More than 800 refugees and children who have never lived in Namibia have been given 28 days from today to have registered for voluntary repatriation back to their indigenous country, failure in which the government of Botswana will forcibly repatriate them.
The idea to repatriate the Namibians comes after their refugee status lapsed when the cessation clause was invoked in 2015. The refugees were given up to the 11th of July last year to have registered for repatriation to their country of origin which they refused. Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi told them then that failure to comply will result in them being declared illegal immigrants. “You are not refugees, nor are you guests of the government of Botswana,” he said.
The Namibians then through the courts of law interdicted their repatriation. They contended that the repatriation process lacked the assurances and the reasons for which they fled their country in the late 90s. According to Kgathi, the environment is now conducive for them to return home to participate in the socio-economic, cultural and political arena of their home country.
Last week however the government won an appeal in which they wanted the Namibians to go back home. Already the government has issued a Caprivians with correspondence that they will have to register for voluntary repatriation before end of this month. “The minister is expected to meet them at the end of this month. But for now the decision has been taken that they register for the voluntary repatriation. The plan is, by beginning of September the process of ferrying them back to Namibia should start.
Failure to register for the repatriation will see them now being forced back to Namibia through the immigration law, because they will no longer be refugees but rather immigration laws will preside by being detained at the center of illegal immigrants before being deported back,” a source from government enclave told this publication. Unlike last year, this time the refugees will only be provided with transport and foot in transit and will not be given any incentives.
“UNHCR will not avail any of those incentives offered in the past because they did that in goodwill not like they are entitled to those. Last year they could have got $300, basic building materials and food rations for the time being as they settle but this time around there will not be any of those,” added the informant on Thursday morning. Efforts to contact UNHCR head of mission in Botswana Arvind Gupta were futile as he is said to be abroad.
NAMIBIANS VOW TO FIGHT GOV’T
Meanwhile the Caprivi community spokesperson, Felix Kakula has maintained that they are not going anywhere. “People have accepted the judgement as the wish of government, weak as we are, we have nothing to do, but we are not going to surrender to the Namibian government by voluntary repatriation. We are very disappointed with Botswana democracy at this point” he told WeekendPost.
Kakula has emphasized that they do not need anyone to tell them about the safety of Namibia adding that whoever does that should update them about the stand of Namibian government regarding the United Democratic Party (UDP). “The administration of President Geingob must tell us if we are welcome as UDP members back home then we will be more than happy to register and go just one day all of us. So that when we get there will be questions about the Caprivi Strip without fear,” he said.
He continued; “If Botswana send us by force without us registering then Namibia should open their prisons because immediately we arrive we will ask many questions regarding Caprivi Strip. So we have declared ourselves dead on this matter, either dying on the hands of Botswana if they so wish or die in the hands of oppressor who have killed many in cold blood and able to convince the world in the name of wisdom and politics.”
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‚Äôs main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures‚Äô 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‚Äô 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. ‚ÄėLet‚Äôs have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,‚Äô he stated
He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‚ÄėIf we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy‚Äô, 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. ‚ÄėWe 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,‚Äô 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.
‚ÄėAfter realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it. ¬†‚ÄėWe did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,‚Äô 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. ‚ÄėResidents 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, ‚Äėhe 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. ‚ÄėWe suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,‚Äô
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.
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.
‚ÄúThe 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.‚ÄĚ
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.
‚ÄúWe welcome the Director‚Äôs general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the ‚Äúfive Ps‚ÄĚ 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.‚ÄĚ
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. ‚ÄúFor 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.‚ÄĚ