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HYPOCRITE DOMI MPs

Keikantse Lesemela

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Parliament has approved the motion to repeal the Electoral Amendment Bill, which was passed in 2016 to introduce the use of electronic voting machines in Botswana and abolish supplementary voter registration.

In August last year, the Office of The President issued a statement that since the Electoral (Amendment) Act of 2016 is not in operation, the 2019 elections will be conducted in accordance with the Electoral Act [Cap. 02:09], which does not provide for the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs,) nor prohibits supplementary registration. Presenting the Bill on Thursday, Member of Parliament for Ramotswa Samuel Rantuana said position of the law as introduced by the electoral amendment of 2016 is undesirable and should not be allowed.

“In fact there is a real danger that if we as parliament do not take this necessary step to remove this law, the executive can easily and lawfully really sneak up on us and commence this law without giving parliament the opportunity to revisit it,” said Rantuana. He said there are no compelling reasons why Botswana with its small population must resort to electronic gadgets to run elections especially that there is a common feeling and understanding across the political divide that this piece of legislation is not good for democracy of the country.

“It is not possible for the public or individual voters to check the trustworthiness of the software installed in each machine. My criticism of this machine is the danger associated with possible manipulation. “Lately even the Germany who actually are very advanced in terms of technology have in fact abolished the use of electronic voting machines,” said Rantuana.

President Dr Mokgwetsi Masisi said the government supports this motion but for entirely different reasons as stated by MP Rantuana for the sake of transparency and democracy.  “We as the government, including but sometimes led by the opposition, badly wanted the EVMs. But what is lacking from our colleagues from the opposition is honesty and transparency. “There is nothing wrong with changing your mind but let it be for true reasons. The opposition was the chief marketer of these machines,” said Dr Masisi.

He said the machines have been used reliably and successfully and Botswana could have been the first to use the machines but the plan changed after several meetings and concerns with the opposition parties. “We bolted on the way and Namibia took it upon themselves and the efficiencies were addressed including speed and accuracy. Any issue to do with literacy was addressed, this is a customized machine,” he said.

Alliance for Progressives (AP) Vice President, Wynter Mmolotsi said most MPs in the ruling party are dishonest because they agreed with the decision to use the EVMs and now they are all reversing it. “I want the President to see and understand that his MPs can be hypocrites. I do not want to see this situation whereby we make laws simply because we want to please the leader not considering the interests of the citizens,” said Mmolotsi.

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BRING IT ON Ignatius Moswaane ready to serve Francistown West again

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READY TO LEAD AGAIN: Francistown West MP Ignatius Moswaane

Ignatius Moswaane is a former Francistown City Mayor and he served as Monarch Councillor until he took over the reigns as Francistown West constituency in 2014. The constituency had been in the hands of the late Tshelang Masisi before Moswaane took over.

Now the outspoken MP is ready to defend it.
He lists the construction of an additional secondary school at Gerald Estate, the undertaking of a P36 million streetlights project and construction of a road network at Monarch among some of his achievements both as Councillor and later MP.

“The peripheral servicing of the planned Central Business District (CBD) at Gerald Estate has been completed.  “Over and above that we have used the P10 million community development money from government to build houses, some of which we are renting out to public servants.“We have divided the constituency into three (3) clusters and each will have a multi-purpose recreational hall,” said the Botswana Democratic (BDP) Member of Parliament (MP).

He added that Gerald Estates and Phase 6 in Monarch will soon have a local center each owned by the VDC which will lease the shopping area to business. Moswaane initiated Monarch Development Centre to help the youth access government economic projects by, among other things, doing business plans for them for free. His next phase is to push for industrialisation of Francistown by using local resources. “Besides, Francistown must become an industrial hub for the region where, instead of SADC countries going all the way to Johannesburg and Durban to collect their cargo, the cargo is brought to the Francistown airport from their source be it Asia, or where ever by plane for the owner to collect the cargo here.

Our airport is under-utilised at the moment,” he noted. Another way of creating employment is for government to increase its efforts of using ISPAAD to help small scale farmers next to Francistown to grow fruits and vegetables to the extent that we do not import anything. Moswaane regrets government’s slow pace on allocating plots at Gerald Estates. “Since 2012 some 2500 plots have been serviced yet a lot of people from as far back as 1990s are on the waiting list because government is yet to allocate the plots.

The Minister had promised that the process would commence in December last year but nothing has thus far happened. If elected, I will follow up on the matter,” pledged the MP. He is also of the view that more resources should be invested in Nyangabgwe to make it a health facility of choice. “It should be turned into a state of the art hospital where special medical care is provided to attract even people from outside the country. The residents of Francistown need a district hospital,” he observed.

If he returns to parliament, Moswaane will move that the Youth Development Fund (YDF) be increased from P120million to P1billion and the Gender Economic Empowerment Fund from P50 million to P1 billion as well. Moswaane believes the country should build more technical colleges and brigades to carter for the thousands of students who leave school every year without the necessary grade needed as the entry threshold to tertiary schools.

In 2014, Moswane garnered 5304 votes against second-placed Habaudi Hobona of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) who was voted in by 3461 voters. UDC was represented by Shatiso Tambula who managed a paltry 950 votes. This year Moswaane will have to fend off competition from Dira Moalosi of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Mbaakanyi Lenyatso of the UDC.

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FREE AT LAST: LGBTI persons celebrate

Yvonne Mooka

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CELEBRATION TIME: The LGBT community celebrated the historic ruling on same sex romance this Tuesday

Thapelo Matshameko, a transgender woman who last year was attacked at Trekkers night club in Gaborone is over the moon about the High Court ruling that overturned a law that criminalised same sex relations.

A trans-woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth. In response to the ruling, she told The Midweek Sun that even though she has had it tough before with people calling her ‘Brazen’ and to stop behaving like a woman, she is now happy that the law recognises that they exist. She said that Batswana are now becoming tolerant towards Lesbians Gays Bisexual Transgender and Intersex persons.

“Recently I went out for dinner with my bae, and I came all the way from my house wearing a dress. People that know me loved it and my boyfriend loved it even more,” she says, adding that the verdict will also help other LGBTI persons that are in the closet to come out.

In a previous interview Metshameko pleaded for assistance from members of the public to help her do a surgery that would make her a complete woman. For Motswakgakala Sithole also known as Motswafere in music circles, the ruling shows that Botswana is one step closer to gay marriages.

“Thank you to all the visible gay people. We take punches for those hiding and those shaming us for being visible and exercising our rights. You guys attended court cases with pride and you have carried us to freedom,” he said.

He also thanked Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), lawyers in the case, the media, and friends of the LGBTI community for their support. Phio Kenosi who identifies as trans non-binary asexual woma-romantic, (romantically attracted to the feminine essence), was also ecstatic.

“It is obviously showing that we are moving in a new direction that is positive and inclusive towards sexual and gender minority,” he said.

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