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Parliament blocks Ex-MPs P8000 pay

The soon to be dissolved 11th parliament has decided against implementing the agreed living allowance of former legislators until later date since they are not catered for by the public pay system, WeekendPost has been told.

Earlier this year the National Assembly debated with vigour and passion salaries and allowances amendment bill. This resulted in the August house approving a 4 percent salary hike and delinking members of the National Assembly from the public service structure by 11 percent. Furthermore, parliament also agreed in principle that former MPs will get 20 percent of the current legislators’ salaries as living allowance. This was subjected to be ratified in the just ended meeting, but to no avail.

“They will not get anything for now,” said Minister of Presidential Affairs Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi in a brief interview. “We are still in consultations as government and I would not know when we will be done, but it is a matter that as government we are looking at.” The ministry was yet to respond to this publication’s questionnaire at the time of going to press. 

Molefhi could not specify the details of the consultations to this publication but sources indicated that the matter has been forwarded to Attorney General (AG) to see if there will not be any negative repercussions from the constitution. This now means former MPs who expected the approval of parliament during the July-August meeting, will have to wait a little longer, hopefully for November meeting.  The adjustment which excited legislators from the opposition and the ruling party alike, seen MPs salaries surging from P23 786 to P39 197 per month or P470 364 or P285 432 per annum as basic pay.

The former legislators were to be entitled to P8000 a month for a life time. “We are told that the public pay structure does not cater for us, thus we will get the incentive only after the law has been passed by parliament which will be in the next session. This is to also create a scale for us. That is what we have been told anyway,” Association of Former MPs Vice President David Magang told this publication.

He continued; “Of course we are disappointed as former legislators because we anticipated that by now we will be getting something so that we can live a dignified life as you might know that most of us are struggling. But what can we do? We will wait for government to create that structure in the public system and we are adamant that the 12th parliament will address that because our numbers keep on increasing. Some will not be returning back after the elections,” he said.

The Association of Former Members of Parliament is acting as an advisory body to the government of the day on matters of national interest. The decision to form the association was championed by mostly Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) erstwhile members like Ray Molomo, Shirley Segokgo and Magang who are also in the committee. Anyone who once served in the August House as an MP can join the association regardless of political party affiliation.


KHAMA REFUSES TO JOIN, MOGAE SAYS HE IS READY

The association which was registered in September last year still misses two faces of former Presidents Lt Gen Ian Khama and Festus Mogae who have not yet committed to join their colleagues. “Yo, wa ga Seretse [Ian Khama] is quiet about joining us but he has been approached. So we don’t know why he is mute whether he doesn’t want to join us or what we don’t know,” Magang shared with this publication.

On the other hand he said; “Mogae said he will join but he has been away with the international business but very soon we are expecting him to be joining the association once his schedule normalizes.” For his part Khama has in the past said he is not aware of the association. “I have not been formally told about it. Besides I don’t know the procedure as to who should approach who between them and I, should they send me an invite or I should just go because, before I became a President I was an MP,” he said.

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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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