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Saturday, 02 December 2023

Mzwinila wants extra P2.4 billion for water projects


The Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila has announced this week that Water Quality Monitoring Equipment Project Budget has increased from USD$ 1. 2 million to USD$ 3. 4 million.

Mzwinila said this when briefing stakeholders on the progress and status of Botswana Emergency Water Security and Efficiency (BEWSE) in Gaborone. Minister Mzwinila noted that there is a re- tendering for this project which was further delayed due to the unavailability of World Banks STEP system. Mzwinila said BEWSE project has three components: (1) improve availability of water supply and efficiency of services, (2) improve wastewater and sludge management, and (3) sector reform and institutional strengthening.

The first component of Water Supply projects, the Minister said, is currently 10 of 12 projects that are still in the procurement for Design Review or Design and Build/Design, Supply and Install phase with six of these in the evaluation stage- North East, Boteti, Mosu, Malwelwe, Mathethe, and Francistown. Minister Mzwinila explained that the safeguards are delaying the procurement process for three projects- Selibe Phikwe, Kuke and Bere. These are the environmental and social impact analysis issues.

According to Mzwinila the second component of Waste and Sludge Management entails rehabilitation or refurbishment of three wastewater treatment plants; Mambo, Letlhakane and Lobatse. Mambo project is half way through the feasibility phase, while Letlhakane feasibility has now commenced and Lobatse has awarded the contract and feasibility will commence in February 2020.

In the third component, which is Institutional Strengthening and Capacity building, six (6) studies have signed contracts and started implementation. These are development of raw water abstraction and pricing strategy; development of water conservation and demand management strategy; study on the demarcation of catchment areas; saline groundwater options study; study on the management of aquifer recharge (design and options) and non-site-specific equipment- ground and surface water monitoring equipment.

The Minister further explained that three (3) studies are already at Expression of Interest (EOI) evaluation stage. These are detailed assessment and prioritization plans for long term water security; revision of Water Act and related pieces of legislation and establishment of independent water regulator and development of national sanitation strategy.

Two (2) studies are already at TOR level and have been submitted to WBG. These are development of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) framework for water and sanitation projects and amendment of the national and wastewater policy. Three (3) study projects are still at conceptualization and development of the TOR. The progress for the projects is as follows;

Purchasing and installation of site- specific equipment- surface water and groundwater is planned to be synchronized with the development of the Total Water Management System (TWMS). The feasibility study for TWMS is completed while negotiations with K- Water is ongoing on how to carry out the synchronization. The Minister also confirmed that the development of TOR for drought preparedness and management plan, and the long term national water security strategy is ongoing to be completed by March 2020.

According to Mzwinila, Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) currently has eight (8) projects currently under this component. “Progress is still slow. Notable progress was recorded in only two (2) projects; the Non-Revenue Water Reduction Program and Development of a Water Supply and Sanitation Design Manual projects. The progress for the projects is as follows;

Non- Revenue Water Reduction Program is in two Phases. Phase 1: Assessment of Non-Revenue Water Status at different Management Centres is completed. Phase 2: Implementation of Recommendations of Phase 1 is at procurement stage (Procurement of Consultancy for Technical and Commercial Advisory Support; Procurement of Goods Procurement of Works to await appointment of Consultant)

Implementation of Meter Reading and Billing system improvements as per the recommendations of the NRW Strategy Report. Project will await the appointment of NRW Consultant to provide input into the Draft TORs. Development of a Water Supply and Sanitation Design Manual is at procurement stage. The closing of the EOI advert was on 09th January 2020. The project will then move to issuing of Request for Bid.

Mzwinila also submitted that Water Quality Monitoring Equipment project budget has increased from USD$ 1. 2 million to USD$ 3. 4 million. Furthermore there is a re-tendering for this project. Re-tendering process was further delayed due to the unavailability of World Banks STEP system.

Review and implementation of energy reduction strategy; progress to date; Project scope revised at component 3 Projects Meeting on 17th July 2019, to focus on review and implementation of energy reduction strategy. SMEC Audit report has been shared with WB for review and WB to advise this is adequate.

“One (1) project has been added under WUC component 3: Groundwater Monitoring for selected well fields. Draft TORs prepared and under WUC Peer Review. Two (2) projects have been put on hold and will resume after completion of Itemogo Project (WUC Restructuring) are Development of WSS Capital Investment Book and Support for Implementation of Institutional Strengthening”.

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19 Bokamoso Private Hospital nurses graduate at Lenmed Nursing College

28th November 2023

The graduation of 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College marks a significant milestone in their careers. These nurses have successfully completed various short learning programs, including Adult Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Nursing Care, Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing, Anaesthetic Nursing, and Recovery Room Nursing. The ceremony, held in Gaborone, was a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Lenmed Nursing College, a renowned healthcare group with a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana, has been instrumental in providing quality education and training to healthcare professionals. The Group Head of Operations, Jayesh Parshotam, emphasized the importance of upskilling nurses, who are at the forefront of healthcare systems. He also expressed his appreciation for the partnerships with Bokamoso Private Hospital, the Ministry of Health, and various health training institutes in Botswana.

Dr. Morrison Sinvula, a consultant from the Ministry of Health, commended Lenmed Health and Lenmed Nursing College for their commitment to the education and training of these exceptional nurses. He acknowledged their guidance, mentorship, and support in shaping the nurses’ careers and ensuring their success. Dr. Sinvula also reminded the graduates that education does not end here, as the field of healthcare is constantly evolving. He encouraged them to remain committed to lifelong learning and professional development, embracing new technologies and staying updated with the latest medical advancements.

Dr. Gontle Moleele, the Superintendent of Bokamoso Private Hospital, expressed her excitement and pride in the graduating class of 2023. She acknowledged the sacrifices made by these individuals, who have families and responsibilities, to ensure their graduation. Dr. Moleele also thanked Lenmed Nursing College for providing this opportunity to the hospital’s nurses, as it will contribute to the growth of the hospital.

The certificate recipients from Bokamoso Private Hospital were recognized for their outstanding achievements in their respective programs. Those who received the Cum Laude distinction in the Adult Intensive Care Unit program were Elton Keatlholwetse, Lebogang Kgokgonyane, Galaletsang Melamu, Pinkie Mokgosi, Ofentse Seboletswe, Gorata Basupi, Bareng Mosala, and Justice Senyarelo. In the Emergency Nursing Care program, Atlanang Moilwa, Bakwena Moilwa, Nathan Nhiwathiwa, Mogakolodi Lesarwe, Modisaotsile Thomas, and Lorato Matenje received the Cum Laude distinction. Kelebogile Dubula and Gaolatlhe Sentshwaraganye achieved Cum Laude in the Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing program, while Keletso Basele excelled in the Anaesthetic Nursing program. Mompoloki Mokwaledi received recognition for completing the Recovery Room Nursing program.

In conclusion, the graduation of these 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College is a testament to their dedication and commitment to their profession. They have successfully completed various short learning programs, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields. The collaboration between Lenmed Nursing College, Bokamoso Private Hospital, and the Ministry of Health has played a crucial role in their success. As they embark on their careers, these nurses are encouraged to continue their professional development and embrace new advancements in healthcare.

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BNF secures 15 constituencies in UDC coalition, wants more

28th November 2023

The Botswana National Front (BNF) has recently announced that they have already secured 15 constituencies in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, despite ongoing negotiations. This revelation comes as the BNF expresses its dissatisfaction with the current government and its leadership.

The UDC, which is comprised of the BNF, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Alliance for Progressives (AP), and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), is preparing for the upcoming General Elections. However, the negotiations to allocate constituencies among the involved parties are still underway. Despite this, the BNF Chairman, Patrick Molotsi, confidently stated that they have already acquired 15 constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally.

Molotsi’s statement reflects the BNF’s long-standing presence in many constituencies across Botswana. With a strong foothold in these areas, it is only natural for the BNF to seek an increase in the number of constituencies they represent. This move not only strengthens their position within the UDC coalition but also demonstrates their commitment to serving the interests of the people.

In a press conference, BNF Secretary General, Ketlhafile Motshegwa, expressed his discontent with the current government leadership. He criticized the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for what he perceives as a disregard for the well-being of the Batswana people. Motshegwa highlighted issues such as high unemployment rates and shortages of essential medicines as evidence of the government’s failure to address the needs of its citizens.

The BNF’s dissatisfaction with the current government is a reflection of the growing discontent among the population. The Batswana people are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the failure to address pressing issues. The BNF’s assertion that the government is playing with the lives of its citizens resonates with many who feel neglected and unheard.

The BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, even before the negotiations have concluded, is a testament to their popularity and support among the people. It is a clear indication that the Batswana people are ready for change and are looking to the BNF to provide the leadership they desire.

As the negotiations continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the interests of the people. The allocation of constituencies should be done in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that the voices of all citizens are represented. The BNF’s success in securing constituencies should serve as a reminder to the other parties of the need to listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people they aim to represent.

In conclusion, the BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, despite ongoing negotiations, highlights their strong presence and support among the Batswana people. Their dissatisfaction with the current government leadership reflects the growing discontent in the country. As the UDC coalition prepares for the upcoming General Elections, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize the needs and aspirations of the people. The BNF’s success should serve as a reminder of the importance of listening to the voices of the citizens and working towards a better future for Botswana.








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Children’s summit to discuss funding of NGOS

21st November 2023

One of the key issues that will be discussed by the Childrens’ Summit, which will be hosted by Childline Botswana Trust on 28th – 30th November in Gaborone, will be the topical issue of financing and strengthening of civil society organizations.

A statement from Childline Botswana indicates that the summit will adopt a road map for resourcing the children’s agenda by funding organizations. It will also cover issues relating to child welfare and protection; aimed at mobilizing governments to further strengthen Child Helplines; as well as sharing of emerging technologies to enhance the protection of Children and promotion of their rights.

According to Gaone Chepete, Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement towards promoting practices and policies that fulfil children’s rights and welfare.

“Child Helplines in the region meet on a bi-annual basis to reflect on the state of children; evaluate their contribution and share experiences and best practice in the provision of services for children,” said Chepete.

The financing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the state or its functionaries has generated mixed reactions from within the civil society space, with many arguing that it threatened NGOs activism and operational independence.

In February 2019, University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo released a paper titled “State philanthropy: The demise of charitable organizations in Botswana,” in which he faulted then President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama for using charity for political convenience and annexing the operational space of NGOs.

“Civil society is the domain in which individuals can exercise their rights as citizens and set limits to the power of the state. The state should be developing capable voluntary organizations rather than emaciating or colonizing them by usurping their space,” argued Dipholo.

He further argued that direct involvement of the state or state president in charity breeds unhealthy competition between the state itself and other organizations involved in charity. Under these circumstances, he added, the state will use charity work to remain relevant to the ordinary people and enhance its visibility at the expense of NGOs.

“A consequence of this arrangement is that charitable organizations will become affiliates of the state. This stifles innovation in the sense that it narrows the ability of charitable organizations to think outside the box. It also promotes mono-culturalism, as the state could support only charitable organizations that abide by its wishes,” said Dipholo.

In conclusion, Dipholo urged the state to focus on supporting NGOs so that they operate in a system that combines philanthropic work and state welfare programs.

He added that state philanthropy threatens to relegate and render charitable organizations virtually irrelevant and redundant unless they re-engineer themselves.

Another University of Botswana (UB) academic, Professor Zibani Maundeni, opined that politics vitally shape civil society interaction; as seen in the interactions between the two, where there is mutual criticism in each other’s presence.

Over the years, NGOs have found themselves grappling with dwindling financial resources as donors ran out of money in the face of increased competition for financing. Many NGOs have also been faulted for poorly managing their finances because of limited strategic planning and financial management expertise. This drove NGOs to look to government for funding; which fundamentally altered the relationships between the two. The end result was a complete change in the operational culture of NGOs, which diminished their social impact and made them even more fragile. Increased government control through contract clauses also reduced NGOs activism and autonomy.

However, others believe that NGOs and government need each other, especially in the provision of essential services like child welfare and protection. Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele said government considers NGOs as critical partners in development.

“We recognize the role that NGOs play a critical role in the country’s development agenda,” said Modukanele.

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