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Masisi torn between Khama, Mogae

President Mokgweetsi Masisi is torn between his number one enemy former Presidents, Lt Gen Ian Khama and Festus Mogae, as pressure mounts from his inner circle to revoke some of entitlements of former presidents.

If he is to amend the Act which was altered in 2017 to appease Khama, it will naturally affect Mogae’s entitlements. Sources within the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have revealed that some democrats have been mounting pressure on the President to revoke some of Khama’s benefits. What they find ironical in the history of Botswana is the perpetual use of the luxurious official government vehicles bearing the BX number plates by the former President in opposition party events.

After resigning from the ruling BDP at a consultative meeting in Serowe almost two months back, former President Khama joined the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), a party he facilitated its formation, as a Patron. In a bizarre turn of events, Khama arrived to a swarming crowd at Kanye during the BPF launch in his luxurious black Lexus, something which irked members of the ruling party.

The contention is that now that he joined opposition, the Khama should not be allowed to use official government vehicles bearing the BX number plates on opposition events. Former Presidents’ benefits provides that a former president be afforded an official transportation and it does not indicate any limitations as to where they go and in extension which event they attend.

Sometime in June this year, Masisi upon his arrival from an international trip in the United States, apologised to the nation for what he termed ‘wrongly amending the former Presidents Benefits Act’ to please Khama. Masisi in his capacity as the former Vice President then and leader of the house which dispersed at midnights, is the custodian and champion of the new Act. President Masisi was quoted in one of the local newspapers saying, at the time opposition parties warned against the idea to please Khama but he and other BDP MPs turned a blind eye.  

"I owe you and the opposition an apology. We made a mistake on Khama. We apologise for not listening to the opposition. It is sad. We thought it would never be like this. We thought the assurance that once I (in reference to Khama) am allowed to work I will not destabilize the government, and this is a total somersault."

He reiterated that: "We made a mistake on the passing of the amendments to the former Presidents Benefits Act. We made a mistake taking it that when the Presidents retired they will not work. If they did their benefits were to be withdrawn; work is much influence." He also revealed that had they not made the "big mistake, we would be withdrawing all benefits for former President Khama if he works because he is retired and should not be working as per the previous retired Presidents Benedict Act."

He further stated that: "We made a very big mistake. I am the first to admit it, a very big mistake.  Because if that leverage was still there we would withdraw all the benefits that former President Khama has for engaging in politics again because he has retired." A close source to the developments indicated that Masisi find himself fighting a bitter end; if he goes on to satisfy himself and impress his democrats, Mogae will become collateral damage.

Mogae, though he has not entangled himself in the Masisi-Khama feud, he has at the beginning of the fallout of the duo criticised for Khama for being divisive. The issue of former presidents’ benefits, if tampered with, may make Masisi prone to be used by former president, sources have indicated.Masisi has been warned that should he go on with the decision, he will also lose big if he loses the general elections to the opposition in October.   “This was initially his intention, now he finds himself in a dilemma and he is very indecisive,” said the source.

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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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