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Pomp and celebration at IndoTswana Day

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The IndoTswana Day held this past Sunday at Gaborone Interntional Convention Centre (GICC) sprung a few pleasant suprises to the delight of patrons among them President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi and First Lady Mma Atsile.

Besides the cultural performances and fashion show depicting the rich diversity of both India and Botswana’s cultures, the event presented a unique feature of women empowerment as it was exclusively organised and completely run by women.

High Commissioner Dr Rajesh Ranjan’s welcome address was basicaly to acknowledge the shared values that underpin the bilateral relations between the two countries. These include democracy, pluralism, expanding economic engagement and longstanding people to people ties, as attested by the growing numbers of Batswana visiting and studying in India and the Indian Diaspora in Botswana.

He excited the audience when he revealed that India’s ongoing general elections has registered over 900 million voters and that the counting will be done in less than a day. India’s elections will be completed on May 23, 2019 while Botswana is bracing for its poll this October. The greater part of the night was dedicated to performances, eating and drinking as well as a donation handover of P111,111 to Ipelego Community Trust and sharing of experience by Mrs Jamal Ahmad, a recipient of the prestigious award Pravasi Bhartiya Divas – PBD 2019.

Ahmad received the award in Varanasi U.P, India on the 21st January 2019 as a token of Indian government’s appreciation of her outstanding service in Botswana.Accompanied by her husband, Mrs Jammal Ahmad, who is the Chief Eecutive Officer of the Jamal Group of Companies told The Midweek Sun that she came to Botswana in 1971 and taught at Gaborone Secondary School before joining the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning as a Librarian and later moving to Industry of Home Affairs.

She left the public service in 1981 and then started Jamal Trading Company, which would later grow into many other companies – BSS Property Investment Comoany, Nata Timber Industries, Eezze Build and Construction Works. Also patronising the India-Botswana Cultural Day were Minister Unity Dow and Chief Justice Terrence Rannowane as well as Indian business leaders among them Manhar Mooney of Room 52 and Ramachandran of Choppies retail stores.

To cap the night Elmy Mabe, a Motswana woman sang a Hindi song while two Indian ladies going by the tag, Bollywood Girls performed a rendition of ‘Tsaya thobame oba bolae’, which they said was dedicated to President Masisi.

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A welcome snitch

Yvonne Mooka

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CELLPHONE TRACKER: Tebogo Aaron says criminals have labelled him a snitch for helping the police track people’s stolen property

Tebogo Aaron works hand-in-hand with Botswana Police Service to track down missing and stolen cellphones.

In an interview with The Midweek Sun, the 38-year-old man from Mahalapye says that on average, he traces between 25 and 50 mobile phones per day. He runs a store called Gadgets + Collectables, with two branches in Airport Junction and Phakakane’s Acacia mall.

Even though he sells a variety of gadgets, among them cellphones, Bluetooth speakers, laptops, it is the business of cellphone tracking that has given him a niche in the market. The Business Management and IT graduate says that his cellphone tracking business makes him stand out. “We are now in the era of cellphones. Almost every person has a cellphone and again, people steal them at a high rate,” he says.

Aaron provides police with leads, allowing them to do recoveries. He helps people who come with a police affidavit. “I have attracted hate from thugs thinking I’m a snitch,” he laughs.
But how long does it take for him to track down a cellphone? He says that the gadget becomes traceable the moment a sim card gets inserted inside.

His observation is that people have a tendency of buying stolen gadgets something he says is risky as one ends up charged by the police for buying a stolen item.
“Thugs steal phones with the intention to sell them, not to keep them. They want fast cash,” he says. And he says that thieves would go to an extent of creating fake Facebook pages to sell their stolen cellphones.

“Immediately after selling them, they delete the social media accounts while the buyer is left with it. People must take precaution,” he says. One of the people who have benefited from Aaron’s service, Lerato Lepang says her phone and wallet were snatched from her on June 4 in Molepolole.

“I reported with the police. A week later I heard of Gadgets + Collectables and decided to give it a shot. I went to the store on July 13 with a police affidavit as well as my phone details.“Five days later I received a call from them saying they had details of someone who had my phone,” she says. Another person Masego Mokgwatlheng says Aaron managed to recover her phone after a month in June.

She had forgotten it in a cab and traces showed that the cab driver had sold it to a Zimbabwean man. “I am now using my phone. It was made easier because I had a police affidavit,” she says. In addition to cellphone tracking, Aaron also tracks lost or stolen pets, bicycles and luggage. He has five employees.

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Mixed reactions to Masisi’s law on home-operated businesses

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi intends to simplify the process of starting micro-businesses to make it less demanding. This entails retracting licenses for starting small businesses such as tuckshop, manicures and many others.

The Midweek Sun went out on the streets to hear views of the people about the new bill.A boutique owner based in Kanye Thapelo Dioka said it is a good initiative but he worries that Batswana will even set-up businesses which are not environmentally friendly.

“I have long struggled and been unable to rent out my spare bedrooms to try feed my family, due to stringent procedures of acquiring licenses,” said Dioka. Kolobetso Maswabi lamented that for a long time young people have been paying expensive rentals. The new law will help in starting and maintaining businesses as there will be no rentals to pay.

“For some of us who stay next to big malls the law will be an advantage, I am going to operate business in the backyard,” she says. However some had doubts about the new law, describing it as a campaign strategy and a desperate effort to gain political mileage. They will only believe it when it is signed into law.

“Why would he retract licenses when elections are about to take place and there is a need for them to explain more on what they mean about small scale businesses,” asked another entrepreneur.

Tiraone Basenyafela, an entrepreneur with disability who does leather works, lamented that they have long endured charges for licenses and at times failure to renew the licenses results in losing them.

“I believe that only big shops should be required to have licenses, not small businesses and struggling individuals like me,” said Basenyafela.

President Masisi explained that the new law intends to help Batswana improve their livelihoods and graduate from poverty, but added that licenses will still be required for those seeking to deal in food businesses and others that could be potentially unfriendly to the environment.

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