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BDP MPs demand retreat with Masisi

With the ruckus between President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi and his predecessor Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama unabating, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Members of Parliament are making all the moves to get the two leaders to talk.

This week, at the party’s weekly caucus they pushed Vice President Slumber Tsogwane to the wall, demanding that he get the President to organize a party retreat. President Masisi and former President Khama are currently not seeing eye to eye, with the President indicating that the transition between him and the man who gave him the baton has not been smooth; while on the other hand Khama suggesting that the President is misleading the nation with his assertions because, according to him, transition completed on 1st April 2018.

However the BDP Members of Parliament are not interested on who between the two men is right, their main concern is the 2019 general election. They are of the view that the conflict between Masisi and Khama is particularly unhealthy for the party on the eve of an election that is likely to be hotly contested. They want the two leaders to smoke the peace pipe and focus on garnering votes for the BDP.

This past week President Masisi came clean on what could be the source of this friction, stating at a Parliamentary caucus that the former President had made a suggestion that he appoint Tshekedi Khama his Vice President when he takes over. He deducts that his decision to appoint a different person, Slumber Tsogwane, as his Vice President could have rubbed President Khama the wrong way. President Masisi has made it clear that he never had a deal with anyone and he does not owe anyone anything.

On the other hand former President Khama has dismissed suggestions that he had tried to extract a promise from President Masisi that he will appoint his brother, Tshekedi Khama Vice President of the country. He made it clear that if Tshekedi Khama has presidential ambitions he should pursue on a personal capacity.

President Masisi believes that Khama’s active lifestyle in matters coincidental to politics is hurting and dividing the party. He says he has tried to bring peace between the two of them by engaging BDP elders to mediate but there seems to be no end in sight. This he has even shared in his State of the Nation Address on November 5th.

However the BDP Members of Parliament have made it clear to Tsogwane that they want a party retreat where the President, the former President, the elders, Members of Parliament, Councillors, and other party structures such as the Central Committee and regional leaders will be presented so that the rift between the two leaders may be put to rest.

The legislators are worried that the party may fail to meet its projections next year because of the conflict between Masisi and Khama. They were confident that with a divided opposition, the election was BDP’s lose. Some of the MPs who spoke at the party parliamentary caucus made it clear to Tsogwane, who was non-committal on the granting the retreat, that the performance of the BDP at next year’s general election is highly dependent on how President Masisi and predecessor get along.

The MPs made suggestions that those fueling the rift may be working for the opposition or simply not having the interest of the party at heart. For his part, Vice President Tsogwane is said to have told the Members of Parliament that he will engage the President on the matter and give them feedback. It remains to be seen if President Masisi will accede to the MPs’ request, owing to the statements he is said to have already made at party caucus and recently in an interview with a weekend publication.

Some of the statements he  made were almost explosive statement, Masisi also said to have shared a strategy which he says outlines plans to remove him as a presidents and create enough chaos leading to the BDP congress so that Tshekedi Khama  is made president. His comments come as there is a mounting speculation that the BDP may support a motion of No Confidence on the President, of which Slumber Tsogwane will become the acting president till the national elections slated for October next year.

It is suggested that Tshekedi Khama will be his Vice President which after the election he will then become the president. Confirmed reports are that indeed factions loyal to Khama have sold the idea to Slumber Tsogwane. Slumber then sold the dummy to the faction as if it is something that he will think about it, only for him to straight away inform Masisi of the dangerous plan.

Reports within the BDP further suggest that a faction loyal to Khama has formed, all having something in common- feeling betrayed by Masisi. This faction is confident that they have the numbers this time around to remove Masisi. They point out that the last Motion of No Confidence did not see the light of the day because it was rushed and it had a wrong sponsor being the opposition. This time around, they want the motion to be led by the BDP itself. However for them to succeed in removing Masisi, the said BDP faction is also relying on opposition MPs.

But Masisi has dismissed what he calls “cynics” and is confident that he shall be on the driving seat for the next decade or so. Different BDP factions have been posturing themselves to the different ruling parties of the region as the go-to faction. Ruling parties of the region are important to the BDP in general for credibility, but more importantly to the African National Congress (ANC) as a source of business and campaign funding.

Apart from the BDP, the Botswana Defence Force is also said to be a split between those for Khama, and those for the sitting president Masisi. A campaign of ‘’we do not bow to a civilian’’ is making rounds within the barracks. The slogan is a derogative army term towards those who haven’t served in the army. These are seen a less qualified to lead. Some BDP Members of Parliament who spoke to this publication are confident that they will force President Masisi and former President Khama to the table for a clean talk.

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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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