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Ngami farmers construct own abbatoir

The Nhabe Agricultural Management Association (NAMA) whose membership is a predominatly pastoral cattle farmers has resolved to build a 70 Million Pula abbatoir.

The conception of the project got assistance from the United Nations Development Programme and government of Botswana funded Ngamiland Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Programme. NAMA is exploring various fund raising options to fund the project. The project was initiated after farmers’ complained that the current abattoir in Ngamiland does not have the required capacity.

Consultant in the project, Dr Howard Sigwele explained during a recent fund raising dinner that about P70 million is required for capital investment excluding water, power supply and waste management. He added that both debt and equity is preferred for financing the project.

Dr Sigwele said equity is required from NAMA members in order to achieve ownership and active participation in the project. He also indicated that during kgotla meetings, farmers supported equity participation by producers. Dr Sigwele said that NAMA is requested to raise about P16 million whilst about P54m is mobilized from capital markets or through loans. He observed that farmers can contribute primarily through sale of their livestock and about P10 million will be required as working capital to purchase stock.

Dr Sigwele further indicated that with an average meat price increase of about 4.5 percent per year, the abattoir is expected to witness sales increasing from P 57 million in the first year to about P133 million in fifth year. He added that the abattoir is expected to make profit within the first two years totaling about P54 million after the fifth year. He also noted that the expected Rate of Return on Investment is about 22 percent after five years whilst the Net Present Value is estimated at P64 million after five years.

The financial assessment shows a viable private multi-species abattoir in Sehithwa, provided 100 cattle or equivalent are slaughtered daily during the weekdays. He also highlighted that potential external markets that will purchase meat from the abattoir include the DRC, some SADC countries, Middle East and Asia. Ngami area Member of Parliament, Thato Kwerepe welcomed the multi species abattoir adding that small stock that is owned by female headed households, will ultimately find a market.

“The overall positive impact of the community abattoir should go far beyond employment creation, but should be the bedrock of economic activity that leaves no one behind,” Kwerepe said. Kwerepe further observed that NAMA has embarked on a Motho le Motho Kgomo campaign to raise funds for the community abattoir. “I understand that ordinary farmers have donated and pledged livestock to this course and I applaud each and every one of you for the giant step,” he said.

Kwerepe said if many people contribute the little they have the project shall be realised soon. The MP also revealed that he has pledged a cow and he will liaise with NAMA to come and collect it. Ngamiland SLM coordinator, Innocent Magole explained that SLM project aims to help Ngamiland communities mitigate and adapt to environmental challenges and explore livilihood solutions.

Furthermore the project aims to promote the uptake of green technologies in Botswana by showcasing their viability to the people. Magole noted that UNDP also funded a charcoal production project in the Lake Ngami area. The production of the charcoal will be undertaken by Lake Ngami Community Trust, which is an entity engaging in community-based natural resources programme through fishing, tourism and other related services.

The charcoal project presents dual benefits. It promotes quality beef by controlling bush encroachment for cattle farmers in the area. From remains of the unwanted trees the community trust produce charcoal sold to the markets. Charcoal is produced from excess wood from a tree species called Acacia Erioloba also known as mogotho in Setswana.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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