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Ntime speaks on quitting BDP

Former Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) President Kagiso Ntime has revealed reasons that have led to him dumping the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in favour of his old political home.

Ntime, in an unexpected turn of events in 2012, resigned from BNF, during the mass exodus occasioned by disagreement relating to BNF’s involvement in opposition cooperation talks, as well as President Duma Boko’s leadership style. In his parting shots in 2012, Ntime ruled out the possibility of opposition winning power because of lack of seriousness on their part.  Ntime said BDP was a credible organisation, also stating that as member of the ruling party he had a better chance of influencing change as compared to when he is in the opposition.
Although he was welcomed amid fanfare, soon after he was relegated to the periphery and later glided into political obscurity.

Farmed and nurtured in the BNF’s leftist ideology, Ntime found the going tough in the conservative BDP which has little tolerance for vocal activists of Ntime’s nature. In an exclusive interview with this publication, Ntime revealed that going back to the BNF was a decision he had carefully thought about. He stated that when he joined the ruling party, he thought he would be able to speak openly on issues that concern the country at large but was rather put into a corner and his voice was never heard for six years.

He said even being elected a councillor, was not enough to help him to openly share his views. “I felt I was bottled up, the ruling party did not give me the opportunity to fully utilise my capacity as far as speaking for the people is concern,” Ntime said. Ntime told WeekendPost that he comes from a background of radical, evolutional and militant politics because they are politics focused on the betterment of the lives of the people.  He further said he was unable to achieve all these radical transformation agenda which seemed to be scaring some in the BDP.

“I don’t practice yes-men politics, I realised the culture of where I was coming from and where I was were two different political cultures,” he explained. Ntime explained that he tried to stay and adapt to BDP’s organizational culture and failed. He said despite several attempts to stay, he failed dismally and realised it was time to go back to his roots. Ntime candidly said that he felt he needed space and the BNF was the only place he could be offered an opportunity to speak ‘on behalf of the people.’

  He however, pointed out that he could form a party if he would but described it as tedious and expensive hence retracing back to his previous political home. “I know going back was a wise decision to make, the BNF uses social, democratic program which I feel fully subscribes to me and will get me back on my feet again,” Ntime clarified. Ntime said when he left the BNF he was against the way the party leader [Boko] wanted to run things and felt the model would never work. He said what he had anticipated six years ago is what is happening today.

“Six years ago, what is happening today is what I had anticipated. Today the BNF & BCP are working together, that is what I had wanted. I wanted BMD subjected to test first. So as long as BNF and BCP are together, I am happy,” he pointed out. Prior to his resignation from the BNF in 2012, Ntime had made it clear he was uncomfortable with Boko’s leadership style, when asked how they were going to work together, Ntime said the differences between him and the party president have been resolved.

“There were contentions, but those were not personal but ideological. That is why at some point when I felt it was personal, we went to the courts, but we also settled out of the courts. Boko and I are brothers, at some point he even asked when I was coming back to the BNF,” Ntime said. Ntime dismissed the allegations that he left the BDP because he had wanted to topple Gaborone City Council mayor, Calvin Thutlwe.

“People wanted me to stand for mayor, I refused, I wanted him to account first, I even tabled a motion to have the council cleansed. The mayor needs to account, I am not after his position,” he clarified. Ntime said he went back without any promises given to him. He further pointed out that he would not be surprised if the party insists that he stands for the elections amid rumours that he has been promised the Molepolole South constituency. “The fact of the matter is I am back, what happens next will happen,” he said.

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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

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Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.

“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”

In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.

It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.

Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.

President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”

In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”

He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.

“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”

Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”

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Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV

24th March 2023

Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”

Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.

“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”

He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.

In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.

Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.

Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”

“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”

Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.

“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

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