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Khama’s actions divide BNF opinion

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CENTRE OF DIVIDED OPINION: Former President Ian Khama

Opinion within the Botswana National Front (BNF) is divided on whether the recent actions of former President Dr Ian Khama constitute tribalism or not. A veteran activist of Botswana National Front, also Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate for Boteti West, Sam Digwa is defending Dr Khama on the recent consultative meeting with Bangwato in Serowe.

On the other hand, BNF’s Vice President Reverend Prince Dibeela is of the opinion that Dr Khama is playing a potentially dangerous tribal game.Since the epic fallout between him and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, Khama, who is a paramount chief, has been to Serowe twice to address his tribesmen and women on the acrimonious relationship between himself and the president. Some of those who attended the meeting even openly gave Dr Khama permission to resign from Botswana Democratic Party (BDP); a party founded and led by his father, Seretse Khama.

Reverend Dibeela contends that Khama or any leader for that matter, “should not appeal to their ethnic allegiances to address their political problems.”He added that Botswana has enough experiences from the continent to avoid the politics of ethnicity. According to Dibeela, politics and ethnicity should not be mixed. “What is happening at the moment is very curious. Many will remember that Dr Khama is not the first royalty to be a politician in this country. “We have had his father, Seretse Khama. There were others such as Kgosi Moremi and Kgosi Lotlamoreng. All of them besides Dr Khama have managed to keep the distance between politics and Bogosi.

They saw the value of respecting the sacred space between the two,” said the outspoken clergyman. He reckons that what is happening right now between Dr Masisi and Dr Khama is essentially an internal BDP problem which should have been referred to the party structures for resolution and not a tribe. Dibeela believes that if every individual were to involve his or her tribe each time they have a problem with the organisation they belong to, there would soon be tribal wars in the country.

But Digwa, who stands to gain from Dr Khama’s promise to decampaign Vice President Slumber Tsogwane for the Boteti West parliamentary contest, has a different view from that of his party number two. He argues that somebody’s home village is important because that is where to get guidance. “I do not see any tribalism here,” he said. Asked if it would be acceptable if Masisi went to his home village too to seek support against Khama, Digwa responded in the negative.

“Dr Masisi is Head of State and President of the ruling party while Dr Khama is none of those.“As such, it would be wrong for Dr Masisi to consult a particular tribe on this matter,” explained Digwa who is looking to benefit immensely from Dr Khama’s support. Digwa is contesting against Vice President Tsogwane who is also BDP Chairperson and incidentally in Khama’s hit list for the general elections this year.

The BNF activist recently attended Khama’s meeting at Serowe where he took to the podium to criticise Masisi for not respecting the Bangwato Kgosikgolo. “Masisi ga a masisi,” he said at the meeting.

Like Digwa, Roseline Matshome, former chairperson of the BDP communications committee, sees nothing wrong with Khama consulting his tribesmen on his problems with his party. “It is normal to seek support from your people because they know you better. The tribe was consulted when he was taken from them to join politics. It is only in order that he consults them back this time around,” said Matshome in an interview.

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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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Wame – a little einstein in the making

Irene Shone

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LITTLE EISTEIN: Wame Kangumbe

Wame Petit Kangumbe, 12, is an Optometrist in the making.

Kangumbe envisions taking Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to the next level by inventing something scientific in the future.The standard 7 pupil at Ratsie Setlhako Primary School in Palapye impressed everyone during the BIUST 5th STEM Festival and Research and Innovation Symposium with her sharp answers during the fest.

The little Scientist believes that the entire country should embrace science and do more experiments, to find out more about our physical environment and shed dependency on foreign countries in terms of Science and Engineering.

Her secret to relating with different topics so well, is research and more research. “I like researching. We have Wi-Fi at home, and so I often use my mother’s phone to type different topics and interact with how everything is related. I always prepare for the next lesson through researching,” she said.

She said the poverty in Africa can only be eliminated through STEM. “If everyone could take interest in STEM, we would go further in terms of uplifting the status of our economies as African countries,” she said.

She urged her peers to believe in themselves and be serious about their education. “When you write down your notes in class, make an application of what you want out of them. Everyone’s life is in their own hands,” she advised.

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