With the right techniques and practice, any woman can achieve perfectly defined eye brows says Refilwe Jacob, owner of local company, Filwe Complete Make-up. Jacob was speaking on the sidelines of the just-ended Women’s Etiquette Brunch. The annual event was held on Saturday at the Grand Palm Hotel.
Her mission right now, is to teach women across the country, these techniques so that they become self-taught make-up artists. Her observation is that all women wish to learn and master how to do their own make-up, and she hopes that with her services they can achieve that goal.
One of the things that women need to understand, she says is that eyebrows, when they are applied correctly, can change your face and even your look. She adds that eye brows are not identical twins, and that they should be treated differently when it comes to application.
“I want to share with women the right techniques, so that they can become experts,” says Jacob. She reminds women that there is make-up for different times of the day- evening, and day. Jacob also notes that women must also remember that make-up is used to enhance one’s beauty, boost confidence and also give one a glow. “When one is wearing make-up, their faces have that radiance that can be seen a mile away,” she says.
She says that one of the things that she picked when it comes to make-up is that eyebrows are a major problem hence she has embarked on a journey to teach others the right techniques of doing their eye brows. It is on this backdrop that she has embarked on a journey to share and teach women the art of crafting their eyebrows through Perfectly Defined Eye Brows Masterclasses.
Jacob’s, Make-up artist travels all over the country and goes where her services are needed. In the coming weeks, she will share her knowledge with audiences in Gaborone, Maun, and Palapye where she will be presenting her Masterclasses. Her campaign will begin in Palapye (Mogonono Hotel) on October 6th, Gaborone (Bathopele Lodge) on October 27th, Francistown (The Nest Lodge) on November 3rd, and Maun (Nhabe Museum) on December 1st.
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.
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.
The Mayor of Francistown Sylvia Muzila says that the city of Francistown is continuing with its poverty eradication and employment creation programmes.
Addressing a full council meeting Monday, Muzila said that poverty eradication efforts have improved a number of lives adding that, more effort needs to be done to uplift more lives in Francistown. Thus far, fifty (50) applications for the Youth Grant have been received, she said.
“On the marketing part, expositions are being held for the Youth and Women to showcase their products. One such exposition was the Poverty Eradication Exposition which was held on 27 July 2017 under the theme: ‘Eradicating Poverty And Empowering Of Beneficiaries To Change Perception,’ she said.
She said the main objective was to expose marketing opportunities and enable beneficiaries to network and share ideas. Muzila said that in an endeavour to assist women, another exposition, with participants coming from places such as Serowe, Selibe Phikwe, Francistown, Kasane and Maun, will be held from the 18th to 24 September for beneficiaries to come under one roof to showcase their products, learn from one another, share skills, experiences and ideas as well as network with each other.
“The theme for the event is, Be Bold For Change; Connecting Women To Greater Markets,” revealed Muzila who proceeded to explain that the theme is in line with the International Women’s Day as it seeks to implore women entrepreneurs to change their mindset in the way they operate their businesses.
Muzila also told Council that, in a show of commitment to the empowerment of women and gender equality through gender responsive legislation and policies, government has signed the Revised Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender Development. Muzila appealed to her colleagues to mainstream gender issues, “We all have a role to play in addressing these issues and it is for this reason that I urge you to attend the coming exposition in large numbers,” she urged.
The Mayor also appealed to the community of Francistown to engage in sustainable agricultural initiatives despite limited land for agricultural purposes in the city and its surroundings. “We do have the 139 hectares farm of this Council by the Mambo Treatment Plant that could be outsourced to the private sector for job creation.
“We do also have the 18 hectares at Donga that can be designated for agricultural initiatives and other pockets of agricultural land in the city. Through the initiatives from the community and your own collective decisions, funding from the Constituency Programme can be utilised,’’ explained the Mayor.
She noted that, as a way of eradicating poverty everywhere, there is a need to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by way of achieving equal access for all men and women to affordable quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university training.
“If we focus on attaining this goal, we will substantially increase the number of youths and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship. More importantly, we also need to build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environment for all,” said Muzila.
She said that out of 20 schools in Francistown, seven (7) are offering reception classes. The current enrolment stands at 329 learners which number is constituted by 144 boys and 185 girls. Muzila explained that, programmes such as the Youth Development Fund, Poverty Eradication, Gender Affairs Grant and Local Economic Development Programme, are geared towards the creation of employment.
“The availability of institutions such as the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), the Citizen Entrepreneurial Agency (CEDA), Business Botswana and many others also have their stake towards employment creation,” said Muzila.
One of the challenges facing c as it celebrates its 120 years anniversary this year is environmental pollution particularly from scrap metal, broken glass, builders’ rubble and plastic bags.
Other waste includes hazardous waste from factories, medical waste, discarded batteries and bottles. There is also the problem of open defecation and urination in the city. All this blights the slogans of hope such as the City of Gold or the City Of All Things Precious that the city has been called by.
Francistwn City Council (FCC) needs to invest much more money both on public education and a clean-up campaign if it is to deserve the slogans. According to Shashidhar Vinodhkumar of the Linkoping University in Sweden, solid dumping of waste and widespread littering has become a serious problem in the country in general.
Compounding the problem is that in Botswana, there is no proper waste management despite the existence of the Waste Management Act. The academic notes that in Botswana, waste is dumped into landfills without any recycling.
Lack of public awareness is one of the main problems with the country’s waste management programme. Vinodhkumar observes that, infrequent collection of waste, an improper waste management plan without recycling stations, the absence of public-private partnership between government and the private sector, all contribute to the failure to defeat the menace of littering in Francistown.
He also faults lack of public awareness as a major cause for indiscriminate littering. Not only is littering unsightly, it also has economic implications for the concerned place. Littering chases away investors and tourists both who want places that are clean, fresh and healthy to do business and visit.
Through its Vision 2022, Francistown wants to be an economic hub by 2022. The Managing Director of Sangwenu Environmental Consultancy, Unangoni Mangole, shares some of Vinodhkumar’s views on the flaws in waste management efforts of the country. “Lack of public education is a serious problem and we will not go anywhere until we get over this deficiency,” said Mangole.
Although the law exists, there is a need for a change of mindset among the people. “People must not expect government to address this problem alone. There is this dependency syndrome where people expect government to even buy them litter bins. Our environment is finite hence the need for us to look after it,” explained Mangole adding that legislation is fine.
“It is important for us as individuals to understand the threat posed to our lives by environmental degradation and pollution,” said Mangole. He called for the involvement of stakeholders such as chiefs in the fight against environmental degradation. He says part of the solution to the menace of environmental degradation is to avoid the burning of litter.
“There is no need to burn biodegradable material such as grass or twigs for example in the name of cleaning the environment because, if you leave those items alone long enough, they will naturally be eaten by termites and disappear. There is no need to burn because that pollutes the environment,” said Mangole.
Mangole observed that, the private sector is also part of the problem when they should be part of the solution. “It is good that they recycle waste oil but some are guilty of spilling oil all over. We need as a country to improve our disposal system,” advised Mangole. He said there is very little that is happening in the way of recycling in Botswana.
“We also need to move away from plastic bags. We should avoid using them in the first place. They have done away with them in countries such as Uganda and the cities there are very cleaner. Filthy countries do not attract investment,” observed Mangole who thinks that, as part of education, stakeholders should invest more in competitions for cleanliness.
Just like indiscriminate dumping of waste, open defecation and urination are a problem in Francistown. For many people, it is a way of life to relieve oneself even in the back alleys of the mall which alleys have been turned into outdoor toilet streets. When asked why he thought people dropped their pants without thinking twice to bath walls with urine even a stone’s throw away from onlookers, a young man accused FCC of not providing the city with enough public toilets.
“The few that are available are too expensive at P2.00 for somebody like me who is unemployed,” he said anonymously. Toilets are an economic issue. “Those with power need public restrooms less and those with less power need them more.” The shortage of public toilets means that, taxi-men and women as well as vendors, visitors have got no choice but to urinate in public.
Francistown, whose traditional name is Nyangabgwe, has seen it all.
From a backward village populated by Kalanga gold diggers until 1871 to a white mining community before transforming into a bustling town and then being declared a city in 1997 and now complete with a spaghetti interchange, Francistown has seen it all.
Variously called Capital of the North, it is at the confluence of the Tati and Ntshe Rivers, and only 90km from the Botswana-Zimbabwe border to the north and about 500km from Gaborone.
Named after a gold-digger, Daniel Francis, himself one of the original directors of the Tati Company, Francistown holds the distinction of having a colonial name. The town was founded in 1897; the same year that Cecil John Rhodes’ rail-road, the Cape-to-Cairo railway line reached Monarch.
But even before the discovery of diamonds in 1868, which made Francistown the epicentre of Southern Africa’s first gold rush, there had been human settlement and economic activity in the area including mining by the locals. Touted as the City of All Things Precious or, the City Of Gold, Francistown connects Botswana to Zimbabwe, through the A1 road which has regrettably, not been busy due to the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy.
The Capital of the North or Toropo as it is also called connects Botswana to countries in Central Africa such as Zambia, Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through the Francistown-Kazungula road. This road is a critical artery to the economic well-being of this country as it facilitates the transportation of, among other things, salt from Sua Town to the central African countries, bricks from South Africa to Zambia as well as copper concentrates from the Zambian Copperbelt to South Africa.
The economic importance of Francistown to this country and to others dates even as far back as the discovery of gold in South Africa. As a result of the need for cheap labour in the South African gold mines, Francistown became the centre for the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WENELA), an agency that recruited migrant labourers for the gold mines in South Africa.
The WENELA “barracks” in Francistown gave temporary accommodation to recruits from Angola, Namibia, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Nyasaland (Malawi) and Tanganyika (Tanzania) on their way to and from South Africa. The miners spent a considerable amount of their earnings in the local shops. In his book, Under Two Flags in Africa, George Winstanley, who worked in Francistown as a cadet district officer in 1954, says that during his time, Francistown consisted of only one street, parallel to the railway station and a few houses, mainly to the east of the railway line housing the white colonial administrators.
There was then only a single row of shops owned mainly by Europeans and Indians. Now, Chinese own most of the retail shops. Racial discrimination defined Francistown during the colonial era as there were certain areas such as the Tati Hotel, the Grand Hotel and the Francistown Club, which were the preserve of the Whites only.
There is no doubt that 120 years after its founding, the town, which was declared a city in 1997 has transformed greatly. In the first instance, Botswana is an independent country now therefore obviating the absence of white colonial administrators and their racist orientation. With three constituencies and 19 political wards, the population of Francistown has grown in leaps and bounds.
During the 1960s, Francistown became the crucible of opposition politics, not only in Botswana but in Southern Africa as a whole. The nationalist Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), formed in 1960 on the platform of socialism and pan-Africanism, came into confrontation with the settler regime over the government’s racial practices.
The Tati Company, a prospecting company attracted the attention of the BPP for owning all the land in Francistown, while the people were overcrowded due to shortage of land. Further, this company, which ran a beer hall, forbade, with the support of the colonial administration, Africans from brewing and selling beer to avoid competition. Industrial strikes and boycotts became the order of the day as the BPP demanded even-handedness and racial equality.
The result was the imprisonment of several BPP activists and their leaders. The history of Francistown is intertwined with the history of the liberation struggle of Southern Africa. Many nationalist leaders from the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), South African National Congress (ANC), Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO), either used Francistown as a transit point on exile or as a rendezvous to consult with their comrades.
Among the most notable were former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, former President of Namibia, Sam Nujoma, a government minister in Namibia, Herman Toivo Ja Toivo, former government minister in Zimbabwe, Dumiso Dabengwa, and the late John Mabunda of FRELIMO, Mozambique.
Preaching the politics of liberation, these freedom fighters found willing hosts in the BPP leadership and individuals such as Meshack Mathumo, a qualified guerrilla who had trained in Algeria under the auspices of the Zimbabwe African Peoples’ Union (ZAPU) and became its clandestine representative in Botswana.
Like the other cities in the so-called developing world, Francistown is reaping the seeds of misdirected development policies, inappropriate planning and neglect especially by the capitalistic colonial administrators who had no regard for possible future expansion. During the colonial era, the colonialists, aware that they were not going to stay forever, created towns for their short-term convenience wary not to invest a lot of money in their development.
irector of the UN Human Settlements Programme Ann Tibaijuka, is quoted in the 2010 Africa Report blaming African leaders for continuing to use planning laws inherited from the colonial masters. She feels that African governments should come up with policies whose objective would be to reduce urban drift by improving the living conditions in the rural areas, supporting the informal sector by protecting it from police harassment and making available a credit facility to the informal sector.
Above all, Tibaijuka advocates for the devolution of powers to the councils so that they have the autonomy to raise funds and even approve projects themselves since they are, “on the ground.”
African cities, due to the neglected agricultural and rural development, are said to be growing at an alarming rate of 2.5 percent annually. This is because towns are regarded as areas of opportunity where the underemployed and unemployed migrate for economic opportunities. The biggest challenge for every African government is to minimise slums, which are the most visible dimensions of poverty in the cities.
Within this context, the people of Francistown still begrudge the powers that be for not making Francistown the headquarters of Botswana Railways (BR). They feel short-changed that the second university was not built here either.
The construction of the Francistown stadium, the expansion of the existing airport and the upgrading of infrastructure at Gerald Estates; the upgrading of the city’s road infrastructure complete with the Spaghetti Interchange, have, hopefully served as a kind of reparation for the losses.
Francistown is home to many government departments as well as big private companies that, no doubt offer employment and educational opportunities. Tertiary institutions as well as primary and secondary schools, hospitals, clinics, reliable transportation also offer sufficient attraction to somebody looking for means of a better life.
Despite the glamour offered by the bright lights of Francistown, the economy is not growing fast enough to cope with the demand for employment. Matters have not been helped by the closure of the Tati Nickel and surrounding mines.The people of Francistown have been agitating for the building of a district hospital in Francistown arguing that the Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital is not a substitute.
Clinics, schools and other social institutions are not expanding fast enough to cope with the demand either. In addition, there is the problem of inadequate housing, shortage of serviced land, environmental pollution, crime and juvenile delinquency. Motorists continue to be haunted by potholes. Taxi men and bus owners are clamouring for a spacious taxi and bus rank while vendors are demanding a market place where they can sell their goods in a decent environment.
The youth are crying for recreational facilities. The list is endless.
The burning issue of soft points versus hard points continues to plague local football. The latest episode where soft points are causing controversy includes the National First Division North (NFD)league where a rescheduled match between Francistown based Great North Tigers (GNT) and Chobe United is expected to be played at Nata primary school to decide which of the two teams relegates this Saturday.
The Francistown based GNT finished the log in position 9th, while Kasane based Chobe finished in position 6. GNT accumulated 27 points while Chobe acquired 30 points from 22 matches.
Chobe gained points after relegated Selibe Phikwe based Satmos FC failed to honour one of their fixtures. This week, NFD chairman Mpezeni Sambandawa confirmed that the league affiliates agreed at their Annual General Assembly to fixture the match between the two clubs. The NFD north league committee decided to fixture the game for this weekend. However, Sambandawa confirmed that the two clubs would play at a neutral venue soon.
“The law says a team cannot be disadvantaged by the other to win the league or get relegated. In this regard GNT is disadvantaged by Chobe,” explained Sambandawa. Article 5.3 of BFA play rules say, “Where teams gain goals and points through forfeiture by others, and consequently qualify for a league championship, promotion to a high league, or avoid relegation, and such gain has displaced other teams which would otherwise have qualified, or avoided relegation, the concerned teams shall have play offs ”.
FND north Chairman said their league went well, except for the match between Sua Flamingo and Morupule where supporters of the host team (Sua) invaded the pitch.
The club is yet to be charged formally after police and league investigations have been completed. The first division north welcomed Nico United; Mahalapye United Hotspurs and Green Lovers from BPL premiership.
The three relegated clubs push the league to create a space and welcome new entrants from the promotional play offs. The league welcomes Calendar stars from Francistown and Maphatshwa from Serowe, while Maun Tigers, Tasc and Satmos relegated to respective regional leagues.
Ihave never journeyed to the second city of Botswana, Francistown in all my years as a scribe and outside working hours. It still beats me why I had never made a trip to Francistown, not that I have anything against the city.
This is despite that I have travelled to almost all major towns and villages of Botswana, including Kasane, Maun, Ghanzi, Charles Hill, Tsabong, Orapa, Serowe, Bobobong, to mention a few and the length and breadth of the Southern part of the country. Over the years, I have heard a lot of stories about Blue Jacket Street, Manaka, and most recently the hilarious stories about the famous Spaghetti development now referred to as Macaroni.
Growing up, I remember how we used to hear stories about how employers in Francistown took advertising to a whole new meaning. If there was an opening in their company, the employer would allegedly write that there is no vacancy in Setswana, and then write underneath in Kalanga that there was an opening. I am yet to find proof to this allegation.
Anyway, this past week, I finally had the opportunity to travel beyond Serule, and see the other side of Botswana. My husband and I were attending a wedding in Tutume, and this was the perfect opportunity to finally see or pass through Francistown. The closest that I came to seeing Francistown was back in 2008, when we were passing through from Kasane to Tuli on a small aircraft, and we stopped to refuel at the Francistown Airport.
Our initial plan was that we would use Botswana Railways passenger train, which would have been ideal as we both would finally experience BR Express. But the plan changed and we were convinced to use a bus. But by mid-afternoon on Friday, it was crystal clear that we would not be able to take a bus. We then went back to our initial plan, and hurriedly bought our tickets at 1900HRS that evening.
We had wanted to get a good night rest in First Class, but since we bought our tickets that late, we had to settle for Business Class that costs P146 from Gaborone to Francistown. By 2045, we were at the Station ready to board the train. The train departed right on schedule at 21:25HRS and was scheduled to arrive in Francistown at 06:11HRS on Saturday.
Minutes after we settled onto our seats, different aromas of food whiffed through our coach, ranging from fried chickens, pizzas, and everything that you can think of. Having spent my tertiary years travelling between Gaborone and Port Elizabeth, the aroma took me back to those years when one would have packed an entire week’s supply of food as if we were going to the moon.
The first couple of hours on the train were not so pleasing for ours truly, and it took some getting used to before I could settle in and forget the irritating sounds that the train was making on the rail tracks.
But it soon emerged that our fellow travellers, two young men, seated behind us, had had one too many and were going to be a nuisance throughout the journey. The duo was holding on to a 2litre bottle of Tropika juice for dear life, and it became crystal clear halfway through the journey that this bottle was what was keeping them all hyper.
Singing and calling friends at odd hours, and not minding the volume of their voices, it took a lot of guts not to strangle one of them especially as I was having a difficult time sleeping. Oh, and I almost forgot my biggest fear, travelling from one section to the next of the train and having to look at the part where the coaches connect was a terrifying experience.
Terrified I almost resolved that I would not use the bathroom until we arrived in Francistown, but luckily, I had not seen a toilet at the end of our coach saving me the terror of crossing over to the next section. After passing Palapye, the crew changed. We were now continuing the rest of the journey with the crew from the Francistown train, while the ones who came with us were now heading back to Gaborone on the Francistown train.
Promptly at 06:00HRS we arrived in the city nicknamed Turopo ya Muka, and were soon on our way to Tutume. Based on my first experience of BR Express, I think in future, I would use them again and this time around, I plan to see the city and familiarise myself with its landmarks. What I loved most was the fact that BR Express is convenient and that the prices are friendly to one’s pocket.
My one gripe that I have with the staff who were selling us the tickets was that we were promised that the seats in Business Class were reclining seats, only to learn once we were seated that there is nothing like that, which made sleeping impossible.
‘BDP should find somebody else since I have lost interest in political office’
The Chairperson of Botswana National Sports Commission Solly Reikeletseng who was tipped to represent Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in Francistown South constituency in the next general election has informed this publication that he has lost interest in political office citing personal reasons.
Reikeletseng was recruited by BDP to help capture the constituency from Wynter Mmolotsi of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Asked about this, Reikeletseng said that he is not afraid of the truth and disclosed that he was once approached by some BDP big guns to represent them in the 2019 general election.
“Seriously speaking when I was initially approached by some BDP bigwigs, I was seriously interested as I went on to accept the offer. I am one person who likes to tell the truth. I have reconsidered their offer and as things stand, I have lost interest in political office for now and BDP should find a better candidate to represent them in Francistown South. Concerning the 2019 general election, I am out of the race, but I cannot rule out the possibility of rejoining politics in the future,” he said.
When pressed to give reasons as to why he has suddenly decided to withdraw from the race before BDP’s primary elections, Reikeletseng declined to say anything save that his reasons are purely personal. He withdraws from Francistown South BDP Parliamentary race at a time when other candidates eyeing the constituency are engaged in vigorous unsanctioned campaigns to snatch the constituency from UDC.
The incumbent Mmolotsi representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under the UDC brought down Francistown City Mayor Sylvia Muzila with a thud in the past general election as he garnered 5261 votes against Muzila’s 3289. Botswana Congress Party (BCP) candidate Vain Mamela garnered 1511 votes.
With BCP in the UDC, it will certainly be a steep climb for the BDP candidate to wrestle the constituency, so it seems.
The Central Police Station in Francistown is investigating a case in which a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) elective congress for the Francistown region degenerated into a violent affair over the legitimacy of certain delegates.
The congress was held at Donga Junior Secondary School last Saturday.“The incident took place at about 4 pm. We should have started at 2 pm but could not because there was this lengthy argument over delegates from a ward in Monarch. One of the BDP members, Otto Masogo protested the legitimacy of delegates from Monarch north ward in the Monarch township,” said a source who witnessed the fight which took place inside the hall where the delegates congregated.
“Masogo stays in the ward and was concerned that no ward meeting had been called in accordance with the constitution to choose delegates to the congress,” said the source who indicated that, so bad was the situation that the secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane, who was in town, had to be called into the hall. By then, Masogo had already called the police and accompanied them to the station to lodge his assault case. When approached, a reluctant Masogo could only confirm that he was assaulted by a “group of boys who stay in Monarch,” saying he felt constrained to say much before the matter was reported to the relevant party structures.
Eyewitnesses say the group of boys are close to the area Member of Parliament (MP), Ignatius Moswaane and are linked to the group that beat up another senoir BDP activist, Ford Moiteela last year. For his part, Moswaane claimed that he did not witness any fight. “I only witnessed Masogo being escorted out of the hall because he was drunk and disorderly. As far as I am concerned, the party should charge him with disrupting the congress. He had no business being there in the first place because he was neither a delegate nor an observer,” said Moswaane adding that he was not aware that Masogo had been assaulted.
Neither is he in a position to identify those he saw assisting Masogo leave the hall. Regional chairman Baemedi Medupe, said that the matter had not yet been reported to his committee. Ntuane was not available for comment as his phone was off air at presstime. A ceratin Ketsile Matota, also claimed that the same group assaulted him after he had gone to Donga secondary school after learning about what had happend to Masogo.
“Masogo is a friend of mine. After hearing that he had been beaten, I went to Donga secondary school to check on him only for somebody I hardly knew attacked me,” said Matota who added that one of his ears and one of my eyes have been injured. Matota, who knows his assailant only as Robert, said he reported the matter to the police on Sunday. Station Commander, Superintendent Lebalang Maniki confirmed that his office had received Masogo’s complaint. “We are still investigating the matter and have neither charged nor arrested anybody as yet,” he said.
Francistown West Member of Parliament Ignatius Moswaane and his Francistown East counterpart, Honest Buti Billy allegedly connived over the weekend at the ruling party’s regional congress to foil James Kgalajwe’s ambitions to get to parliament.
Just before the weekend regional congress, a BDP insider informed Northern Extra that the former Mayor, Kgalajwe was flexing his muscles to challenge Billy in Francistown East, hence his decision to contest for the Francistown regional chairmanship as a stepping stone to parliament.
Although Kgalajwe refuted the allegations, Billy will not leave anything to chance and has allegedly formed an alliance with Moswaane to frustrate Kgalajwe’s ambitions. Asked about the recent entente, Moswaane admitted having formed an alliance with Francistown East MP to foil Kgalajwe who is aligned to Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s camp ahead of the July BDP congress.
Moswaane pointed out that Kgalajwe and his team have long been tested hence their decision to join forces and vote for a youthful team which has never been tested. “I can confirm to you that I am with Billy in the Nonofo Molefhi camp and there was no way we were going to give the Kgalajwe team any chance at all. We decided to give Badumetse Medupi and Douglas Letsholathebe a green light to represent us at the BDP July congress. We are fighting for the integrity of BDP and no one is going to stop us in our ambition to vote for our chairman and president of choice,” Moswaane said.
Francistown East legislator said that the weekend BDP congress had nothing to do with Kgalajwe as he has long decided to team up with Moswaane before Kgalajwe’s ambitions to challenge him in the next general elections were known. He said if Kgalajwe is a member of the Masisi faction, there was no way Francistown was going to endorse him as the whole region unanimously agreed to shift their weight behind Molefhi.
“It’s all about the integrity of BDP not about Kgalajwe becoming a Member of Parliament. If he harbours such ambitions, he should wait for the right time rather than try to use party positions to win a vote. Under every democratic rule, people are free to contest for their positions of interest, hence there is nothing wrong for Kgalajwe to have a dream of representing Batswana at Parliament level,” Billy said.