Fresh information has surfaced this week that Minister of Investment Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo has last year rescued the reeling SPEDU from near ruin after their budget was cut by P10 million.
Since the youthful Kenewendo took over the reins of the Ministry, the budget for SPEDU stands at P43 million for year 2019/2020, the amount which MITI Principal Public Relations Officer Chandapiwa Baputaki also confirmed. An immaculate source who sits on SPEDU management told Weekend Post this week: “this year, it has been more than any other year, it is a first on the company’s history.”
An economist, Kenewendo was appointed Cabinet Minister responsible for the portfolio (Investment Trade and Industry) from 4 April 2018 following Mokgweetsi Masisi’s ascendance to the presidency of the Republic. Information reaching Weekend Post suggests that under former immediate Minister Vincent Seretse, the budget was cut down by close to 10 million. This, they believe it made it difficult to carry out some of the organisation mandate.
“He cut the budget by close to 10 million pula and this adversely affected our capacity to execute our mandate especially more publication, education and publicity on mandate and achievements,” the highly placed source said. It is understood that this transpired after strong suspicions from the Ministry authorities that SPEDU Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Mokubung Mokubung was going overboard in his mandate and extravagant.
“He was said to be making a lot of noise and in some instances, was said to be taking more than he can chew in his role at SPEDU,” the source at SPEDU top politburo further said. It is understood that he was as a result “reprimanded” by the then Minister of Trade, Investment and Industry. Sources at SPEDU hinted that Seretse told the SPEDU CEO to his face that he was “going off the rails” in his mandate and “should just chill.”
This comes at a time when most citizens when given a chance to pose questions for SPEDU during the organisation sponsored media tour recently in Selibe Phikwe raised the issue several times that they are “not really aware of SPEDU mandate and why it was set up” describing it as a cover-up for government spending spree. Approached for a comment, Mokubung confirmed that the budget of course has increased but would not be drawn into whether it was as a result of the new minister or it was a coincidence.
Recently, a weekend newspaper (Sunday Standard) revealed that SPEDU CEO Dr. Mokubung and his senior managers may be using SPEDU to enrich themselves and therefore reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). “SPEDU CEO and his senior managers have been reported to the DIS on corruption allegations ranging from receiving kickbacks for tenders, misappropriation of funds, and nepotism among other issues,” the paper stated.
Central to the DIS investigations is said to be a series of multi-million Pula tenders awarded without following proper procurement practices, and other allegations of abuse of office by the CEO. SPEDU is an investment promotion company owned by the Government of Botswana tasked to coordinate investment promotion and economic diversification in the SPEDU economic region.
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 Unionâs main goal is to reduce poisoning related vulturesâ 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.Â In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned. Â Other selected pilotsâ 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. âLetâs have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,â he stated
He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. âIf we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacyâ, 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. âWe 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,â 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.
âAfter realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it. Â âWe did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,â 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. âResidents 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, âhe 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. âWe suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,â
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.
âThe 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.â
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.
âWe welcome the Directorâs general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the âfive Psâ 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.â
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. âFor 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.â