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Elections 2019: BDF, BPS on high alert

As the 2019 General Elections draw nearer, the country’s security apparatus; the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Botswana Police Service (BPS), have stated that they remain on high alert to maintain public order during the elections.

Political experts and observers anticipate that the impending elections will be very competitive and hotly contested and therefore peculiar and like no other. For the first time in the past 12 elections in the country, the opposition conglomerate Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) presents a clear chance which has been the preserve of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Speaking to Weekend Post via the Director of Protocol and Public Affairs office, Tebo Dikole, the BDF Commander Placid Segokgo, has stated that they remain vigilant to maintain order and ready to assist if they are needed in the execution of excitable lots. “Notwithstanding section 61 of the Electoral Act sub section 1, the BDF Act, 2018 section 33 (1), succinctly states that ‘the Commander may, at the request of the Commissioner of Police, and with the consent of the President, authorise the use of any member or unit of the BDF in support of, or to give assistance to, the BPS in the discharge of their functions under section 6 of the Police Act,’ ” Segokgo pointed out.

He however maintained to this publication that the BDF wishes to state that the maintenance of peace and orderliness during elections is the prerogative of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the BPS. The BDF commander continued: “albeit it is worth noting that the BDF mission is and continues to be, to defend Botswana’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national interests.”

In a separate interview, Senior Superintendent Near Bagali, BPS's deputy Public Relations Officer, speaking on behalf of the Botswana Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe, stated that they will deploy the police across the country for any eventuality that may occur during the exercise of the election process. “The Botswana Police Service, will be taking into account that 2019 is an election year (National General Elections) and therefore provide a conducive environment through the maintenance of law and order,” Makgophe stated.

In a nutshell, he said, just like the past elections, the BPS is prepared for this year's National General Elections and the Police officers will be deployed across the country to carry out their mandate. He stressed that the mandate of the Botswana Police Service is to ensure the safety and security of the people of Botswana, as outlined in the BPS Act, Cap 21:01.  

The Act outlines the mandate of the BPS as follows; “the Service shall be employed throughout Botswana to protect life and property, prevent and detect crime, repress internal disturbances, maintain security and public tranquillity, apprehend offenders, duly enforce all written laws with which it is directly charged and generally maintain the peace”.

According to the Police Commissioner, it is for this reason that section 61 of the Electoral Act sub section 1 provides that Polling Officers and BPS officers, who will be on duty for the upcoming general elections are by law permitted to vote not more than 14 days before elections.
Meanwhile IEC Principal Public Relations Officer, Osupile Maroba concurred that there appears to be a lot of excitement surrounding the coming elections.

“I expect these elections will be very competitive. The mood is no longer than which that we are used to. There is too much excitement this time around,” he pointed out to Weekend Post. He explained that sometimes excitement may bring or come with challenges, and so when some people become excited they need to be controlled otherwise they can derail and disturb the peace and then the elections become chaos.

“We spoke to security apparatus especially the Police, so that in the event that there are public riots or a situation which wants some kind of attention they are prepared to control the situation to normalcy,” he insisted. In fact he emphasised that they have spoken about such issues to find out how they can control the situation if things spiral out of control.

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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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