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Rammidi spoils UDC victory bash

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BY PETER MADIYA The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) victory celebrations after walloping Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a by-election in Mochudi East this past weekend were abruptly cut short when Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Secretary General Kentse ‘Nchi’ Rammidi quit opposition ranks for the ruling party this week. Hardly 24 hours after the Mochudi East results were announced on Sunday, Rammidi on Monday dropped a bombshell, handing in his resignation before being welcomed by BDP President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Tuesday. BCP is a key partner in the UDC as their president Dumelang Saleshando also doubles as the Vice President of the Umbrella coalition. UDC Secretary General, Moeti Mohwasa declined to comment on the impact of Rammidi’s sudden resignation from a coalition partner, saying the man did not hold any important position in the UDC but at BCP.

“At this present moment, we cannot comment but BCP can since he was their member,” Mohwasa said. BCP president, Saleshando confirmed Rammidi’s resignation saying the latter only cited personal reasons as opposed to any wrongdoing on the side of his party. Immediately after he was welcomed at the BDP, there was talk of Rammidi having had financial problems assumed to have led to him seeking possible assistance from either the ruling party itself, or from a moneyed member of the ruling party who might have offered help only if the politician returned to the party. Social media posts yesterday suggested with ‘In the matter between’ cuttings that he was owing the National Development Bank (NDB) and his land was thus being auctioned away to recover the money.

The narrative thus pointed to him going cap in hand to the party that made him, moreso that in the opposition, no one seemed to care about his personal predicament. Rammidi is also believed to have lost patience with the leadership of the UDC that failed to allow for fair selection and election of candidates to represent the coalition. Rammidi has several times expressed sentiments seeking that primary elections be held by the UDC, a matter the party did not entertain. That way, Rammidi was left with a situation where he would have no parliamentary seat to contest for since his Kanye North constituency he represented as BCP candidate in 2014, was given to the BNF.

Nchi as he is affectionately known by his hordes of supporters debuted his political career at BDP in the Southern District where he once held the position of Chairperson for two terms before successfully trying his luck as Member of Parliament. He would later land himself an assistant ministerial position in the ministry of local government and lands in 2011. Rammidi was not only a Secretary General at BCP but a very important figure within the UDC who is well experienced as a politician, having earned his stripes through hard work and devotion to the struggle of political movements. When he joined BCP as their Secretary General, he had made it clear that if the party did not match his ambition for growth and win-win partnerships, he would not take long to make his mind to quit. Those close to him say a divided opposition does not make sense at all for him since it cannot topple the ruling party from power in the 2019 general elections.

He wanted the UDC member parties to disband and a form just one solid party where positions would be contested for. His desire to be a future leader of a party whilst at BDP was shown when he chose to resign as assistant minister to run for the position of Secretary General. Barely a month after being elected as Secretary General he resigned from BDP accusing former president Ian Khama of running the party like a one-man show following the 2011 industrial strike which left a good number of public servants jobless. He joined the BNF, but before long defected to the BCP. His sudden departure comes at a time when some disgruntled members of the UDC want the recent constitutional congress resolutions resolved as quickly as possible. He was welcomed to the BDP along with hordes of other BCP members, among them Phagenyane Phage, Councilor Elijah Motsamai, Ernest Nthobelang and University of Botswana academic Professor Thapelo Otlogetswe.

 

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega

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Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka

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NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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