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BOMU descends into full-scale war

Keletso Thobega

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KICKED OUT: BOMU President Pagson Ntsie

A storm is brewing at Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) following a ruling that Pagson Ntsie is not a legitimate chairperson for the music body. The Registrar of Societies passed the ruling this week.

Arbitration award documents between Phemelo Lesokwane and others as applicants and BOMU as the respondents indicate that the 2017 AGM was not properly constituted as per Article 8.4.1: that the said AGM did not form a quorum and that the election of the current Executive Committee is declared invalid and therefore set aside.The council ruled that an interim committee be set up, chaired by the Patron (Taolo Moshaga) and assisted by three members from the respondents’ side and three members from the applicants’ side, to facilitate preparation for the next elections; and that the interim committee should work on the amendment of the constitution in consultation with BOMU membership for submission at the next AGM.

The award also stipulates that the interim committee is charged with the responsibility of arranging for a properly constituted AGM to be held by the second week of July or second week of August 2019, to elect the new Executive Committee which shall take over from the interim committee. It further states that the interim committee shall, subsequent to the elections, prepare a detailed report and submit it to the Council before end of September 2019, adding that going forward, BOMU should comply with Societies Act and follow its constitution.

Lastly, the council assumed the advisory and arbitration role in order to ensure that both parties are heard. The respondents were given 30 days in which to appeal to the High Court. The arbitration council included chairperson Festina Bakwena as well as Joseph Orebotse, Ogomoditse Matsila, Mosweu Simane, Joseph Dikgomo, Master Matlhaope, Mavis Itseng, Kebonye Moepeng and Felistus Motimedi.

Lesokwane came to The Midweek Sun offices this week and claimed that some executive members of BOMU did not want him because he always questioned the manner in which affairs were conducted. “There were instances where the Constitution was not abided by and there were no meetings from district chapters, among other issues.” Lesokwane further claimed that Ntsie took money from individuals and companies under the BOMU name. “He has brought BOMU into disrepute,” he said. He produced a letter addressed to Ntsie in February 2016, from BOMU, which among others says that Ntsie should recuse himself. Part of the letter reads:

“In view of the significant contributions by yourself towards the association’s activities, we have received unclassified excuses from yourself; the bulk of it came immediately after the just ended 7th annual BOMU awards.” The letter further states: “Already, one lawsuit is pending relating to refund from one supplier and monthly rental cheque awaiting your signature, with more likely to follow as we are busy looking for potential sponsors.”

Lesokwane said that in 2013 he was part of the executive committee but in a previous conversation, Ntsie had told this reporter that Lesokwane was suspended from BOMU for five years, which meant his suspension is set to lapse in 2021. Lesokwane conceded that while he had once been suspended, the BOMU constitution indicated that a member could be suspended for not more than 18 months.

He said in 2015, the then chairperson Phempheretlhe Pheto had written him a letter informing him that his suspension had been lifted. Lesokwane said he was loathed because he often questioned financial management in the organisation. “There was once an incident where Ntsie had travelled to Francistown for presidential awards competitions when he had P20, 000 per diem.” He said he was surprised when workers who had helped were paid with cheques. “I raised this matter with then chairperson Alfredo Mos but instead of calling a meeting I was kicked out. I was surprised to learn that I had been suspended.” Lesokwane said he queried the way BOMU was managed with Registrar of Societies and was advised to write to the arbitration council, which he did.

The case was first heard last December and then early this year, while judgment was handed down yesterday. He said that when legally perusing information on BOMU, he had established that the organisation did not file returns among other shocking revelations. Lesokwane said that all he wanted was for BOMU to be legitimate and that all affairs should be done by the book. “Pagson has a day job at GTC as a lecturer or something like that. He should focus on that and leave BOMU for people who have experience in the music industry,” he said. He added: “I am happy that I have liberated BOMU and the music industry from capture. Most artists did not take BOMU seriously because of the type of management in place.” While he had previously spoken to this reporter about sexual harassment claims levelled against Lesokwane, when contacted for comment regarding the BOMU scandal two hours later, Ntsie suddenly did not pick calls and blue-ticked Whatsapp messages.

He later sent the number of Keotshepile Motseoanageng, also known as Berry Heart, and wrote via Whatsapp: “She is now my publicist on such matters.” Motseoanageng said she would convene a meeting today (Wednesday morning) to share certain documents. When asked what the documents contained she responded: “You will see.” She would not be drawn into commenting further saying: “I will call a meeting tomorrow. I hope you don’t have a cut off time,” she said. Continued efforts to get Ntsie to comment failed as he did not answer calls nor respond to SMSes.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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