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Did Masisi camp court AP for support?

As the date for the highly anticipated battle between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and former Minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi draws near, alliances are being stitched to counter eventualities.

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Kang billed Special Congress and the possible motion of no confidence and Dr Masisi in Parliament are dominating the political discourse at the moment. It is reported that some of the key personnel in President Masisi’s corner have tried to connect with the Alliance for Progressives (AP) to counter any planned motion of no confidence. Masisi’s key people are reportedly aware of approximately 12 disgruntled BDP legislators who are willing to support the intended motion of no confidence planned against him.

When calculating the risk President Masisi’s supporters are said to have sort to counter the motion of no confidence by approaching a friendly disposed and newly formed AP, which has five Members of Parliament, to vote against the motion. Meanwhile some in the BDP also want to discuss a possible formation of a coalition post October. In the initial motion of no confidence tabled by Leader of Opposition Duma Boko last year, reportedly working with the anti-Masisi BDP faction — AP MPs abstained from voting, while the majority of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) MPs voted in favour of the motion.

 It is reported that Masisi team’s proposal has but been conditionally received by all the four AP MPs, except Major Gen Pius Mokgware of Gabane/Mmankgodi. AP allegedly gave Masisi a condition that they can only consider supporting him or a coalition with his government only after the general elections in October, as to be seen supporting him would not be welcomed by party members.  AP leader, Ndaba Gaolathe has however denied any agreement between his party and Masisi over voting in favour of him in motion of confidence or possible coalition.

“There has been no meeting with him [Masisi] or any proposal from him whatsoever,” Gaolathe told this publication. The motion was reportedly, as it was the case with the second one, to be moved by Boko but he reneged at the eleventh hour because his party does not want to be seen to be meddling in BDP affairs. In addition the harassment of Boko by government organs Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and members of Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) is assumed to be another contributing factor.

However, UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa has denied that links that the coalition had the intention of tabling a motion of no confidence against Masisi but admits that there have been lobbying from anti-Masisi faction to support the motion. “The UDC has no intention of tabling a motion of no confidence nor has it ever discussed or considered doing so,” Mohwasa said. “What is the case is that some of our deployees have been lobbied to support it. We will consider our options when the motion is brought up.”

Meanwhile the 12 disgruntled BDP MPs who also threaten to resign from the party and contest the 2019 elections as independent candidates have decided to wait for the aftermath of Kang Special congress before they decide on their next move. The aggrieved members of BDP who have put their weight behind Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi for the presidential race against President Masisi have vowed to take up the motion by themselves. There are also indications that a split is eminent in the BDP.

Meanwhile those in the Vensob-Moitoi camp point to possible rigging of the Kang elections. This week Venson-Moitoi asked the party to furnish her with the voters roll and enquiring on the electoral process to be used as well as who will be conducting the process. There have fears that there is a lot of discontent and no transparency in the voting process. Recently President Masisi has been going around the country officiating at regional congresses where he also donated P 5, 000 per constituency to help with preparations leading to Kang congress.

This week Venson-Moitoi came out very confident that she will emerge victorious at the Kang congress. One of the longest serving woman Legislator and Minister, Venson-Moitoi fell out of Masisi’s favor after announcing her candidacy for presidency. Under mysterious circumstances Moitoi was immediately stripped off her Ministerial post and kicked out of her Ministerial house. When contacted for comment Venson- Moitoi confirmed that she sent the enquiry but the party has not responded to her yet.

Earlier this week the alleged Venson-Moitoi camp made demands to the party and insinuated that if they are met they will likely collapse the party before Kang congress. First in the list they wanted the appointment of a new electoral board citing that the Chairman Peter Siele is biased and conflicted. They also want the rules and regulations to guide contest as code of conduct compiled by the central committee.The Moitoi faction also made it very clear that they want compilation of the voters roll and distribution of it to all candidates. They pointed out that they want the structures to be impartial.

With only few weeks to Kang, the faction made submissions that they want the congress to be postponed and relocated to a venue suited to accommodate all the delegates. The faction which is believed to be spearheaded by Samson Moyo Guma, want the harassment and intimidation of Venson- Moitoi supporters to stop forthwith and the targeted disciplinary letters to be withdrawn. They want democrats campaigning for Masisi to stop the use of state aircraft and other modes of transport under the guise of accompanying President and his vice.

The faction also submitted that the strategy and communications committee should conduct itself as governed by Constitution and Regulations and not president Masisi’s mouthpiece. They also demand that the party chairman Slumber Tsogwane meet with Venson- Moitoi to get verbal report on their grievances.  

Lastly the faction wants Venson- Moitoi campaign to be given airtime and coverage on state media as is the case with president Masisi’s campaigns. They also instructed that the DIS stop monitoring Venson-Moitoi campaign activities and interfering in an internal party contest in support of Masisi campaign. They pointed out that the DIS conduct is breach of its founding statutes, illegal and a blatant breach of the constitution of Botswana.        

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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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