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Mochudi East showdown

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The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is going all out to reclaim the Mochudi East constituency as Bakgatla go to the polls in a Saturday by-election.

The late Member of Parliament, Isaac Davids won the constituency in the 2014 general elections while still a member of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), but later crossed the floor to join BDP. Unfortunately he could not see his term to the end as he was murdered by his herdboys late last year. BDP has hopes on Specially-nominated Councillor Reverend Mpho Moruakgomo who will tussle with businessman Moagi Bright Molebatsi of the UDC. Also in the mix is former unionist Japhta Radibe. Over and above fielding Moruakgomo, the BDP has assembled a strong campaign team where all its ministers are camping in the constituency instead of taking what was to be their one week rest from work.

Currently, all members of cabinet are on a one week compulsory leave which they take at the end of every parliamentary session. Parliament ended on Friday and will resume in June. BDP has appointed Assistant Minister of Empowerment, Youth Sports and Culture and MP for Shoshong, Phillip Makgalemele as Campaign Manager, assisted by member of the royal family, Mmusi Kgafela who is their parliamentary hopeful for the 2019 general elections in Mochudi West. The two have been instructed to work very closely with all existing party structures. Former Minister and MP for Nkange, Edwin Jenamiso Batshu is Special Advisor for the campaign team.

The BDP kicked its aggressive campaign last week Thursday when former President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama addressed a political rally in Boseja north. Party president Mokgweetsi Masisi followed during the week. With Masisi away attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, the honours have been passed on to his Vice President and acting president, Slumber Tsogwane. Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Makgalemele said their series of aggressive campaigns will end with a star rally on Friday starting at 2 pm in Oodi where acting president Tsogwane will give a keynote address whilst former president Khama will be guest speaker. He said they have many advantages such as undivided support from the democrats in the area and support from the Davids family. “We are optimistic about our chances, we are working hard,” he said. Makgalemele concluded by saying, “We view the anticipated victory as part of the celebration for welcoming the late Isaac back to BDP as he had not formally been welcomed back.

Further, we want to give Masisi his first political present as president of the country.” For his part, Moruakgomo said it has to be him because, “I provide leadership and have proved leadership. The three years I was council chairman, this district transformed drastically and I left solid plans that need to be implemented and I need to unlock their implementation. These plans are Local economic development to energise this local economy given its proximity to Gaborone. Education, life skills for young people and requisite social and community mobilisation for enhanced community resilience – all these are my past achievements that speak not only in the district, but the entire country.

The zeal with which I confronted the HIV scourge at a very crucial moment in the development trajectory of this nation, is indicative of my abilities and capacities.” Yet the BDP also knows that the UDC, are not pushovers. Molebatsi’s campaign is led by Obakeng Matlou, the man who came second best in the UDC primary elections. Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Matlou said they had the first launch of Molebatsi this past Saturday at Notwane freedom square – launch he termed ‘very successful.’ Presiding over was UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando, with other speakers including MP for Kgatleng West, Gilbert Mangole, and Councillor Tona Mooketsi of Mosanta ward. There was women’s league member, Daisy Bathusi of BCP but representing women of UDC, with president of Botswana National Front Youth League, Vellem Heii representing the umbrella’s youth. The second launch which will be a star rally scheduled for Friday in Mmathubudukwane will be addressed by UDC president, Duma Boko.

The events of the day start with a motorcade in the river villages of Sikwane, Mmathubudukwane, Romonaka and Mololwane. “We will be going all out this week holding political rallies on every single day, including house to house campaigns,” said Matlou. Molebatsi, a former teacher and businessman, believes it has to be him because, “I am always available for Bakgatla when need arises. I know all their needs which all have failed to advocate for. Amongst the urgent needs for the constituency are a hospital, sewerage ponds, maintenance of schools, and water in Bokaa village. This is despite having a dam near and even having huge water bills. “The river villagers are not enjoying the benefits of the river passing next to their villages compared to their South African counterparts. Some institutions such as IHS in Mochudi have closed down and moved to Gaborone. The above and many more need a quality politician like me.” But then there is the matter of the Independent Candidate – Radibe. If what he says is anything to go by, then both the BDP and the UDC have some rude awakening to anticipate. Radibe says he is already assured of 10 000 votes and says he will focus on improving the state of the arts and sports in the area.

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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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