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Batswana students win Japanese scholarships

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Three Batswana youths – Mpuang Admore Phindani; Chidzani Mbinda and Segofalang Annah Modisenyane – apparently all hailing from the northern part of the country – are this year’s recipients of Japanese government’s scholarship. Phindani and Modisenyane will leave earlier in April this year whilst Mbinda will depart for Japan in September. They are all going to study for Master’s Degree in their various fields of discipline. Phindani, 24, from Nkange has just completed his four-year Bachelor Degree in Applied Geophysics at the University of Botswana. He will now study Disaster Prevention in the heart of Japan at Kyoto University, in a city with over a millennium of history, but lately renowned for bequeathing the world the Kyoto Protocol on 11 December 1997, an international treaty and precursor to what is today known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Being an earthquake-prone country, it is hoped Phindani will acquire useful and beneficial knowledge in Japan to help Botswana build resilience to national disasters when he returns from his sojourn. Our disaster preparedness and management functions are at best non-existent and hopefully, with more students enrolling in this discipline, we shall eventually build a critical mass of expertise commensurate with challenges at hand. Mbinda, a native of Marobela, will study MBA at International University of Japan, which is situated in Nigata, a place famous for rice wine. He joins other former students from that part of the world, whose experience is contributing in efforts to enhance economic relations between Botswana and Japan.

At present, Japanese investors and businesses in Botswana are negligible owing largely to our ignorance of Japanese business culture. External trade missions mounted by Botswana Investment and Trade Centre notwithstanding, it is self-evident that the country requires pathfinders who can act as pilots to guide potential Japanese companies that are interested in investing in Botswana. This is the message that Japanese Ambassador to Botswana His Excellency Kozo Takeda drilled in these recipients. The only woman in the group, Segofalang Annah Modisenyane, 26, from Matsiloje, will study Architecture and building science specialising in Urban Design at Tohoku University, which is located in Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture.

A stickler for preserving history and tradition, Japan is replete with places of historical significance and has infused in its educational curricular, this character, which it is hoped Modisenyane will help her country to also incorporate in its educational curricular once she returns from her study. The recipients were unveiled last week Friday during the Friends of Japan reception hosted by the Embassy of Japan at the Ambassador’s official residence in Gaborone’s Extension 11 suburb. Among dignitaries present were representatives of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, JOGMEG and JICA. All the three recipients promised to work hard and not to disappoint Batswana and the Japanese Government for the benevolence it has shown them.

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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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