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Tafa seeks clarity on his UB removal

Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Ngaka Ngaka has moved to remove former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s allies; Parks Tafa and Anthony Khama from the University of Botswana Council.

 The decision was taken just before the University of Botswana conferred President Mokgweetsi Masisi with an honorary doctorate—reportedly at the instruction of Masisi. It is believed that the decision came about after it emerged that Tafa, and Khama were a stumbling block to the conferring of Masisi with an honorary doctorate, which he received last weekend at the university’s graduation ceremony.

Tafa was serving his second term as the University Council Chairman prior to his unceremonial marching orders.  WeekendPost can exclusively reveal that Tafa has since written to Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology seeking clarification on his dismissal.Tafa is reported to have missed a lot of council meetings owing to his ill- health and is a key member of Khama’s circle.

Khama has fallen out with his successor in a battle that continues to play itself out in public domain.  When responding to inquiries from this publication the Director of Public Affairs Mhitshane Reetsang said their terms of office as members of council had come to an end. All of them had served two terms as prescribed by Section 14 of the Act.

“Mr Tafa completed his full term as a member of the University of Botswana Council as prescribed by Section 14 of the Act. There were no disagreements in conferring President Mokgweetsi Masisi with an Honorary Doctorate. Council members whose term of office comes to end as prescribed by Section 14 of the Act willingly leave,” reads the response.

The new members appointed by the Minister of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology in terms of Section 9 of the University of Botswana Act are; Dr. Joseph Moeketsi Makhema, Ms Ellen Richard-Madisa, Ms Anna Majelantle, Dr Bernard Bulawayo, Mr Moatlhodi Sebabole, Ms Tshisimogo Masisi Lekaukau, Ms Verily Molatedi, Dr Patson Mazonde, Ms Matshidiso Masire, Dr Mompati Mmalane, Ms Nnosang Mhutsiwa, and Ms Ruth Motshidisi Maphorisa.

The recent council decisions marked a rare but major milestone in the history of the University of Botswana- for the first time since its establishment 36 years ago- when UB saw three of its alumni notching up some of the highest honours in a university set- up in a single day. The controversial event remains the UB Council’s resolution to confer honorary Doctorate on Masisi only six months into office.

Highly placed sources can reveal that the Masisi is a close ally of University of Botswana Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris who was appointed in December 2017 prior to Masisi’s presidency. The duo are also natives of Moshupa. Prof Norris in his capacity as VC, is the Chairman of the Senate which is the highest academic committee of the university, deputized by Deputy Vice Chancellor- Academic Affairs.

This is the same committee that has a final say on conferring honorary doctorates on individuals based on their profiles. There is a small committee that proposes recipients, with the advice of the Vice Chancellor then submits the names to the senate. Since the university’s inception, no name has been turned down or disapproved. “As long as there is justification as to why the name is put forward they will be conferred,” one University of Botswana academic told WeekendPost.

However, Masisi remains one of the youngest people to have been honored by University of Botswana. Some of the people to have been recognized by University of Botswana include former president Sir Ketumile Masire, Dr Batho Motlhake and Dr Gaositwe Chiepe.
“But with no doubt Masisi has a colorful curriculum vitae maybe that is why they choose to confer him,” he said.

Allegations has it that University of Botswana was also under pressure to be the first university to honor Masisi before rival institutions such as Limkokwing University of Creative Technology  and other international Universities. He remains the first President to be honored within the shortest time in office, only six months. His predecessor, Khama, was honored after 9 years in office. 

A communique from UB last week pointed that President Masisi is a graduate of the University of Botswana where he trained as a teacher in Secondary Education, majoring in English and History. He is the first University of Botswana graduate to become its Chancellor, a position he was appointed to on July 17 2017 but which he relinquished when he became President of the Republic of Botswana on April 1, 2018.

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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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