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CDC councilors petition Masisi over salaries

All the 174 Central District Council (CDC) councilors have unanimously agreed to seek audience with both President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) France Van der Westhuizen over unconsidered salaries and allowances proposal that were implemented early this year.

The councilors argue that in the commission appointed by President Masisi mandated to review salaries of senior government officials and politicians, their proposals were never given consideration. In fact it said they were promised that government will implement their demands between May and June this year. However, to this date, government has not lived up to its promise hence the decision to face Masisi and minister to understand what is delaying implementation of their recommendations.

Already the councilors have agreed on June 25th as date to convene an all-party caucus with a view of compiling their grievances to be communicated to the Minister before meeting Masisi. The councilors have already elected a five men delegation headed by council Chairman Peter Williams that would discharge what councilors recommended to the government. The councilors’ grievances are that they proposed that they be given 75 percent of what the MPs get but they were surprised to learn that nothing they prescribed has been considered.

 “The agreement was we get 75 percent of everything MPs get but it appears our suggestions were never deliberated on by the commission or the president hence it remain the same if not worsened. A Ward allowance is the only thing that has been improved because at first it was P4000 but now it’s P4800,” said one council member.

According to councilors their subsistence allowance (night-out) which was P217.33 has been reduced to become only P217.00 and this irk them as they expected something better. “Sitting allowance is another thing that improved but not anywhere near the suggested 75% of what the MPs get. It was from P217.33 and now it is P250,” added the councilor who preferred to be masked. The CDC chairman Williams, a source says, he tried to lobby other councils but all declined to join the crusade.

“We have tried to mobilise other councils but they were not interested and if they do so there is nothing we can do but continue with the struggle because at the end of the day it is us who suffers,” added the source on Thursday afternoon. The councilors lament that there is no one representing their interest in parliament despite having a platform to advance councilors complaints as some of them were once councilors.

“These people should understand that we are on the ground when something happens we are expected to help the community but how can we do so with a low budget. Again our dignity is at stake here and people judge you with your pocket hence we say government should really look into this matter,” said a councilor in one of the central district ward.

On the other hand MPs are smiling all the way to the bank as they got 4 percent salary hike and as well as another 11 percent increase resulting from delinking members of the National Assembly from the public service structure. Again MPs’ constituency allowance has been increased by 50 percent while fixed allowances communication and hospitality allowances by 10 percent. Sitting allowance has been increased to P450.00 per day.

The Commission was mandated to inquire into salaries, Conditions of Service and Other Entitlement of the President, Vice President, the Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Speaker, Assistant Ministers, Leader of Opposition, Members of Parliament, the Chief Justice, President of the Court of Appeal, Justices of Appeal, Judges of the High Court, Chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Chairpersons of District Councils, Mayors, their Deputies, Chairpersons of Sub-Councils and their Deputies and Councilors. The president also appointed three Secretaries to the Commission; Tebogo Tomango, Lesedi Gaolaolwe, as well as Olesitse Masimega, who was the Head of the Secretaries to the Commission.

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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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