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Masisi turns rule book on Kokorwe

In his continued effort to stamp his authority President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has taken aim at Speaker of the National Assembly Gladys Kokorwe, a very close ally of former President Lt Gen Ian Khama in his declaration of applying the law to the letter.

The Director of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Brigadier Peter Magosi wrote through the National Assembly Clerk withdrawing some members of the DIS who were deployed as guards to the Speaker with immediate effect. While it is not provided for in the Green Book, former President Khama had decided to deploy agents to man the Speaker of the National Assembly’s security after an unfortunate event in 2016 when some Members of Parliament were found to be in possession of weapons during a parliament session. The former President was of the view that the safety of the Speaker was compromised. 

He then recommended and deployed six members of the DIS to safeguard the Speaker and also double as chauffeurs. The six worked on shifts but they would add numbers when there is a function. Meanwhile it is alleged a recent visit by Khama to Gladys Kokorwe who is on sick leave at her Tapologo Farms near Ramaphatle has invited the fury of President Dr Masisi. Khama and Kokorwe are said to have enjoyed good relations during Kokorwe’s era in politics and later appointed her Speaker of the National Assembly.

It alleged that during his visit to Kokorwe’s farm former President Khama proposed to Kokorwe to take up the Chairmanship of the National Housing Appeal a position Kokorwe did not refuse but later declined looking at the recent feud between Masisi and Khama that was reported in the newspapers. It is alleged that President Masisi later knew about the meeting and did not take it kindly. Sources close to the president said Masisi was very furious about the developments and directed that DIS agents deployed at Kokorwe be withdrawn with immediate effect. 

“A letter withdrawing the said staff was read to Kokorwe on her sick bed by the clerk and the following day she was left with only one staff member who is still waiting for Kokorwe’s driver to report for duty on Monday before leaving. Kokorwe who refused to comment on the matter owing to her ill health told WeekendPost that she is still the Speaker of the national Assembly and will soon resume duty after her sick leave. When further pressed about Khama’s proposal Kokorwe said at the moment she is still busy but will be free to do whatever she likes after stepping down next year October and to attend to whatever political party she likes.

“As much as I know, we have never had differences with Masisi, he is my President and Khama is my friend”, she said. Kokorwe is also passionate about humanitarian work and helping vulnerable people within the society, a work Khama is doing. Kokorwe has held the position of Deputy Speaker, assisting Patrick Balopi before being appointed Botswana’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe. When she was appointed in 2014 Gladys Kokorwe made it very clear that she will only serve one term.

Having been active in politics for 25 years, Kokorwe had to remain neutral after being appointed Speaker. Standing Order no. 5.1b states that the role of a speaker shall be to preside with complete impartiality over parliamentary debates. He/ She shall protect the freedom of speech and debate in the national assembly and its committees. 

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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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