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Fired Ralotsia, Boko agree on Industrial Hemp

Minister of Agricultural Development, and Food Security and Kanye North law maker Patrick Pule Ralotsia was this week dropped from cabinet under mysterious circumstances.

While it is still unclear why Ralotsi was ejected from cabinet, an impeccable source told Weekend Post this week that the Minister is a big proponent of legalisation of marijuana and Industrial Hemp and has made it known. “He is a proponent of Industrial Hemp. He loves it and uses its products,” the source said while adding that the law is silent on the Industrial Hemp: “it is not illegal, the law is just silent.” In its application, hemp and marijuana serve completely different purposes.

Marijuana, as it is widely known, is used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Hemp is used in variety of other applications that marijuana couldn’t possibly be used in. These include healthy dietary supplements, skin products, clothing, and accessories. Overall, hemp is known to have over 25,000 possible applications. Information reaching Weekend Post suggests that Ralotsia want marijuana and the Hemp legalised and he has tabled his proposal to both cabinet level as well as to the president, Mokgweetsi Masisi.  

“He even consulted the police and the relevant Ministry. At some stage they were working on drafting the law but the ministry dragged its feet,” the immaculate source told this publication. At some point, the source reminisced how the Ministry of Agriculture gave him a permit to import Hemp seeds but it was cancelled off at the behest of the then Assistant minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Biggie Butale.

“They wanted me to bring the permit back to the office.  Maybe it’s because I have publicly talked about it and therefore it wouldn’t look right to them,” he said adding that he exchanged notes with Ralotsi and they share similar sentiments on the industrial hemp. He maintained that: “I think I jumped the gun by making the permit public, I don’t think they would have cancelled it. I wanted the industrial hemp plant, as a pilot project, as it can do 500 products.”

It is understood that the problem with Ralotsia came when it was found that the Leader of Opposition in parliament Duma Gideon Boko presented a similar proposal calling for the legalisation of Industrial Hemp when responding to the Budget Speech earlier this year in parliament. In his statement in parliament, Boko has cited that the legalisation of Marijuana for industrialisation purposes could improve the economy.

He said “let me focus on just hemp and demonstrate the massive job creation opportunities it offers. It is a source of food for both humans and pets. It is used to produce body oils and lotions as well as many other oil based products. It is used in the manufacture of clothing such as jeans and sports clothing. Plastic products made from hemp are generally biodegradable. Hemp is an agricultural crop that thrives in many environments.”

According to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, hemp offers a yield of about P13.37 per plant and up to 12 500 000 plants per 5000 acres, that gives P 167 125 000 per 5000 acres. “Hemp growers employ about 10 000 people to maintain a 10 000 hectare farm. The result is the creation of a minimum of 12 000 jobs just from this scale of hemp farming. Thus when we advocate for innovation, inventiveness and imagination, this is exactly what we are talking about. We ascend to higher levels of thinking and planning known as disruptive thinking and disruptive technologies,” he said.

Now, the immaculate source maintained that “they think it wouldn’t look right if the plan goes ahead especially after the opposition leader Boko spoke at length about legalising the Industrial Hemp,” he stated. Just this week, Permanent Secretary to the President and Secretary to cabinet, Carter Morupisi, on behalf of President Masisi announced the cabinet reshuffle that both Ralotsi has been released of his ministerial positions with immediate effect.

When reached for a comment, Ralotsia told this publication that he was in government offices at the time and was not able to respond adding that he be called after an hour after which he did not answer the phone. After firing Ralotsia, Masisi appointed Fidelis Mmilili Molao as a full Minister of Agricultural Development, and Food Security.

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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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