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BDP has no guarantee of 2019 electoral victory report

For the first time in the history of the country, ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), has no guarantee of winning the 2019 General Elections. According to the Africa report titled “Botswana unravels: unmasking Africa’s democracy poster child”, released on Wednesday 28th August 2019, the BDP finds itself not in the obvious books of old glory and landslide victories.

“The election is too close to call. For the first time since 1965, despite having a slight edge, BDP has no guarantee of electoral victory,” the report boldly states. It posits that a lot hangs on how BDP supporters react to former president Ian Khama’s new party, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).  “If the majority of BaNgwato follow their chief, the BDP hegemony will be dented and the first past the post system will not help BDP. It is likely that the BDP already, losing numbers, will at least lose some supporters,” it emphasizes.

The report insists that the Khama factor cannot be ignored, and that although he is loathed in the urban areas, he is still popular in the rural areas, in particular in BaNgwato (Central District). It is not yet clear what impact the entry into opposition politics by Khama is likely to have on the outcome of the upcoming 2019 elections in October. However, the best case is Khama, riding on his chieftainship, will haemorrhage BaNgwato votes from the BDP, causing it the greatest damage ever. It further says that only a united opposition would be devastating and likely defeat BDP.

The central region in the country is huge and the biggest. Of the total 57 constituencies, it has 15 constituencies. In the past election, in 2014, BDP won all of them. Khama’s influence on his subjects to turn against the BDP not clear Africa report further says however, that it is not clear whether he (Khama) can influence his “subjects” to turn against the ruling BDP.   “But, the politicisation of ethnicity or the ethnicisation of politics is not a good thing. It has been the foundation of Africa’s problems. However, this may not matter to Khama as the Paramount Chief of the BaNgwato,” it states.  

The report highlights that although when he left office last year, Khama backed his Vice president, Mokgwetsi Masisi, to succeed him, and the relationship between the two has soured since then. Moreover, it makes mention that the jury is out on what the impact of the fallout – played out in public – between Khama and incumbent President Masisi will be. “He has fallen out with his predecessor and formed his party, the BPF; the worst-case scenario would be to add to the already divided opposition and only increase the vote split, to the benefit of the BDP,” report posits.

Khama’s legacy working against him and the opposition

But Khama was not universally loved, the report asserts while adding that he was said to be dictatorial, running the party and government as he did the army, which he headed before becoming president. His intelligence unit was widely feared and allegedly intimidated and abducted people, report continues.

It further says that he attacked judicial independence by threatening, intimidating, and even suspending judges and forcing them to apologise. He also muzzled the press with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), arresting and detaining journalists for exposing corruption, it points out.

In addition Africa report explained that the feared Directorate for Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) arrested and detained journalists, charging them with sedition for reporting on allegations of corruption related to R250-million purchase of train wagons by Botswana Railways. Under Khama, the report asserted that the country slid into authoritarianism. “Policy decisions related to land and wildlife directly benefited Khama financially. Critics of his unfair treatment of the indigenous San – original inhabitants of the country – were intimidated if they were local and expelled if they were foreigners.”

The San themselves, it says, have been pushed off their land, which has been appropriated for mining, allocated for large-scale agriculture or for wildlife tourism – in which Khama is believed to have personal and financial interests. “Public funds have been used to build a luxurious holiday villa for Khama. The hushed whispers and grumblings were that Khama was running the country as a paternalistic feudal chief would a chiefdom, or as an army general would run his army.”

Skewed electoral system may still benefit the BDP, but not cast-iron


According to the Africa report, the first-past-the-post electoral system can help elect into power candidates or parties with very little popular support.  In previous years, BDP’s support was narrow, ranging between 51% and 55% but was still kept in power.  “In the 2014 election, for example, the BDP won 37 out of 57 possible seats. In numbers, 37 seats translated to 320,657 votes. The opposition and independents collectively garnered 369,595 votes translating to only 20 seats. Aided by divided, single-minded, and individualistic opposition parties, unable to come together to defeat it, the BDP successfully retained power minus “popular” support,” report highlights.

It seems preposterous that, with far fewer people voting for it than they did for the opposition, the BDP not only won 17 more seats than the opposition in Parliament but also the mandate to govern, reports highlighted adding that the skewed nature of the electoral system is what has kept the BDP in power.

“Irrespective of the allegations of vote rigging by the opposition, clearly the system is rigged. Unless it is reformed to make it more inclusive by ensuring that actual votes translate into some say in government, the BDP will continue to retain power even as the numbers of Batswana that vote for it compared to the opposition continue to dwindle.”  There are many permutations, report says adding that the first-past-the-post system continues to present a challenge and unless the opposition unites as one unit and presents single candidates, it is likely to favour the ruling party.

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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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