Gaborone - New organisers of the troubled and controversial annual Miss Botswana beauty pageant have promised to redeem its reputation by holding a show that is not marred in controversies.
Speaking to reporters in Gaborone recently, the director of Development Advanced Institute (DIA), the company that has been engaged to organise the pageant, Benjamin Raletsatsi, revealed that it will be held on 17 August.
Raletsatsi said they came up with a five-year plan to turnaround the pageant and will primarily focus on bettering the pageant. He said the ultimate objective was to host the Miss World at the end of the five-year contract. He said the five-year plan will help them resuscitate the prestigious beauty pageant.
Raletsatsi said the pageant would be spearheaded by DIA and Botswana Council of Women (BCW).
Auditions will be held throughout the country this July while the finale will be held on 17 August, with the crew travelling to at least five towns searching for this year’s fairest of them all.
“We have so far identified five areas being Maun, Francistown, Palapye, Gaborone and Gantsi. We are still in talks with the sponsors so that we engage another town but I cannot say for now,” said Raletsatsi.
Raletsatsi said they were determined to host an event that would not be marred in controversy. Last year, the pageant was described as a joke after only four ladies out of the expected 12 participated.
BCW, which is the primary licence holder, was also criticised for failing to follow procedure as one of the leaders announced a resolution reached at their annual general meeting (AGM) last year not to have a Miss Botswana. But two days later, some members of the leadership revoked the statement and announced that the show would go on, something which many thought was a decision by external influence.
“This year we are all about correcting what happened last year. This year we are doing it properly. I know this sounds like an old song but last year’s event was taken completely out of context, people failed to understand and appreciate our efforts, given the circumstances,” Raletsatsi promised.
Despite the previous organisers promising to “re-launch and build trust in the Miss Botswana brand”, controversy swirled around the contest last year, with accusations of maladministration, resulting in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development taking the competition under its wings.
But at the time, the ministry distanced itself from the competition, instead only coming to ensure that last year's winners were paid. This was as a result of a standoff between the winners and BCW.