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In it to win it

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Chibuya Dabutha

Chibuya Dabutha ready to serve Swaneng ward

After resigning from Botswana Congress Party, the indefatigable Chibuya Dabutha joined the Alliance for Progressive Party. (AP)

Dabutha is now running for a council seat in Swaneng Ward under AP.

Voice Reporter, Portia Mlilo interviewed this hardworking woman about her campaign and preparations for the coming elections.

Q. We are left with a few days before the general elections, how is your campaign going?

The campaign is going well as I had hoped. Anything worth doing in life is never easy, especially if you want to succeed. There are always challenges along the way, many of them unexpected.

Everybody has the capacity within himself or herself to overcome any obstacle because every problem has a solution. I am so proud of my campaign team for facing the challenges that have come our way. We are waiting for the big day. We are winning!

Q. You went ahead to register as an independent candidate during the elections in 2017 in spite of your party BCP backing up the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate Modala Modala of the Botswana National Front (BNF). What were your reasons?


If you recall, before the BCP formerly joined the UDC, there was an agreement that in the event of a bye- election the two parties would support any candidate that was active in the area and who stood the best chance of winning.

When I first found out that there was going to be a bye-election, I expressed my interest in standing and engaged party leaders. I found out from the radio that Modala had been preferred over me and my party had sidelined me.

All of this happened despite the fact that many within the BCP and the Tshimoyapula/Majwanaadipitse communities supported my bid to stand. There are many bad things that happened before and during that period. My standing was to protest the wrongs that were done.

Q. Why did you decide to join the Alliance for Progressives (AP) this time?

After my departure from BCP my team also decided it was time for them to leave. They took the decision to go to AP and it was they who pulled me in. I am glad they did, because I feel very much at home here and getting proper support from party leadership.

Q. You lost in the bye-elections in 2017, how you think you will fare in the coming general elections?

I didn’t lose, I won! I stood only as a matter of principle and many felt my protest. This time it is different. This time, I am in it to win it.

This time I have a party that not only supports me, but also wants me to win. I have done all I can to secure this win that is duly coming to me. I must say that it will not be my win.

It will be the people of Swaneng Ward who will win. We will have a new Swaneng.

Q. There are only 9 women running for parliament, what could be the reason for that?

I think you can agree that more should be done to change this scenario. That can only happen if we get to the core of what is causing this. You will find that there are many areas where women are underrepresented.

This is a sad thing because there are so many capable women out there and the entire world can benefit a lot from their brilliant minds. One of the reasons is that we have been going about empowerment the wrong way.

The common approach is to try to empower women.

So far the results of this approach are unsatisfactory. What we need to do is to start helping women empower themselves. There is a big difference between the two approaches.

Q. What are your plans for Swaneng ward, what are some of your top priorities?

Swaneng Ward is in two parts. The part within Serowe and the other that consists of the ploughing fields and cattle posts outside of Serowe. Outside of Serowe, access to water is difficult for many people. Right now, all of the dams are dry.

Improving access to safe drinking water is one of my top priorities. Another is if people were given what they need to empower themselves economically, unemployment would be only a figment of our worst nightmares.

Unfortunately people in power lack the vision to see this wealth of potential and to help it manifests itself in reality.

The main challenges are lack of access to safe drinking water, high unemployment and lack of medication at the hospital and those are some of the major priorities that I would tackle right away.

Good luck and all the best

Thanks.

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Politics

HE’s trip raises temperatures

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HE's trip raises temperatures

On Tuesday morning, President Mokgweetsi Masisi flew to Harare for an Extraordinary Summit of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

HE was invited by the current SADC Chairperson, Emmerson Mnangagwa, with the Zambian and Mozambique Presidents, Edgar Lungu and Filipe Nyusi also in attendance.

According to Office of the President, it was decided that a face-to-face meeting was necessary considering the sensitivity of the issues up for discussion.

However, this did not go down well with many Batswana, who labeled the trip unnecessary and accused Masisi of failing to lead by example.

Having already been quarantined twice, although it only lasted a day, the Zimbabwe trip means Masisi is now set for a third 14-day stint in quarantine.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA talked to various leaders and political analysts to get their take on Masisi’s foreign escapades.

HE's trip raises temperatures
Moeti Mohwasa – UDC Head of Communications

While the UDC acknowledges and appreciates the importance of international cooperation, it is disturbed by the President’s inability to balance that with the threat that international travel poses to the nation’s health and in particular the outbreak and control of Covid-19. Our President currently ranks high amongst the leaders who have breached or disregarded the rules they have set for their people!

It is unfortunate that our leader prefers to always hide in quarantine at a time when we need his visibility in the fight against Coronavirus.

In the light of the current situation it would have been prudent for President Masisi to participate through Zoom or Skype.

This would have sent a strong message about his full commitment to the fight against the virus.

We need leaders who don’t just say ‘do as I say’ but also lead by example.

What Masisi is saying to the nation is that you can just breach the Covid-19 regulation as you wish as long as you are prepared to be subjected to 14-day quarantine. This is wrong.

HE's trip raises temperatures
Biggie Butale – BPF President


These Presidential trips to Corona-challenged countries in the middle of a crisis seem to indicate a President with mixed priorities.

We have lost our CEO for 42-days due to him being unnecessarily quarantined during Botswana’s greatest ever hour of need.

I wonder what would have happened if we could have been without the Director of Health for this long although the President is a higher decision maker.

Maybe his presence or absence is immaterial?

Perhaps the question to ask is why the President feels it absolutely urgent to attend meetings that are not life-and-death matters whilst leaving life-and-death matters in his own backyard?

Could it be we have the absolutely wrong person as CEO who does not understand that we as a country might be entering an apocalyptic period of our existence?

Could it be that he is running away from the pressure? Could it be that he is just overwhelmed?

Kebapetse Lotshwao – Political Analyst
Ideally, the President should not be going to Zimbabwe.

However, the realities on the ground dictate that he goes.

The first reality is the fact that Botswana is the incoming chair of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

As incoming chair, Botswana has to work closely with the current and previous chairs.

Secondly, there are threats to peace and stability in the region, particularly in Mozambique and Lesotho.

These threats have to be resolved, and by their sensitive nature may require face-to-face discussion to avoid infiltration.

HE's trip raises temperatures
Tobokani Rari – BOFEPUSU Secretary General


Truly speaking leaders should lead by example.

The standards set cannot be enforced for the ordinary citizens to the exception of those in positions of power; that would be terrible as this would mean they are some above the law.

Honestly I tried to listen to the reasons advanced by Press Secretary to the President, Batlhalefi Leagajang to justify the President’s need to physically attend the Zimbabwe meeting, but I could not be convinced.

Elsewhere in Africa, South Africa to be specific, and President Ramaphosa suspended a Minister for breaking the Covid Protocol – that shows exemplary leadership!

HE's trip raises temperatures
Phenyo Butale – AP Secretary General


Governments all over the world have stopped movements to control the Coronavirus pandemic.

It would appear the government of Botswana has only done this in writing, as in practice they do the opposite.

Where pressing matters are/were to be discussed we have seen Heads of State using teleconferencing to conduct their meetings.

For instance, The East African Community has held several teleconference meetings about Covid-19 and other issues of concern.

The continental body, African Union (AU) has also been holding meetings and conducting its business, through teleconferencing facilities.

Just two weeks ago, President Masisi participated in a meeting of SADC leaders held via teleconference.

Further afield, the 46th G7 summit, which was scheduled to be held next month in Camp David, United States, will now be conducted by video conference.

It is worrisome that the President does not learn even from such a growing trend among world leaders and the global community.

We have in the recent past, communicated our displeasure on the President’s conduct of flouting with impunity the Covid-19 rules and regulations.

This continued violation of the regulations puts a strain on the efforts of officers charged with enforcing them.

Up to today, no one, not even the President himself, can adequately account for the Namibia trip save to say ‘it was for a damn good reason’.

For a Government that parrots 4IR [Fourth Industrial Revolution] at any given opportunity this is an embarrassing form of doublespeak.

We are concerned about the government’s growing reputation of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite.

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Politics

Don’t abuse COVID-19 fund

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Don't abuse COVID-19 fund

Keorapetse calls for independent COVID-19 relief fund management

Member of Parliament for Selibe-Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse has called for the establishment of an Independent body to oversee the COVID -19 Relief Fund.

When debating the Emergency Powers (COVID -19) (Amendment) (n0.4) Regulations 2020, in parliament on Wednesday, Keorapetse recommended for government to establish an independent body to administer the COVID-19 fund instead of having the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka as its overseer.

In his address during the Emergency Parliamentary meeting at Boipuso hall, Keorapetse said that the current system was likely to create room for corruption and abuse of the fund.

“My worry is that corruption, fiscal and revenue crimes, mismanagement, unethical governance are most likely to thrive under the current secretive environment,” Keorapetse said.

The MP warned that COVID-19 should not be used as an excuse to avoid transparency and accountability and worse, to commit acts of graft.

“We can’t afford to shelve democracy, especially the important oversight role of Parliament. We are worried about certain companies and procurements that raise suspicions,” he said.

The Umbrella for Democratic Change MP said that there is need for proper governance and accountability structures on Covid-19 Fund citing Malawi where a retired Judge has been made Chairperson of the Fund, and South Africa where an independent Board has been appointed to manage the fund as examples to emulate.

“Here the Executive dominates everything, the Fund here is absolutely controlled by Government and it is not good for transparency. We need to know why certain companies are preferred over others. We want to know what is so special about them to be given direct appointments for tenders,” he concluded.

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