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New KDC chair calls for a better Kweneng

With the capital village of Kweneng District Council (KDC), Molepolole, being one the largest traditional villages in Africa with a population of over 70 000, the newly elected KDC chairman Motlhophi Leo has shared his fiver-year vision which is primarily focused on bringing basic services to the residents of the region with industrialisation as a secondary objective.

In an interview with WeekendPost this week, Leo is clear that he wants everything good for the district. He says this is achievable as his own Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) managed to take all the eight parliamentary seats in the area. “Out of 82 council seats only nine are for opposition, so this means as a party we should also work as there is no excuse. We have the numbers and we should push for motions that would be centric to the inhabitants of the district,” he said.

In his script to transform a district which is closer to the capital city, Leo has decided to call a leadership retreat in Manong Lodge next week where captains of various sectors will map the way forward for the district. Among the stakeholders expected to attend are all the eight legislators, councillors, traditional leadership, police and other interested parties who are advocating for the development in the region. As of 2011, the total population of the district was 304,549.

“We need developments in our area especially in our headquarters (Molepolole) which is also the third largest populated area in the country. For a long time the people have been crying about shortage of water and we thought that was over when the Ga-Mononyane mini station was erected unfortunately it has detoured its pipe. So this is one area that we need to priorities as the district leaders,” said Leo who was the KDC chairman from 2009 to 2014.

Another ambition that the chairman wishes to see it through during his five-year term is to ensure that big villages within the district have sewerage system. This he says is disappointing for a region as vast as KDC not to have the system despite being so populated and sophisticated.  “It is very disappointing to say the least,” he lamented before continuing. “This should be another priority that should be fought at all the structures including council and parliament so that it can be put in national development agenda.”

It has been long since the Molepolole storm water drainage was included in the national development grid but up to now nothing has materialised. Last year’s rainstorms which put the village to a standstill was a wake-up call for the leaders to draw a master plan of the storm water drainage infrastructure.

“We should show the government the need for this [storm water drainage] in our area. Imagine people who mostly commute from here [Molepolole] to Gaborone for work stranded on the other side because of a two hours rain,” Leo who is also a councillor for Loologa Ward in Molepolole South constituency expressed his dissatisfaction. Leo has also allocated roads in the district a chapter in his script. According to Leo, roads are not only easing movement of people and goods but poor roads also account to many mortalities in the region.

“It is an area of concern, if you can see how congested our roads (A10, A12) are in the mornings and evenings you would not like it. So all the concerned parties should speak for that in every fora available so that our people get the best. Look at Thamaga- Molepolole road, it is dilapidated, and Molepolole-Lentsweletau worse. But I have engaged the Minister of Transport and Communications about this and he has assured me that he will do all he can to remedy the situation,” said Leo.

He has also highlighted that he wants the internal roads prioritised to ease the movement of people within the villages. With the whole country under petty crime siege, the new chairman wants Molepolole Police Station to be upgraded. This, he says will help in curbing of crimes like smash and grab and burglary. However, interim interventions will be discussed at a retreat to be held next week.

EDUCATION CRISIS

Kweneng just like other districts has been recording unsatisfactory results across all levels. This is giving the new chair headache. Leo promises to fight with everything at his disposal to ensure that results improve during his tenure. This will include regular meetings with head-teachers, teachers to understand the root cause of this and come up with ideas to improve the education in the area especially in rural areas lying in the western side of the region.

 “In Molepolole alone we have 91 primary schools and you will find that some of these classes are taught outside and in these modern days that has been overtaken by events and we should advocate for more classes so that students are taught in a conducive environment, it could be the reason why we are recording poor results,” he said.

BUSINESSES SHOULD SET UP IN KDC

KDC chairman is on record conceding that it will be difficult to lure investors in the region while they are still grappling with challenges like poor roads network, sewerage, drainage and crime. He will however soon convene a meeting with some investors to get from the horse’s mouth why they are not expanding and to others why they are not setting up in the KDC despite its proximity to the capital city.

 “We have a lot of human resources that could do any job and our closeness to Gaborone should be an advantage because raw materials would take short time to arrive and operation start,” he advocated. He is also concerned about the business community in the area which he says is not giving back to the societies which they operate in. “Another thing is our investors are not giving back to the community as the government encourages. They can help us to achieve better results in education and other sectors. We will meet with them so that they can share with us why they are not giving back to the community,” Leo concluded.

DID YOU KNOW?

Kweneng is the only district without a foreign border. It borders Central District in northeast, Kgatleng District on the east, South-East District in southeast, Southern District in south, Kgalagadi District in the west, Ghanzi District in the north.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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