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BMD moves to clamp UDC

The expelled member of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has this week filed an urgent Interlocutory Application with High Court seeking to be given rights to participate in coalition meetings as well as other decision making bodies.

The Interlocutory Application precedes the awaited verdict for the review or Main application to be heard by 27 and 28th August 2019 subsequent to a case filled by BMD in 2018. In the application brought before High Court by BMD Secretary General and Member of Parliament for Mochudi West, Gilbert Mangole; the Chief Justice of Botswana is cited as the First Interlocutory Respondent, the Independent Electoral Commission of Botswana cited as Second Respondent and the Umbrella for Democratic Change as the Third Interlocutory Respondent filed on the 2nd July 2019.

The BMD seek to participate in all meetings of the UDC at all levels; participate in the selection of the Presidential candidate to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections; Presents its President as a likely contender and candidate in the internal process of selection of the Presidential candidate of the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

The BMD also seek to participate in the selection of the persons to be nominated as parliamentary candidates to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections; present its members amongst the persons to be nominate as council candidates to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections and participates in the preparation of the elections manifesto of the UDC for the 2019 general elections.

According to the interlocutory application, the BMD says it is clear from the public position taken by the UDC that the BMD will, in violation of the registered Constitution of the UDC, be denied the above vital rights, inter alia, should; the Presidential candidate be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections be nominated before the Review or Main Application brought by the BMD is heard and determined by the High Court and, in the event of an appeal to the Court of Appeal, by the latter Court.

The BMD says the parliamentary candidates to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections be nominated before the Review Application brought by the BMD is heard and determined by the High Court and the council candidates to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections be nominated before the Review Application brought by the BMD is heard and determined by the High Court and, in the event of an appeal to the Court of Appeal, by the latter Court.

The application points that the Chief Justice of the Republic of Botswana is, in terms of Section 32 and 38 of the Constitution of Botswana, the Returning Officer of presidential elections in respect of the President of Botswana and is the entity upon whom falls the duty to receive nominations for Presidential candidates.

According to the interlocutory application, the IEC is, in terms of Section 65A of the Constitution of Botswana, the constitutional body upon whom the duty to receive nominations for parliamentary and council candidates, and conduct and supervise the elections in which members of parliament and councilors are elected. The Review Application was served on both Respondents on 14 December 2018, the answering papers in which were delivered by the Respondents on the 28 and 29 March, and the BMD its replying papers soon thereafter.

The BMD states that, recognising the necessity to hear and determine the Review Application expeditiously in view of the fact that the general elections will be held this year, the High Court allocated 29 and 30 April 2019 for the hearing of the Review Application. “These dates suited the BMD but UDC, whose strategy has been a one of delay in the hope that the nomination of presidential, parliamentary and council candidates will take place prior to the hearing and final determination of the review Application, said that the dates were unsuitable to them,” Mangole contends. 

On 29 April 2019 the UDC applied for the hearing to be postponed, and although the High Court was prepared to hear the review Application about the middle of June, to which dates the BMD was agreeable, but again the UDC said the only dates that suited them were dates after 23 August 2019, with the result that the dates set for the hearing of the Review Application are 27 and 28 August 2019.

According to the court papers the Parliament usually gets dissolved about the middle of August of the election year, and the August hearing dates appear to have been calculated to occur after the probable dissolution of parliament and the calling of elections in terms of part V of the Constitution of Botswana.

The BMD says to compound the delay as part of its strategy to avoid a final decision being made by the Court and, in the event of an appeal by the court of appeal, on the Review or Main Application, the Respondents; served on the Attorney General the statutory notice and served on the Attorney General a letter dated 28 May 2019 amending the statutory notice aforesaid on 28 May 2019.

The Review also made mention the fact that the Parliament of Botswana will sit in July and August 2019 commencing on Wednesday 3rd July 2019 and is scheduled to conclude on Friday 9th August 2019, at the conclusion of that session before the Review or Main Application is heard and finally determined by the Court and, in the event of an appeal the Court of Appeal, be dissolved and a Writ of elections for the holding of the 2019 general election be issued for such election to take place in October 2019.

The BMD fears that similarly the UDC will, in making such decisions, not consider members of the BMD for the inclusion amongst the paid presidential, parliamentary and council candidates. “The aforesaid exclusions by the UDC will be in violation of the rights of the BMD under the UDC Constitution.”The BMD submit that they are determined that its rights given by the UDC registered Constitution shall be preserved. “The only remedy available to the BMD for the protection of its rights aforesaid is for this Court to grant the interim interdict in this Interlocutory Application sought”.

They also submit that it is essential that this Interlocutory Application be heard and determined by the Court and, in the event of an appeal by the High Court of appeal, prior to the arrival of the days on which the candidates to be elected as the President of Botswana, Members of Parliament for Botswana, and Members of District Councils, shall be officially nominated.

“I submit that it is self- evident from the allegations above made and those made in the Review Affidavit attached above that the BMD will suffer irreparable harm if the interim interdict in this Interlocutory sought is not granted. Once lost to the BMD, the opportunity to participate in the identification of the UDC candidates to be nominated to take part in the 2019 generals elections to be recovered nor, in any manner whatsoever, replaced or compensated for. It is further submitted that the relief in the Application sought ought to be granted with costs.”   

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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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