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Dikgosi move against north/south political rhetoric

Members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi this week moved swiftly to neutralize the north/south rhetoric threatening to divide the country when electing the leadership of the House.On their first day of the 4th sitting of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi following the country’s recent general elections which almost sliced and diced the country between north and the south which pundits say threaten to disturb the peace and stability known to Botswana, dikgosi clinched to unity. 

The elections saw most part of the South rooting for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Party (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives winning patches of most constituencies in the north part of the country. To move away from such move, dikgosi this week counterbalanced their leadership during the election of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson on the opening day whereby they also took oath or affirmation of allegiance.

The Ntlo Ya Dikgosi Chairmanship contest was dominated by Southerners dikgosi being paramount Chiefs: Kgari Sechele of Bakwena; Tlokweng’s Puso Gaborone as well as Malope Gaseitsiwe II of the Bangwaketse. In the election, the members settled for Kgosi Gaborone with a whopping 16 votes’ against Malope’s 11 while Sechele trailed behind with 6 votes – out of the 34 cast.

Following the announcement of the results, Balete paramount Chief Mosadi Seboko stood up to persuade the house to nominate and vote for Kgosi Tshipe Tshipe of Mahalapye region who would later thrash Moeti Monyamane by 18 to 13 votes to secure the Vice Chairmanship position. Previously, both Chairmanship and Vice Chairmanship portfolios has been held by Puso Gaborone sand Malope Gaseitsiwe.

Speaking after his election, the new Chairperson of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi Gaborone said Batswana should lick old wounds and move forward. “We wish to work together to unite as a nation. Because we only have one country, one Botswana. So I pray for this leadership to find a common ground,” he stated.  He continued to point out that they wish dikgosi should be part of the much talked about constitutional review as there is need for it.

“As Ntlo Ya Dikgosi we want to make contribution on constitutional review and to ensure that bogosi becomes relevant. The government has stated its intention and it seems is committed to the review of the supreme law. The House embraces this exercise. We also wish to take part in the exercise. The review is crucial to modernize our laws to today’s standards and demands,” Gaborone added.

When advocating for changes in the constitution, the Chairman also added that there is need to rope in a Counsel and beef up security in the laws of the House of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi. “Some of the amendments include the inclusion of the Parliamentary Counsel in the rules of procedure as well as security in the Chambers,” he highlighted.  According to Gaborone, his new agenda is to enable House to amend the rules to enable the President Mokgweetsi Masisi to address the House annually.

“Part of the amendments include allowing special dignitaries or guests or visiting delegations, to allow this Honourable House,” he added. As part of his new agenda he also explained that they have Committees in Ntlo Ya Dikgosi which must resuscitated. A Political Analyst at the University of Botswana also observed and concurred that during the recent Ntlo Ya Dikgosi election you could see that there was an element of north/south divide which the members tried to counteract.

“The way they chose their Chair from South and their Vice Chair from north was calculative and I commend them,” he emphaised. He said Ntlo Ya Dikgosi is however just a toothless body with no powers since dikgosi moved to politics. “It’s so unfortunate that dikgosi decided to join politics. Then politics suppressed bogosi as their powers were taken. The power of dikgosi to allocate land was very key. It was taken to the Land boards and so they don’t have powers on land and many other things as they used to be,” he stated.

The academic also asserted that other tribes should be recognized. He continued: “it is clear that other tribes have been swallowed by the so called major tribes as prescribed in the constitution and this should be reviewed.” He stated that we need to acknowledge that when the country was established, bogosi was the backbone unlike now.

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Sub-Saharan Africa region urged to reorient health systems

25th September 2023

World Health Organization (WHO) last week invaded Botswana for the 73rd Regional Committee for Africa meeting. Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus made his way to Botswana, to understand the health landscape, systems and interventions put in place to promote and advance health, in a country that is looking to achieve Sustainable Development Goal three: Good Health and Well-being by 2030.

The meeting aimed at addressing and taking decisions on the pressing health challenges faced by African countries and developing strategies to strengthen health systems in all member states.

The conference discussed critical health challenges facing the African region. These challenges encompass a wide range of topics: infectious diseases, universal health coverage, health systems strengthening and emergency preparedness and response.

WHO boss, Dr Ghebreyesus said they are now working with member states to develop the 14th General Programme of Work for 2025 to 2028, and urged all member states of the African region to engage actively in the process.

“There are five priorities which are now becoming the basis of GPW14: to promote, provide, protect, power and perform for health. We should promote health and prevent disease by addressing its root cause, and this includes action to reduce tobacco use and harmful alcohol use, to make diets healthier by reducing salt and sugar intake, to increase physical activity and water, sanitation as well as hygiene.”

He further said climate crisis is a health crisis, adding that health systems are increasingly dealing with the consequences of climate change, in terms of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and the impacts of more frequent and more severe extreme weather events.

“Even as we work to decarbonize health systems, at least 15% of health facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity at all, and many more have unreliable access. This means surgeries and births are done in the dark, vaccines cannot be stored safely, and that vital medical equipment cannot function.”

Providing health by radically reorienting health systems towards primary health care, as the foundation of universal health coverage, is said to be more important in Africa than any other region, it has emerged.

“Across the region, hundreds of millions of people lack access to essential health services, or are pushed into poverty by catastrophic out-of-pocket spending. Closing these gaps must be top of the to-do-list for every member state. Maternal and child health also remains a major challenge in the continent. Two-thirds of all maternal deaths occur in Africa, and the latest estimates indicate that the maternal mortality ratio in the region is more than seven times higher than the SDG target.”

Dr Ghebreyesus further encouraged member states to work with WHO on the “Big Catch Up,” to close gaps in immunization coverage, and to reduce the unacceptably high burden of maternal mortality, by expanding access to services for sexual and reproductive health.

“Member States must take action to protect health by strengthening defense against health emergencies. They should engage actively in this once in a lifetime opportunity and deliver both the pandemic accord and the IHR reforms by May 2024, as a generational commitment that t is grounded in equity and addresses the critical gaps in the global health architecture.”

WHO urged countries to take action to power health by harnessing the power of science, research and development, data and digital technologies. “I also urge Member States to engage with the new Global Initiative on Digital Health, which holds enormous potential to support countries on their journey towards universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For her part, WHO Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti says there has been progress on the health status of the African people and the delivery of health services, but challenges persist.

“Government health spending is low in most of our countries. And Africa is home to two in three poorest persons making out-of-pocket payments for health. The number of women dying from pregnancy related causes remains unacceptable and riven b inequities. The increasing burden of non-communicable diseases in Africa has not been accompanied by an increase in investment in the control of these diseases by governments and partners.”





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25th September 2023

 The Gambling Authority continues to collaborate with international organisations and other jurisdictions to combat illegal gambling activities and share best practices for regulation of the industry.

Just recently (last week), the Gambling Authority Board Chairman, Mr. Marvin Thokodzani Torto, and Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Emolemo Peter Kesitilwe visited the United Kingdom (UK), Birmingham-based Gambling Commission on a benchmarking exercise aimed at maximising benefits of gambling to the economy while minimising harm to individuals and society.

The Gambling Commission is an executive, non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for regulating gambling and supervising gaming law in Great Britain.

During the visit, the Gambling Commission shared with the Gambling Authority how they regulate the industry in Great Britain, how it’s changed over the years, and how their learnings can assist the Gambling Authority as they enter a new era of growth and expansion with the desire to implement industry best practice for their future work.

Furthermore, the two entities discussed various measures aimed at preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime, as well as ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and further protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

The meeting also provided a timely opportunity to catch up on preparations for the upcoming International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) event being held in Gaborone, Botswana next month (October 16th – 19th, 2023).

“We’re looking forward to attending and meeting other gambling regulators from across the world to share best practice, discuss common challenges and tackle illegal gambling in ways that makes regulation work for all. Many thanks to Mr Marvin Thokodzani Torto (Chair) and Mr Peter Emolemo Kesitilwe (Acting CEO) for taking the time to visit us,” read a communique from Gambling Commission.



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Civil society reflect on Botswana’s progress in SDGs

25th September 2023

This week, the civil society assembled and reflected on the status of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The organizations, Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (BOCONGO), Global Call for Action Against Poverty as well as Success Capital congregated to recommend priorities for Botswana’s progress in Agenda 2030.

This year (2023) marks the mid-point, with only seven years left to accelerate climate action, eliminating poverty, hunger and ensure gender equality among thirteen other SDGs. The civil society says the global commitment has been integrated across national development plans and aligned to regional integration mechanisms and multilateral interventions.

“Botswana should not be an exception to ensuring the fulfilment of the SDGs: from ensuring capacity to collect data, to addressing governance shortcomings and service delivery. The People’s Assembly joins the rest of the world in galvanizing stakeholders towards ensuring no one is left behind.”

Civil society indicated that it ensured priority issues were raised at 2022’s Voluntary National Reviews that the government reported on; illuminating the gaps and aspirations for more meaningful engagement and inclusion.

“This year, challenges and shortcomings remain the same. Increasing concerns on gender-based violence, safety, media freedom, civil society resourcing, stigma, discrimination, non-communicable diseases and HIV/AIDS among other notable health challenges across the public health spectrum. We continue to raise concern across different platforms and mechanisms to ensure commitments are fulfilled and shortcomings addressed,” the civil society said.

The civil society called on Botswana to strengthen the baseline for measuring and collecting data on SDGs. “We also call on government to strengthen avenues for collaborative partnerships that leave no one behind. Representation in social participation mechanisms should reflect those most impacted. This should translate to expanding ‘who’ and ‘how’ communities and civil society are invited to decision making mechanisms.”

“Harnessing the demographic dividend of Botswana’s youth and diverse communities should be institutionalized and encouraged under the mindset change campaign. We implore for increased opportunities for dialogue and complimentary implementation in ensuring no one is left behind by engaging civil society meaningfully. This includes formal inclusion, representation and resourcing for civil society to participate in national, regional and global fora”

Furthermore, the civil society called on the private sector to engage them to advance the SDGs. “Multisectoral approaches can only strengthen development outcomes if hard-to-reach communities are included. We are on the ground as complimentary partners to the country’s development agenda.”

BOCONGO Executive Director, Maipelo Phale, said for SDGs to be accelerated, implemented and realized, all sectors of society should come up with robust partnership models to leverage the country’s development agenda.

“The People’s Assembly is a collective global form of solidarity and action reflecting how even with limited resources020, we can gather and unite for accelerating progress for the Decade of Action. Our members should continuously engage for our issues to be heard in spaces such as the United Nations General Assembly.”

Success Capital Founder, Dumiso Gatsha said Botswana is leading in reported rape incidents and inequality, stressing that this should not reflect in SDG progress and implementation.

“We should harness our leadership at the World Health Organization’s Executive Board, Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Secretariat and SADC Parliamentary Forum to improve Botswana civil society engagement. This can only be achieved through harnessing, strengthening and including grassroots civil society, communities and groups in Vision 2036 and Agenda 2063.”



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