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WANIFRA empowers women in the media

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Over 30 female journalists in leadership positions attended this year’s World’s Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WANIFRA) Women In News course last week in Johannesburg.

The gesture is a partnership with the School of Journalism at Wits University in South Africa. Under the arrangement, female journalists in leadership positions and those aspiring to be leaders attended one week training at the beginning of the programme. The second week of the training will be conducted towards the end of the programme.

There are take home assignments and workplace assignments that need to be taken as part of the certification. The course introduces the participants to management principles, finance for finance managers, people management, marketing and advertising, research and new technology, strategic planning and governance.

The theoretical principles are presented in the context of how they apply to the effective management of media organisations. Meanwhile women that attended the first leg of the training were empowered to be bold and resilient in their journalism career.

Co-founder of Jozi FM Kanyi Mkhonza came up with the notion of ‘Own it,’ under which she encouraged women to stamp their authority and to set up their own culture at work. She also taught on Design Team Agreement, under which she questioned the kind of atmosphere that managers want to create in their places of work. Among some of the human resource principles, Mkhonza encouraged leaders to share information and responsibilities, identify potential, coach and mentor talent, reward staff and handle confrontations maturely.

Mail and Guardian founding Editor Anton Harber encouraged women to take risks. “Success stories have an element of failure in them. Admit your mistakes and move on,” he said. Paul Fray, managing director of Fray Intermedia encouraged women to embrace the simple style of writing, saying it is the best. Editor of Moneyweb Holdings Ryk Van Niekerk said newsrooms must have a budget and that managers should only keep the best people.

In an interview with The Midweek Sun, chief Sub-editor of The Star newspaper in Kenya, Wanjiru Kinoti said she had learned that gender is not a standard issue, but rather pervasive. She said that almost every issue in news has a gender dimension. “For instance, transport is a gender issue. The lack of a good, reliable and safe public transport system can restrict women’s movements and activities and hence hamper their contribution to the economy,” she said.

Bureau chief of Mwananchi Communications in Tanzania Sharon Sauva, said she had learned how to manage people. “Before, managing people was a big issue for me because companies always give people positions without any training on people management,” she said.

WANIFRA is a global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers, representing more than 18 000 publications, 15 000 online sites and over 3000 companies in more than 120 countries. It exists to promote media freedom and the economic independence of news media as an essential condition of that freedom.

Women In News works with newspapers and their high potential female employees to overcome the gender gap in management and senior editorial positions.

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I broke the law in good faith – Moswaane

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YES I ERRED: Ignatius Moswaane is weary of some within his party, BDP.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane, has his electorates behind him. The maverick MP has recently found himself on the wrong side of the law after circulating a graphic video clip on social media depicting a woman in South Africa being brutally knifed to death.

At a consultative meeting with his constituents at the Leseding Hall on Saturday, he explained that his action was done in good faith. “I am a member of the SADC committee that deals with issues of abuse and harassment relating to women and children. I shared the video on facebook with our parliamentary group. This was to bring about awareness amongst ourselves on gender violence and brutality against women,” he said to the bemused audience. Moswaane, who admitted that he broke the law, swears that, the video was leaked deliberately by his enemies in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to put him into trouble with the law and jeopardise his political career.

The outspoken legislator claimed that when he shared a similar video of an unnamed country in the past, he achieved the desired results because the SADC committee he is a member of, took up the matter and an investigation was made. According to recent media reports, the MP has been viewed with suspicion of disloyalty to President Mokweetsi Masisi given the ongoing feud the state president has with his predecessor Ian Khama. Those looking at him with suspicion have suggested that he was loyal to Khama who is leading a crusade to topple Masisi from power at the general elections this year.

According to Moswaane, some with vested interests in the BDP want him out of the race for Francistown West constituency so that their preferred candidate may contest in his place. “I do not think it is the party. Maybe it is just some individuals in a faction within the party.” After the video was leaked, BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi issued a statement expressing dismay at the circulating video.

The MP however, does not see the video clip incident in isolation. He is convinced that considering his motive of sensitising people of the brutal act, he should have been warned instead of being arrested and his cell phone taken away from him. “It is clear that DIS is looking for something else in my cell phone which has got nothing to do with the video,” said Moswaane who accused the spy agency, DIS and his political opponents in the BDP of working against him. During question and comments time, a woman who introduced herself only as Senjoba, called for financial support for Moswaane should he need the services of a lawyer.

Another speaker, Moalosi said that what was happening to the MP was an indication that no one is safe. “The opposition has always said that DIS is used for witch-hunting. It shows we are also not protected,” he said. Olebile Motsamai called on the people to protect their MP. “As the electorate, you know what to do to end these things,” said Motsamai. The legislator

recounted a number of instances where some of his constituents have come to confess to him that DIS had offered them money to help frame him but they refused. This is not the first time that the MP has accused DIS of being used for political ends. The head of the spy agency, Peter Magosi has, in the past, rubbished Moswaane’s claims that he is being followed.

Moswaane’s collision with the BDP leadership is not new as he has also clashed with the leadership of former president Khama. In 2009 Moswaane contested and won Monarch south ward as an independent candidate after rejecting the primary election results which he found controversial.

In 2013 he and the BDP were disqualified from contesting a by-election by the Independent Electoral Commission. This was after the party had neglected to hear Whyte Marobela who had challenged the primary election results involving himself and Moswaane.

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BEWARE THE BPF

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NOT TRUSTED: The BNF veterans body does not trust anything with BDP roots

Botswana National Front (BNF) Veterans Association is cautioning the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to “tread carefully” regarding a possible working relationship with newly-formed Botswana Patrictic Front (BPF).

“UDC has to tread carefully because BDP never changes and the opposition never learns,” said the Association’s Chairman Patrick Kgoadi ahead of their meeting this weekend.The BPF is the latest breakaway offspring of the ruling party and is backed by a number of former BDP’s disgruntled members among them former president Ian Khama, former minister Biggie Butale and Tati East MP Guma Moyo. At a recent meeting in Serowe, Khama confirmed the membership of Moyo while over this past weekend, Butale insinuated that former minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was also a member of the new party.

Kgoadi said even though it might be seen to be a good thing to work with BPF, the opposition should vigorously scrutinise the party and its intended purpose as the relationship could backfire and cost the opposition victory in the national polls. The purpose of the Saturday meeting is to discuss the collapsed structures of BNF, preparations for 2019 general elections, developments at UDC and formation of new party BPF.

According to Kgoadi, they have observed that the BNF structures are not as active as they should be especially during the election year.“Our structures used to be more active on election year. This year things are just blurry and this is worrisome. Even at UDC level BNF should be playing a leading role not only in the presidency but across the country. “We always have to be taking a leading role as a party that plays a significant role in uniting opposition parties.

“So as veterans we would be discussing these issues and how we could advise both the BNF and UDC leadership,” said Kgoadi. The veterans have since the formation of the association been at loggerheads with the BNF Central Committee on how things are run both at the BNF and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The veterans have thus been accused by the party leadership of always blowing things out of proportion and failing to use proper party channels when discussing internal matters.

BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa has on several occasions pointed out that the veterans have served the party for long and should know processes and procedures to be followed when addressing internal matters. He expressed concern that the veterans always use channels that are not sanctioned by the party and its constitution. Kgoadi said the BNF central committee has for long been disingenuous and refused to meet them since 2017.

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