Thank you all for attending our Press Conference. Without much ado, I am here to announce that the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS Executive Director, Mr. Uyapo Ndadi, would step down at the end of December 2013. He has notified the BONELA Board of his intention to leave at the end of his contract in December 2013 and we have accepted his decision. He has been at the helm of BONELA since June 2009. Previously he was a volunteer in the Legal Department which he set up from 2004 as a law student. Upon graduating in 2006, he joined Collins Newman & Co and later on rejoined us as Legal Officer in 2007.
I would like to thank Ndadi for his sterling contribution to our work and his astute leadership. His love for BONELA and the cause is unquestionable. In 2011, Ndadi wanted to leave to pursue his other ambitions, and the then Board managed to convince him to stay. This time around we thought it would be selfish of us to attempt to stop him but rather to celebrate his contribution.
Under Ndadi’s leadership, we saw BONELA transform to be a household name, and very divisive in nature. Everyone has an opinion about what BONELA does, be it on the rights of people living with HIV or AIDS or sexual minorities. Ndadi has confronted issues with impeccable and admirable courage and resilience. We would remember him for successfully lobbying Members of Parliament to reject, modify or accept policies and laws. The Public Health law is one such example. He has developed the jurisprudence of Botswana’s legal system by working on cases of HIV dismissals at the workplace, wrongful HIV diagnosis and invasion of privacy. His efforts have been noticed by people locally and internationally, including eminent persons such as Barack Obama, who has previously invited him to the Whitehouse. He is also a recipient of an international award conferred on him by Junior Chamber International for being one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the world (TOYP).
Mr Ndadi led BONELA in the review of its strategy that saw BONELA transform from being an organization that works by itself to being a true network that works through and with others. The new strategy resulted in the change of the BONELA constitution, which he led and also led to BONELA restructuring and retrenching. These processes were difficult and required someone with a level of maturity and wisdom in the person of Ndadi.
Ndadi’s leaving BONELA will be a big loss, but we are comfortable that he has built and maintained a strong institutional foundation with a formidable team that will steer the ship forward. It is not surprising that BONELA is today, a member of the International AIDS Alliance family as a Linking Organization in Botswana. BONELA was accredited after a vigorous process of due diligence on our programming and organizational governance and accountability. BONELA has received numerous awards locally and regionally for being an effective, efficient and accountable organization. Last week we were awarded an award by PMR Africa for doing an ‘Excellent’ work in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Ndadi has also assured me that wherever he is going, he will remain in touch with the issues, aligned to our core values, and will continue to offer his expertise to the extent possible. Ndadi and BONELA will remain inseparable.
We are working closely with our partners to ensure the transition of the Executive Director is smooth. We are embarking on an extensive recruitment process to identify a suitable candidate to take over from Ndadi and provide dynamic leadership for BONELA beyond 2013. We are confident that even after Ndadi, BONELA will continue to enjoy stakeholders support and patronage.
As I conclude, I will personally remember Ndadi as an approachable, level-headed and intelligent lawyer, blogger, teacher and above all, a spirited activist. I wish him well in his future aspirations.
BY TSHIAMO RANTAO
(Board Chairperson-on behalf of the Board)