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Churches must fight GBV atrocities – Mmereki-Burns

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Churches that remain silent in the face of gender injustice are renouncing their role, says the fourth Vice President under Gender and Development at the Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) Bonolo Mmereki-Burns. Addressing a workshop organised by the Anglican Diocese of Botswana Guilds, Mmereki-Burns urged faith communities to take a lead role in fighting gender-based violence (GBV). She said while the church is a place of love, acceptance, healing and forgiveness, it also has a duty to speak boldly about atrocities most of which are committed towards women and girls such as sexual, emotional and physical abuse, early marriages even if it has been taboo to do so.

Themed, ‘Beyond 16 days of Activism,’ the workshop was held at the St Augustine Theological School on Saturday. “To be silent about GBV is to be folded together with those who carry out such heinous crimes. Silence is not a virtue, it is a vice two times compounded, because it contains both indifference to the victims and complicity with the destroyers,” Burns said. She said the church is meant to be a place of refuge for the vulnerable, not an enabler or to conceal perpetrators. Burns told attendants that it is important to understand the biblical text in its original context and to know what it means in today’s context. “There are no verses in the Bible that overtly condone domestic abuse.

To the contrary, it is made clear that God hates violence and relationships must be driven by selflessness, grace and love.” However, she acknowledged that the Bible continues to be misinterpreted by societies to provide men with opportunities to carry out gender-based violence on their women and children. She outlined several different parts of the Bible commonly referred to: first are the verses telling women to submit to their husbands and male authority, under the doctrine known as male headship. Second are verses that say God hates divorce. And third are those in 1 Peter that tell women to submit to husbands in a very particular way, as they follow instructions to slaves to submit to even “harsh masters.”

But Burns said it is crucial for the Bible to be read in light of the culture it was produced in. “We have inherited a Christian legacy and traditions that view women in an unhelpful and shameful way, and because we are not critically engaged with that theology, we continue to perpetuate that theology in our context,” she said. Meanwhile Detective Inspector Moses Patrick of Central Police noted with sadness that cases of GBV have continued to rise, in some cases resulting in loss of lives and if one survives, they are left with life long mental disorders, stigma and physical disabilities. He revealed that since the beginning of the year until March, Central Police recorded 242 cases related to GBV including six for rape, one murder and 85 for common assault. He said 104 perpetrators have so far been arrested. However, the detective added that the figures are only a fraction of what is happening on the ground as most cases go unreported.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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