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The Dalai Lama no show: Who is fooling who?

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There is more than meets the eye in the way His Holiness Dalai Lama cancelled his controversial trip to Botswana – allegedly due to ill health. Contrary to the official version from Dalai Lama’s private office, The Midweek Sun can reveal that miles away from this country, the Tibetan spiritual leader is continuing to honour his tight schedule. Not only does this evoke many questions, but speculation as well.

Among these are whether there was double booking, or was the Dalai Lama’s change of heart influenced by the small number of tickets that were bought for his event. Only 100 people are said to have bought the tickets. While Dalai Lama’s followers bought tickets with the hope of physically meeting him, they had a shock of their lives on Saturday when a public statement from his private office allegedly sent to both President Lt. Gen. Dr Ian Khama and the Mind & Life Dialogue – organisers of the event – advised that he would no longer make the trip due to exhaustion.

But surprisingly, on Monday August 14, 2017 two days before he was set to arrive in Botswana in a trip that was vehemently opposed by the Chinese government, Dalai Lama, who looked healthy, took to the podium to deliver the inaugural address at the launch of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) course on Secular Ethics at the TISS Convention Centre in Mumbai, India. The previous day, he had addressed the Interfaith Dialogue in Mumbai, Maharashla, India at the National Sports Council of India Dome in an address that lasted for 34 minutes.

At TISS, he spoke for close to an hour before taking his seat to continue with taking questions on secular ethics from the floor. In between the two parts of his address, he received different types of appreciation tokens. Throughout the address by organisers and other speakers, Dalai Lama kept on tapping his hand on the seat, when he took to the podium, he was just his usual jolly self, cracking jokes and laughing. In his usual trade mark style, he took his time sufficiently answering all the questions from his audience.

In his cancellation message, Lama says: “I was very much looking forward to coming to Africa again and visiting your country. I was especially interested in taking part in discussions of Ubuntu, which I feel reflects my fundamental belief that we are all interdependent and need to conduct ourselves with a sense of universal responsibility. “Despite my absence, I am urging the conference organisers to continue with their plans, to hold valuable discussion and publish the results.” Examining African values and healing practices in light of new scientific research on social connection and trauma, the Mind & Life Dialogue in Botswana explores the potential of Botho/Ubuntu as a framework for healing the legacy and trauma of wars and colonialism, and advancing social justice and women’s equality.

The last minute cancellation has no doubt hit hard on personnel and organisations that were involved in organising his trip as they either had to cancel some events or offer refunds for those that had bought tickets. Mind & Life Dialogue noted that the conference will continue as planned, but stated that instructions for refunds will be provided directly to ticket holders by the email address that was used to register. Speaking to this publication, Donald Molosi BlueBlack Productions, who had arranged a private concert by veteran South African musician, Vusi Mahlasela for the 100 people who bought the tickets, said the concert has been cancelled and Mahlasela will just render a musical piece during the conference.Playing along Mahlasela was going to be local stars Tomeletso Sereetsi, Punah Gabasiane and Kabo Leburu. On why Dalai Lama is still continuing with his schedule while he is reported to have been asked to rest for health reasons, a statement issued by Ngodup Dorjee, a representative of Dalai Lama for Africa ,states that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to cancel visiting Gaborone, Botswana for the Mind & Life conference as in the past few weeks, he has found himself unusually tired in carrying out his activities and felt a strong need to take rest. “His physicians have also advised him to avoid undertaking long journeys for the next few weeks, however, it was agreed that he would finish his current programme in Mumbai, India and then return to Dharamsala for rest and recuperation.” In what is a blow to those who had hoped to at least hear from other prominent speakers, Graca Machel has also dropped out of being part of the Mind & Life conference. There was no official announcement from the organisers at the time of going to press. But on Monday night, Machel was removed from the official website.

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Police blast man with fire extinguisher

The MidweekSun Admin

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Life has not been easy for Rakhuna man, Gaitsiwe Moroka since a police officer blast a fire extinguisher in his face at a roadblock near Pitsane this year on April 25.

The police were on duty and as a norm, they were checking for among others, the presence of a functional fire extinguisher in a kombi which Moroka and other five other passengers and their driver were using. When The Midweek Sun interviewed him on Monday, pain was written all over his face.
His is a clear sign of depression.

“My life changed drastically this year after the incident. I was on my way from signing an agreement for a tender with Botswana Defence Force camp when the police stopped our kombi at a road block in Pitsane. There was a long debate between the two police officers and our driver about the functionality of the fire extinguisher.
All of a sudden, one of the officers sprayed the fire extinguisher without checking if it was functional or not, and he directed the nozzle inside the kombi,” he said, adding that he was on his way to Lobatse where he stays.

High Court papers dated August 30, 2018 show that Mfosi Legal Attorneys are handling the case in which the victim is suing the BPS for an amount of P2.84 million.
He says although there other passengers in the kombi, he was the one most affected. The High Court documents state that the police officer did not even bother to check on the health of the commuters nor apologise for his extremely dangerous negligent act.

The kombi would then leave for Lobatse and just before it arrived, the plaintiff’s claim notes that it was apparent that the powder had affected his sight and he started regurgitating unabated, lost consciousness and woke up at Athlone Hospital with an oxygen mask strapped to his face and intravenous drip in his arm.

“To date, Moroka, 40, has a constant whooping cough and has been informed by doctors that it will take several years for the noxious elements used in the fire extinguisher to completely be flushed from his body,” says the summons, further stating that doctors had also detected likelihood of asthma.

It says that due to the gross negligence of the police, Moroka is currently unable to work, let alone work around dust. This, it says, has caused a great financial burden on him due to the fact that he is a builder by profession, and is not able to take care of his two minor children. Moroka, according to the sheet, has developed a very itchy rash all over his skin since the incident.
“What is more disconcerting is that the police have never bothered to check on the health of the plaintiff or even issued an official apology. Thus his compensation demands include gross negligence at P1 million, pain and suffering at P1 million, loss of income at P84. 200.00 and cost of the suit
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‘I feel weak’ For Moroka, the incident has left him helpless. He has given up on life and wishes himself dead. “I’m always thinking about killing myself but I always think about my two children. If I die anytime, Batswana must know that government killed me. I have no food, no income but I am a man. I believe in using my hands and legs but now my health does not permit me to walk in the sun. I’m supposed to be resting but I’m now giving up on life,” he said.

He won the children’s custody after his divorce three years ago. He is now afraid that he would lose the children because he cannot afford to take care of them. “My life is stuck. I’m sad and empty, and in deep pain. My lungs are weak. Police do not care about me after what they did to me and I’m now on my own. Government clinics do not have all the medication and my sprays, and I have to travel to Molepolole at times. My bones are always in pain and I am now on a special diet which I can’t afford,” he said.

His comprehensive report card shows a dysfunction in the heart, lungs, bones, skin and eye and makes an expert advice which is basically expensive diet and resting most of the time. Several times he had fainted while walking and at one time it happened while he was in Mafikeng, visiting a relative. He was admitted at a local clinic.
Doctors that have been attending to him since the dreadful incident that shows a common denominator of Carbon dioxide inhalation that affected his skin, sight and respiratory system. He has started counselling at SBRANA Psychiatric Hospital.

He said that efforts to seek help from BPS Commissioner KeabetsweMakgophe were futile. “I’m always told he is away,” he said. BPS Assistant Commissioner Dipheko Motube could not respond to questions sent by this reporter by press time.

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Botswana Creative Business Cup winner, Mmono joins global comp. in Denmark

Keletso Thobega

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Botswana Creative Business Cup Nicolette Chinomona says that government should channel funding and business support among youth towards the creative industry instead of focusing on traditional sectors.

This year’s winner of the cup is Lebogang Mmono of Just Ginger Beverages. Chinomona told The Midweek Sun that she applied for the license of the international entrepreneurship competition because she noticed that local entrepreneurs, particularly youth, were not getting the necessary support.

“I wanted to help develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country by generating attention for startups that aren’t traditional, that are in the creative space and think out of the box; because there isn’t enough risk appetite for supporting those kinds of startups”, she said.

Chinomona said that government has been quite deliberate in helping businesses start-ups, but the key challenge is that the government has to use the resources it has to fund business models that it feels can succeed and become a core part of the economy.

“A lot of potential sponsors and funders are intimidated at the prospect of putting money into a local enterprise.”Chinomona said that it was only entrepreneurship that could change the economic dynamics of Batswana’s lives. “As a society we need to change the narrative around entrepreneurship, we need to begin to acknowledge that while entrepreneurial paths are fraught with risks and challenges, that entrepreneurship is also a huge part of developing a sustainable economy.

“We need to be realistic, not everyone can have a conventional white-coller career. Someone has to produce the goods that people with careers want to spend their money on and entrepreneurs can make an excellent living and even thrive on that. I believe that changing the conversation around this means pushing back on the idea that failures become entrepreneurs.”

Chinomona said since working with young entrepreneurs, she had noticed that one of the key things that they say they need is mentorship. “A lot of them have the raw skill but they don’t have the business skills to be able to sell what they can easily make.

“And also they are hungry for community and collaboration, because being an entrepreneur can be isolating and discouraging.” Meanwhile, Mmono is preparing to take part in the global competition in Copenhagen, Denmark next month. She said she hoped to network and find ways to break into the global business sector by selling her uniquely Botswana products and partnering with other entrepreneurs.

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