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The essence of being a woman

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Tebogo LebotseSebego (PCH) She started playing netball in 1984 at Primary School and played through University and beyond. As a netball athlete, she has captained both the Under 21 and Botswana Senior Netball Teams. In 2007, she became the President of Botswana Netball Association, a position she fiercely held until last year. In 2017 she initiated Basadi Bomme Trust, which advocates for and solicits resources and support for various women sporting codes.

Lorato Moalusi-Sakufiwa She is director of Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter in Botswana. In 2013 the organisation received USD 20,000 from the African Women’s Development Fund to keep the shelter running through the provision of adequate bedding, cooking utensils and improved safety measures. The Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter was established in 1998 in response to violence against women in Botswana. Lorato ensures provision of temporary shelter, counselling, community education and outreach, as well as advocacy on critical issues connected to the security of women.

Pearl Ranna She is managing director of Unitech Farming. Ranna is also the founder of Women in Farming Expo, which started last year. The exhibition brings together relevant stakeholders in the Agricultural industry to support women who wish to expand their Agribusiness. She has spoken out against entitlement behaviour of the youth admonishing them to instead use their talents and gifts to help government fight unemployment.

Tsoseletso Magang Sport leader and former athlete, Magang is a woman of steel. She believes in mentorship of women and believes they carry almost all care giving responsibilities. “With the power of Olympism instilled in us, we can take over the world. Women should increase participation in physical activities, give others tips for gaining confidence and thus curbing sedentary behaviours that have taken over our children,” she was quoted at one of her empowerment events.

Malebogo Marumoagae The former Miss Botswana through her etiquette and consultancy company Bella Larissa hosted Women in Mining Botswana conference last year with the objective to inspire and promote women in the mining industry. Belle Larissa has won awards in the country among them, Woman in Business Award under the category of Young Female Entrepreneur of The Year in 2016.

Matlhogonolo Mponang Through her Tshiamo Gotlhe Mogapi Coaching and mentoring programme, Matty brings together not just women but a group of young people who want to have a change of mindset and see a world full of opportunities. The programme has put ordinary youth in conversation with trailblazers and renowned individuals who share their life stories with them. She started the program last year after realising that she could not accommodate all requests from people who wanted her to assist them with their resumes, career guidance and general mentorship. Growing up, Mponang was part of the Peer Approach to Counselling by Teens (PACT) started and facilitated by the Young Women’s Christian Association.

Beata Kasale The Voice newspaper publisher Beata Kasale continues to be an epitome of hope that women can make it in the media fraternity, an area believed to be the preserve of the male species. Through her work with Women In News, Kasale advocates for women to rise and challenge the status quo in newsrooms. “Women must make themselves visible. The media is about visibility. If they take a back seat, nobody will know that they are there. They should be more assertive,” she was quoted at one of the women’s day commemorations.

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Mma V’s retreat is strategic

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Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Presidential aspirant Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is playing her cards close to her chest to ease tension between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and herself ahead of the BDP’s elective congress that has the presidential election as part of its agenda.

This was evident at the BDP National Retreat in Palapye this past weekend when Dr Venson-Moitoi, who is a former cabinet member, made a U-turn on her earlier statement that Dr Masisi had promised her the position of Vice President.

Dr Venson-Moitoi had a week before the retreat told Mmegi in an interview that she had a legitimate expectation as Dr Masisi had promised her the vice presidency. According to sources close to the former longest serving minister, Dr Venson-Moitoi made the U-turn at the Palapye International Convention Centre (PICC) so as to ease tension between the president and herself to avoid a further deterioration in their relationship.

The sources pointed out that as the president seems to be going all out to punish and frustrate those who are against him, Dr Venson-Moitoi would not want to have her campaign for the high position compromised.

Dr Venson-Moitoi revealed at the retreat that she did have a conversation with the president on what she would want to do or to be under Masisi. She however told the delegates that she never said Dr Masisi promised her the VP position. “I told him that now that I would be retiring, I would like to be his vice president. He said he would look into it but never promised me the position,” she said acknowledging Dr Masisi’s choice – Slumber Tsogwane.

Dr Venson-Moitoi’s statement came after a backlash from Dr Masisi who told the democrats that he never promised anyone the position of Vice President. The president said he never did that and would never do that even in future.

He revealed that he appointed Tsogwane his deputy ten (10) minutes before the BDP Parliamentary Caucus. “Of course some people came to me requesting that I make them my vice president. I listened because I am a good listener. So, when adults do talk to me, I listen and will continue to listen but I never promised anyone anything.

“If there is someone here who knows for a fact that I did make that promise, I challenge them to come here and say when, where and how such a promise was made. Even beyond 2019 I have not promised anyone anything. When you choose your deputy, you must choose a good reliable deputy,” the president stated.

For the first time in its history, the BDP will go for presidential elections this year a few months before the national polls. Traditionally, the party would converge at an extraordinary congress where the president would be endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate for General Elections.

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Death does not scare me – Masisi

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ALWAYS NEARBY: DIS boss Peter Magosi was always within touching distance of the president amid heightened security threats

At the height of the well-pronounced disunity within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), fears abound that the life of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is under threat.

However, such reports come a long way, from as early as when he was Vice President during which time he survived food poisoning and a plane crash that killed two army officers just before he was to be transported in the aircraft.

The intelligence and related reports suggesting that the president could be assassinated grow everyday, and those close to the presidential security personnel say there are several factors on the ground pointing to the tension that engulfs the first citizen. The president himself on Saturday alluded to the reported security threats around his life, but was quick to say he was not afraid to die. He said there are people who have been telling him that they fear for his life and that he should be careful.

“I met some business people from whom we have been seeking donations and they said they were afraid for my safety. I told them I don’t waste my time thinking that I am going to die. It is certain I am going to die. All of us are going to die,” he told the BDP delegates at the party’s retreat in Palapye on Saturday.

Despite the utterances by the president, the situation on the ground told a different story. Security that manned the entire Majestic Five Hotel was super intense, lending credence to earlier reports that suggested the presidential security arm was also worried by the death threats reported by the party’s warring factions. Even as he publicly said he was not afraid to die, the president would not allow any slight mistake even among people that could be said to be his trusted fellows within the party.

This was the second time BDP converged at Majestic Five Hotel since Dr Masisi became president last year April. The first was on the 11 of August 2018 when the party held a meeting following the postponement of its primary elections. Even though security presence was very visible then, it could not match the one deployed this past Saturday.So intense was the security this weekend that even the head of intelligence, Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) Director Peter Magosi was present at the retreat – an unusual thing as junior officers at DIS are often deployed wherever the president is.

Brigadier Magosi was never out of sight of the president, ensuring he did not delegate this assignment to any of his officers. Magosi has been criticised for this arrangement but the spy chief has made it clear that the safety of the head of state is one of his key responsibilities. “Masisi seems to trust only Magosi and with some members within the DIS still seen to be loyal to the previous DIS boss and former president, Magosi is forced to lead Masisi’s security from the head as he is deemed the best person to quickly detect anything from his knowledge of the officers,” a BDP source shared.

Some sources even suggest that through their alleged ownership of some spy equipment, former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi and former president Ian Khama still have visual and audio access to the State House, a situation that has resulted in Masisi refusing to use the place until he is sure it is cleared of all spy equipment. It is no secret that both Kgosi and Khama are at loggerheads with Masisi whom they feel is out to harass them.

But it is unclear who could be targeting the president, a matter seen to be a covert operation yet to be unmasked. The weekend’s retreat venue in Palapye had three search points – at the main gate where all motor vehicles were searched by police and Botswana Defence Force officers; and two other points manned by BDP officials and Security Systems’ officers where democrats had to show proof that they were delegates for the retreat.

It was during this search that some South African nationals were reportedly arrested by Serowe Police after being found in possession of a firearm. The party also ensured that only party members with accreditation entered the premises and the hall and the accreditation was done at Lotsane Secondary School instead of the hall where the retreat was held.

An altercation even ensued in one of the checkpoints when veteran politician and member of the BDP Labour Committee Kgang Kgang got in a heated argument with Mbakisano Tjiyapo, a member of the Communications and International Relations Committee, for failing to produce his accreditation. Kgang also contested BDP primaries for Mogoditshane constituency in January last year and lost to Tshepang Mabaila who has since been suspended from the party for five years.

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