- “At the eleventh hour, stage fright got the best of me”- Kenosi
- Says she is a Political Science student and capable of good answer
- Elaborates her answer which was about need to re-skill the youth
- “Lawrence Ookeditse was conflicted”- Lawyer
Newly crowned Miss Botswana, Thata Kenosi says she was thrown off by the crowd’s reaction when attempting to answer her question at the pageant finale this past weekend.
Kenosi came under criticism after she cited ESP (Economic Stimulus Package) as one of the solutions to youth unemployment following a question from Dr. Dorcus Thobega, one of the judges at the finale. She said that while she would have come up with a competent answer as she is a political science student, “At the eleventh hour, stage fright got the best of me,” this is after she was booed while attempting to elaborate her answer.
When she asked the judge to repeat the question, Kenosi said she was formulating the answer in her head and trying to find angles she could use to answer it better. “So with me studying Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Botswana, I felt it was important for me to talk about already existing strategies that have already been implemented, hence the mention of ESP. I know people have already started calling me Miss ESP,” she said, chuckling.
The essence of her answer, she said, was to communicate the need to re-skill the youth because, “for one, a lot of university students do not have work experience before they go into the work force even though we have attachments in second and third year, once we go into the workforce there is really no foundation or practical experience that we can reference from and aspire to be entrepreneurs, and not all of us necessarily want become employed by big corporations,” she said.
Responding to the politically charged backlash that resulted from the perception that she was promoting the controversial stimulus package, Kenosi said that she was simply citing it as an example of a much broader answer.“Unemployment is everybody’s problem, from the youth of the day, parents and even government and various stakeholders…So the political backlash that has been going on about my answer was never my intention. As Miss Botswana, I represent Botswana and that means people from all political parties age or color or regions,” she explained.
Kenosi however said that she was undeterred by the on-going controversy regarding her answer and that she was excited and proud to be Miss Botswana. “I am really excited to be the Queen, I never expected it and this is not because I thought I was incapable but because I grew up as a tomboy who was passionate about the arts and never tried my luck in pageants. I have always known I have a strong personality and a strong voice so to have been given a chance to represent Botswana on its 50th year is amazing,” she said.
Monica Semolekae defends Kenosi
Miss Botswana, Monica Somolekae, who applauded the Miss Botswana production, says that while Kenosi’s answer may not have been the best answer, it does not mean that she is not intelligent,
“The minute she mentioned ESP, there were boos and murmurs from the crowd so I think that threw her off,” she said.
Somolekae was adamant that Kenosi deserved to win and the reaction to her triumph was typical in all competitions as people will not always agree with a contestant who was not their favorite “I think in the future, the Miss Botswana team ought to display the marks of the contestants to the pubic before the pageant so that they are also aware of how it works because I get the sense that people don’t know that the contestants are judged in the weeks before the pageant and the marks are combined with that from the question and answer session,” she explained
Lawrence Ookeditse was conflicted – Lawyer
Gaborone based lawyer, Kabo Motswagole, says the Director of the Youth Department at the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture Lawrence Ookeditse was conflicted and should not have been in the panel to judge Miss Botswana due to the likelihood of him deliberating on answers that have issues “touching on government”.
“Conflict of interest falls under the rule of common law and it is not codified, which means it is not written down. However, this law guides all companies, tender processes and board of directors. So yes, it is unfair and somewhat biased for Lawrence Ookeditse to have been a part of the deliberation on a question that speaks on the government of the day because he himself works for government,” he said. Motswagole said that by not recusing himself, Ookeditse was opening himself to questions on whether Kenosi won on merit and not influence or association.
Meanwhile attempts to get Ookeditse’s response were unsuccessful as his mobile was unreachable. This publication however established that he dismissed the criticism through his public Facebook page, saying most people did not understand the judging criteria.