Following President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decisions to transfer some of his ministers to new portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle this week, the, Tshekedi Khama has stated that he was happier at the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism than where the president wants him.
Masisi transferred Khama to Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development in a move seen as a demotion on the younger brother to the former president Lt. Gen Ian Khama. The animosity between Masisi and Khama has played itself out in the open with both of them admitting to it in their separate pronouncements starting with Masisi confirming in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) which Khama also did in his loaded response to the insinuations.
The removal of Tshekedi Khama from the Ministry of Tourism which is seen as one of the most powerful ministries in the country as it contributes to the country’s revenue as the second biggest income earner after the diamonds. When speaking to Weekend Post after the reshuffle on Friday, the younger Khama maintained that: “I believe my passion was at the tourism ministry and it was unmatched. Surely we were growing something there. Our reputation under tourism as a country has never been where it is. So the reshuffle surely affected me.”
According to Tshekedi, he still believes, “if I was allowed to stay a bit longer at the ministry, until the next 2019 General Elections I would be happy. We were going to finish our roadmap which we have started six years back.” He said while he respects the decision by President Masisi, it was unexpected as he thought he was doing a good job at the ministry. He acknowledged that the President can move ministers as and when he wants.
“I thought what we have done in the tourism ministry in the last six years or so has never been achieved by anyone before in the country,” he said. According to Tshekedi, under his tutelage they have accomplished 38 awards as “I gave it my all” and “I loved the ministry and people were also happy.”
TSHEKEDI REMOVED BECAUSE OF KHAMAS VESTED INTERESTS IN TOURISM?
When asked by this publication whether he is unhappy with the transfer because of his vested interests in the tourism sector he easily rubbed it off. “I have no shares in any tourism entity. There are some cabinet ministers who have interests there. Nna I don’t. That they have is their choices. As long as you declare when you are conflicted,” the Serowe West legislator fumed. Tshekedi declined to comment when quizzed if he does not see this as demotion from a powerful ministry to a lesser authoritative one and whether that signals his relationship with Masisi may be on a downward spiral.
He only said: “I don’t know Masisi’s reasons for this cabinet transfers. But it doesn’t matter. For me, that’s not demotion as some people want to suggest.” When pressed further on Masisi he emphasised: “I won’t comment on the issue of Masisi targeting me in the reshuffle. Tota nna and Masisi, we never had any dispute or argument on anything. So, I think people who are peddling these are doing so purely based on politics.”The main challenge for Tshekedi as pointed out is that of time factor as they only have nine months to the next elections and that is not a lot of time.
He added that he also takes over the ministry with the budget that is not his. On his new assignment at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi observed that he takes the challenge. “I take the challenge to the new ministry. Botswana is relatively a youth country as the population of youth under 25 years is approximately 60 percent and that’s where power is. It’s a challenge that the population which makes the majority remain unemployed. Youth want to be independent and they don’t want to live with handouts,” he lashed out. He also asserted that his position on youth has always been that youth should be involved in development as they are the future of a country.
OLOPENG TO PULL THE BULL BY THE HORNS AT THE NEW MINISTRY OF TERTIARY
On his part, the outgoing Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng told Weekend Post separately that as the new Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology he will be merely a leader and not a lecturer at those institutions he will be heading as naysayers want to purport.
He dismissed his critics saying they should take a seat: “we need to understand what leadership is. I won’t be a lecturer at any university but a minister, we have permanent Secretaries and their deputies, Directors and lecturers who are well qualified to do the hands on.”
Olopeng emphasised that his Permanent Secretaries are the crucial technocrats that will make sure that they deliver on their mandate.
He said: “I understand the challenges. I know both the two Education ministries are challenging but I know I will make it. I will work hard to make a difference at the ministry. The first thing is to understand the challenges. And how to mitigate them. I will consult. The technocrats will do the technical work and I will facilitate.” The new Tertiary minister further took a swipe at those that doubt his capabilities at the ministry saying he is unqualified when asked by this reporter saying they will eat a humble pie.
Let them judge me, he says adding that if they are honest with themselves they should give him three months to show them the results of the direction he wants to give to the ministry. “People say all these things on social media like facebook because it’s where everything goes. Let them judge me. They should give me three months and surely they will eat a humble pie. Ga ke batle go ipoka. I believe in tangible results. I will humble those naysayers with the amount of exposure I have in leadership.”
Apart from Tshekedi and Olopeng, Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi also announced that other cabinet transfers made by President Masisi includes the Minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila who has been transferred to head the Minister of Environment , Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism filling the shoes of Tshekedi Khama.
Minister of Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs, Dorcas Makgato takes over the Minister of Transport and Communications from Mokaila. Masisi also redeployed the former Minister of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology Honourable Ngaka Ngaka to become the new Minister of Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs which was previously under Makgato. Masisi has made the redeployments to take effect immediately.
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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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.
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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.”