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Cllr Tshiping to replace Makgato at Women’s Wing

Publishing Date : 20 January, 2020

Author : DAVE BAAITSE

In the wake of the news that former legislator for Sefhare- Ramokgonami and Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Women’s Wing President and member of the Central Committee, Dorcas Makgato Kobela will be serving the country on an international mission.


The move will leave the position of Women’s Wing President vacant. However, allegations have been very rife that Moshupa East special nominated councillor, Ponatshego Tshiping is the woman eyed for the position. On Tuesday this week, the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation announced that His Excellency, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has appointed Dorcas Makgato as Botswana’s High Commissioner – designate to the Commonwealth of Australia.


The circular reads, “Makgato brings to the Foreign Service a wealth of experience and knowledge from the private sector and government, spanning over 20 years. She served as a Member of Parliament from 2009 to 2019. During this period, Ms. Makgato also served as Minister in the Ministries of: Trade and Industry; Health and Wellness; Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs; and most recently, in the Ministry of Transport and Communication.


Prior to this, Makgato served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority which is now the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre. She has also served in different Private Sectors and Government Boards, as well as held several memberships in various organisations.

Ms. Makgato is expected to take up her appointment in Australia towards the end of February 2020. She replaces Ambassador Lapologang C. Lekoa, who currently serves as a Resident Ambassador at the Ministry Headquarters. The appointment is effective upon assumption of duty”.


Sources at Tsholetsa House have linked the Women’s Wing vacant top position to a close ally of President Masisi’s ally and one of the longest serving BDP activists, Ponatshego Tshiping who hails from Moshupa. Tshiping is currently the sitting nominated Councillor for Moshupa East and an additional member of the BDP executive committee. She is also a Chairperson of Digatlhamelamasisi Multipurpose Team at Moshupa that honoured President Masisi in May 2018.


Speaking during the event, Councillor Tshiping said it was a ‘brave step’ they took to celebrate and welcome President Masisi to the country’s highest office. “Ever since you assumed the presidency, these benevolent souls have been nagging me to organise a session to usher you to your new post in a special way and I have been trying to persuade you to give us a slot in your tight schedule,” Cllr Tshiping said.


President Mokgweetsi Masisi also took the opportunity to salute Moshupa based Digatlhamelamasisi Multipurpose Team for their gesture at a time where his fallout with his predecessor Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama was now taking a bitter twist. Digatlhamelamasisi resonated the saying that ‘bravery is not all about swords and charging into battle’ by organising what they termed a ‘surprise party’ for President Masisi where they also donated 11 herds of cattle and a billy goat at the family farm at Mmatseta.


Contacted for comment BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi said everything is a process, they are yet to convene the Women’s Wing executive and notify them of the appointment of Makgato to the special envoy as seen in the circular. “The Central Committee of the BDP will then convene and make a decision going forward as is a norm when one resigns or dies”. Balopi said at the moment no decision has been made.


In a rather shocking submission, the BDP SG alleges that the party might not go for their elective congress unless the Central Committee comes to the conclusion. Balopi said the 2019 congress that was held in Mochudi was a regular party congress, so at the moment they have not decided whether they will be going for the elective congress nor not. “The Central Committee is the only organ of the party with those powers, so we will meet soon”.


Balopi also said at the moment no names have been put forward by the Women’s Wing to replace Dorcas Makgato. Article 30.1 of the BDP constitution reads, “Whether the party is in power or not, members of Central Committee, save the President, shall be elected every two (2) years at the Party National Congress;’’


Article 30.6.5 reads, “In the event of a Central Committee member, other than one of the six office bearers resigning, being incapacitated, dying or otherwise ceasing to be a member of the Central Committee, the President of the Party shall appoint another person to fill the vacancy, pending the next National Congress. In the case that one of offices in the central committee falling vacant, it shall be filled as specified in article 16.10”.

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