substantial portion of the legislature. However, women remain poorly represented in many others.

Doubtful intentions
Some question whether the increased political representation of women is necessarily a good thing, particularly in the context of Africa. They argue that it’s not entirely coincidental that many of the countries making the greatest progress in including women in politics are making far less progress in terms of democracy.

As others have argued, high profile efforts to promote women’s rights can help authoritarian leaders to present themselves as modernisers. This, they hope, will attract the interest of both investors and lenders.  Including more women in positions of power can also be useful domestically. It allows leaders with authoritarian leanings, or dubious democratic credentials, to expand their support base and bolster political stability. The recent reforms in both Ethiopia and Egypt could well be the product of such strategies, rather than a genuine commitment to promoting gender equality.  Does this mean that there’s nothing to be gained by including more women in politics? There may be no guarantee it promotes democracy. But there are reasons to believe it might pay off in terms of development.

Impact on development
It’s often said that opening up positions of political power to women will lead to development policies that are more effective and better implemented. Now, we’re starting to see evidence that this is in fact the case.
For example, several recent studies show that improving the representation of women in parliament has a positive impact on the health sector. Political scientists Amanda Clayton and Pär Zetterberg have shown that “quota shocks” – large increases in women’s parliamentary representation after the introduction of a gender quota – tend to be followed by rises in government spending on public health.
Other researchers have shown that an increase in the number of women in parliament is associated with a variety of positive health outcomes. These include improvement  in women’s life expectancy and reductions in both maternal and infant mortality. These positive impacts are notable, and make sense. There’s plenty of debate about exactly what constitutes a “women’s issue”, but there’s good reason to put health in that category. Surveys from sub-Saharan Africa show that both women citizens, and women parliamentarians, are more likely to identify health as a priority issue than their male counterparts.
Moreover, this “gender gap” in priorities is greater between male and female legislators than between male and female citizens. In short, if expanding the political representation of women is to have an effect anywhere, it ought to be in the health sector (and, of course, in women’s rights).

Lingering questions
There is, however, some bad news. It’s still not clear exactly how these positive impacts on development come about. In the case of research showing the link between “quota shocks” and health spending, for instance, there is a correlation – but claims about causal effects remain questionable.

New research is desperately needed that untangles exactly how women in politics make a difference. This is important to help justify the continuing campaign to increase women’s political representation around the world. It will also allow international donors to help women in politics make a positive difference. It’s hard to help someone achieve their goals if you don’t understand the tactics they have at their disposal. With this in mind, an ongoing collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy – supported by the Institute for Global Innovation – has started to ask some important questions about women in African parliaments. These include whether women in parliament have an impact even where they lack “critical mass” and, if so, what strategies and tactics they employ to overcome their lack of numbers.

Our ongoing research suggests that parliamentary institutions – including parliamentary committees and women’s caucuses – play an important role in helping female politicians in Africa to shape development outcomes. At the moment, we’re looking into how women in Malawi used these institutions to push for some important changes to the HIV and AIDS Act.  Generating the knowledge needed will require a lot more research, including research by experts within Africa. Some of this knowledge already exists within the region. Putting African experts at the forefront of new research will help the international community to develop programmes that go beyond “just adding women” to politics. It will also help female politicians in Africa to make a difference against the odds  (The Conversation)

Published in News
Monday, 10 December 2018 16:26

Masisi’s ‘Camp Dubai’ crumbles

As the year is coming to an end, so does the Botswana Democratic Party’s rich ‘Camp Dubai’ faction which is reaching a total fallout, Botswana Guardian has established. Camp Dubai which made history last year during Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) elective congress in Tonota as the most financed, with robust campaigns and strategies, has now reached its sell by date. Key figures in the camp include President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, Secretary General Mpho Balopi, Member of Parliament for Tati East Samson Guma, Specially Elected Councillor and BDP Sub-committee on Communications and International Relations Secretary Roseline Panzirah-Matshome.

Once a force to reckon with, relations soured for the camp after the Tonota congress but things have now escalated. According to information reaching this publication the key figures do not see eye to eye and have been doing everything possible to pin each other down.At the centre of the controversy is power and the need to be close to President Dr Masisi. It is alleged that members have resorted to underhand tactics against each other to be close and trusted ally of Dr Masisi since he became president.

Sources have revealed that preparations for next year’s congress have also come to play as the Camp Dubai players are vying for positions in the central committee. Guma has since indicated that he would be contesting against Balopi for the position of Secretary General while Panzirah-Matshome wants to be Deputy Secretary General. It is not yet clear if current Deputy Secretary General also Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi will defend his seat. Guma was recently denied an opportunity to address a strategic meeting in Kgalagadi region which was abruptly cancelled. Balopi was blamed for the cancellation. He however distanced himself from such developments. Fresh information has revealed that Panzirah-Matshome is being cajoled into not contesting.

Panzirah-Matshome was the top key player in Camp Dubai since the 2015 Mmadinare congress that ushered in Dr Masisi as party chairman. Dr Masisi came into the race at the last minute. It is alleged that if she contests some of the Camp Dubai members might bite the dust as the person who played a role is seeking funding and strategising would now be occupied with contesting for office. Her support for Guma’s bid for Secretary General of the party is said to have also worsened her relationship with Balopi- the man whom she has been working closely with while Dr. Masisi was still BDP Chairman and with whom they ensured that Camp Dubai flourish.

This is said to have sparked a serious tiff between her and Balopi. She is said to be accusing Balopi of sending people to attack her during party gatherings and in some of the party’s social media groups. The duo is said to have long been at loggerheads since Dr. Masisi ascended to the presidency. Impeccable sources have revealed that during the BDP Women’s Wing Conference that was held at Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School this past weekend Dr. Masisi promised to support Panzirah-Matshome.
“The President and the VP had promised her their support. However, what is confusing is that the promise seems not to be genuine. We need women also in the Executive Committee of our Central Committee which is why as women we stand by her. These men within the BDP do not want us to rise they want us to do the dirty work for them,” said a member of the women’s wing committee. The source further revealed that the president later met Panzirah-Matshome for a meeting with the aim of convincing her to make peace with Balopi and others.

Botswana Guardian is in possession of some communications in a BDP WhatsApp Group called Road to 2019 and another called BDP National Youth Wing 2017-2019 where there is an exchange of words between Panzirah-Matshome and other members of the groups. In the groups she is accused of being behind the creation of New Jerusalem Faction and dividing the party. Since the Tonota Congress Camp Dubai has never met for evaluation as agreed, Botswana Guardian can confirm. The camp also failed to host an appreciation party for their members as per the agreement. Some of the members who were in the campaign team still owe P100 000.00 which was pledged as a commitment towards the campaign.

Contacted for comment Panzirah-Matshome confirmed that all is not well between her and Balopi. She also stated that she is aware that Balopi has sent some people within the BDP to attack her. “I know the communication you are talking about. Those young boys who are busy insulting me are associated with Balopi and everyone knows that. But I am not going to crack, you should tell them so. I am contesting and I am not moved come rain or whatever. “I have worked so hard for other people and it is time I prove that even women can lead and we want our male counterparts to appreciate that,” she said. Regarding the support from President and Vice President and their meeting, Panzirah-Matshome said as a member of the Central Committee she would meet from time to time with the leadership of the party and “it is not anything new and something worth sharing with the media.”

For his part Balopi said he is not going to be involved in petty talks. He wondered why he would tell people to attack Panzirah-Matshome. “She should tell you what her problem is. I am not going to lower my stature and integrity to discuss such issues. As the BDP we have structures that deal with issues of concern.“I am not even in those social media platforms. I am bigger than that and I represent a bigger political organisation in the country. I am not for petty talk because I am not petty,” said Balopi. He pointed out that he has been attacked on several occasions about things he knows nothing about and has decided to keep quiet. The secretary general said he would not be drawn into discussing matters with the media while there are proper internal channels that can be used.

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