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KISS AND MAKE UP

Yvonne Mooka

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Award winning Kwaito-Kwasa star Odirile ‘VeeMampeezy’ Sento and his long-time dancer Coming Soon are at it again! In the latest development the dancer is accusing his former boss of exploiting him for the 15 years that he was working for him.

Coming Soon shocked Facebook users on Saturday morning with his live video that he recorded around 7am trashing Vee. The 4 minutes 20 seconds long clip narrates how the pint-sized artist has abused the Democratic Republic of Congo dancer over the years. He is inside a car with another man and starts off by saying that people undermine him. “O bona Coming Soon, batho ba mo nyatsa,” he says, adding that he has made people rich. Clearly, Coming Soon is sloshed as he keeps saying ‘Ga kena sepe. Ke batla go boela gae. Batho ba nnyatsa.’

He says that he has made people wealthy and they now drive Mercedes Benz cars while he has no car to his name. He says that his parents are worried that he has nothing to show in his 15 years stay in Botswana. “15 years, ke dira bo Go Swa Motho, Go Swa Motho. Ga kena sepe. Ke tlhabolola monna yo mongwe. Ene o humile,” he says, constantly adding that God will help him. He however repeats that Vee is his brother and that he loves him dearly. “He is my king, man. I love him Vee Mampeezy.’’Vee was civil in his response. “Coming Soon is my brother. He is also like a son to me. I won’t defend myself in this issue. If I do so, I’m going to start exposing a lot of things that will harm my brother. I choose to lose. If you feel I’m the bad guy, it’s ok. I’d rather take the bullet for him”.

He went on and encouraged people to keep on supporting Coming Soon, describing him as a good dancer. He says that even though Coming Soon is now independent, he fully supports him.
He also attempted the salary issue, where he is often criticised for not paying his dancers well, saying he was not going to expose their salaries. “We run a company, we are professionals. All I can say is we have a lot of incentives for our staff members. Yes we do buy people cars, especially when we are happy with their work,” he says. Vee Mampeezy also wonders why dancers always call their bosses ugly names when they part ways. But again, he has a question: Why is that they always stay so long? Yet claim to be exploited when they leave?

Fans respond
Fans of both Vee and Coming Soon took to social media to respond to the beef. While majority emphasised that Coming Soon was influenced by booze to quash his former boss, others said he was actually honest about being ill-treated. “People always tell the truth when they are drunk, especially when the issue had been in their heart for a long time. Vee has been exploiting Coming Soon,” said one Mothusi Kaboyaone. There were also those that recalled the time when Vee bought Coming Soon a BMW 320 car, describing Coming Soon as an ungrateful, irresponsible man with a sense of entitlement.

“Your employer pays you. What you do with the salary is up to you. You can’t compete with your boss. No matter how smart you are, don’t have a sense of entitlement,” said Gorata Mabiletsa, adding that she was once Coming Soon’s neighbour in Gaborone and that the dancer loved alcohol and partying. But again, there are those that say Vee and his former dancer will soon have to go out for a meal and settle their small beef. Fans might as well expect a hit from their misunderstanding with Comin Soon’s out-of-this-world dance moves.

The two men have a history of being on and off, and like Vee is saying, they are more like father and son. Actually, of all the dancers that Vee has worked with and those he now has, Coming Soon remains very close to his heart. Coming Soon has since deleted the video from his page.

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BACK ON TRACK

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BR train 0501/BD 540 would not have derailed on 10 December 2019 had necessary precautions been taken, Botswana Railways (BR) staff members told the ongoing commission of inquiry in Mahalapye.

They blame the fatal accident in which two BR employees were killed on a raft of lapses, indecisions and negligence on the part of BR management. BR Senior Traffic Controller Simon Matenje revealed that there is a WhatsApp group that discusses everything concerning the running of BR trains. He said meteorological services had posted a memo warning that there would be floods on 4th December and shared it on the WhatsApp group. “The contents of the memo and their implications were discussed,” said Matenje who revealed that the group comprises most of the senior personnel in the BR hierarchy.

He lamented that although read and discussed the contents of the memo were “not given due attention.” Above that, on 9th and 10th December many BR staff members using the south bound and north bound trains warned relevant authorities about the possibility of floods, said Matenje. He believes there was negligence of duty on the part of management because everybody was aware of the floods at Moreomabele and Palla Road. “The relevant office should have directed stoppage of the trains or the adoption of an appropriate speed limit. “The best that management did was to give warnings about the floods but fell short of prescribing a solution,” he said. Matenje, who was on leave, said that he communicated his concerns about the reports of flooding and possible solutions to no avail.

When asked who exactly had the authority to do that, Matenje explained that it was the Operation’s Manager. Matenje also decried the lapses in the organisation’s system. He said motor trollies are helpful when inspecting the railway line. “However, they have not featured for a long time,” said Matenje who feels that regular inspection of the rail is a very critical part of safety. He said BR has not held any safety workshops in a long time. Mompoloki Rutherford, a train driver also appearing before the commission conceded that trollies had not been used on the BR lines for a long time. He said some senior managers use the train to inspect the line instead of trollies. “There are only two seats in the cabin but, contrary to safety rules, sometimes they just join us in the cabin which is a breach of the safety rules,” said Rutherford. Dikabelo Nawa, a retired train driver noted that BR workers were a sad lot because of pressure always exerted on them by management.

“Drivers work under pressure. The line between Mafikeng and Plumtree is old and very bad but we were always pushed by management to arrive on time. “There is just too much pressure. I once lost time and that put me into a big problem.” He said. He is also unhappy with the undergrowth and hanging branches next to the line because they obstruct the view of the crew. He appealed to the panel to recommend the introduction of a training centre for BR staff.

Peter Mokokwe, a recently retired train driver also complained that the rail road is never inspected. In addition to that, he told the commission that, he witnessed water around Palla Road on 9th December at the same place where the derailment later took place. Mokokwe, who himself did not alert control room about the water because he had heard through radio communication that his colleagues had reported the situation to control room, is also of the view that the disaster could have been averted had the 501 crew been alerted of the water situation.

On the other hand, a train controller named Moses Sethomo says he never got the communique warning the drivers about the impending floods. “There was a clear breakdown of communication,” said Sethomo who revealed that very often, even BR assets are wrongly used. “For example, sometimes freight locomotives instead of passenger train locomotives are used to haul the passenger train and this is a safety concern,” he noted. The hearings are continuing this week. The rail services that were suspended have since been resumed.

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Youth lament slow pace towards ICPD commitments

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Young people representing Botswana at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) in Nairobi, Kenya last week have expressed disappointment at the slow pace at which governments are moving towards achieving ICPD25 ideals.

Trevor Oahile, a youth advocate and student at the University of Botswana participated at the Nairobi Summit to highlight on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of men and boys.
Oahile hosts a radio show sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Don’t Get It Twisted on Yarona FM. The show deals with issues that affect boys and men. Oahile participated in a panel discussion at the Summit on the involvement of men and boys in accelerating the ICPD promise.

He is of the view that countries needs to work together to end violence that is perpetuated by harmful gender norms that are antagonistic to progress towards the ideals of the ICPD agenda. “Botswana government and private sector are still challenged to invest a lot of money into implementing their commitments,” Oahile said, adding that Comprehensive Sexual Education on the other hand has to be rolled out to every school in the country.

“We also acknowledge that it is important to avoid stereotypes that impact decisions that people make. Men and boys often avoid certain services because they are known to be for girls and women,” Oahile said. Millicent Sethaile was at the Summit as a youth ambassador from an organisation called Her Voice, which funds and offers grants to smaller organisations that advocate for SRHR in communities. In her view the summit was significant because it was an opportunity for countries including Botswana to make commitments to fulfill the unfinished business of the ICPD made 25 years ago.

“What struck me the most is that I realised that Botswana has a long way to go to achieve the commitments she set for herself.”Sethaile also observed that the four commitments including to strengthen access to family planning, the reduction of maternal deaths, reduction of Gender Based Violence, provision of quality, timely and disaggregated data are activities that were already in the pipeline and have been discussed before. “I believe we now have to come up with actionable items that we can work on so that we can effectively deal with current challenges.”
For 18 year old University student Michelle Simon, the Nairobi Summit was a reality check, an opportunity to reflect and map the way forward.

“I realised that there are so many challenges, especially in Africa concerning SRHR,” Simon said. She also realised that Botswana has a lot of catching up to do to implement the commitments of the ICPD. “I also realised that issues including youth in power were left out.” Botho Mahlunge on the other hand comes back from the Summit with a conclusion that there are a lot of predicaments that young people find themseles in across the African continent including GBV and teenage pregnancy.

Programmes need to be intensified to ensure implementation. Mahlunge is also of the view that there is minimum youth engagement on issues that affet them the most. “Young people are tired of always convening about the same issues. It’s time to see the outcomes of Summits and Conferences,” Mahlunge said. She advised the youth to also be willing to engage when the oppotunity avails itself and to take up programmes that have been set to help them. Mahlunge said that failure to educate our young people on sexuality “is the reason so many girls are getting pregnant and infected with HIV.”

She said the continued exclusion of young people in rural areas from sexual and reproductive health and rights discussion is also to blame for the prevailing state of affairs. “Young people in rural areas are completely vulnerable. They are so far removed from the little information and services available to young people in urban areas,” Mahlunge observed.

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