President Mokgweetsi Masisi has set Botswana’s tone for the upcoming End Wild Life Crime Summit to be held in London in October which will bring together global leaders. The summit seeks to come up with ways to eradicate illegal wildlife trade.
The UK government is hosting this international conference about the illegal wildlife trade on 11 to 12 October 2018. The conference will bring together global leaders to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction. Recently Botswana found herself at the centre of a global attention sparked by alleged death of 87 elephants report by BBC, which quoted local conservisionists, Dr Mike Chase of a local conservation non-governmental, Elephants Without Borders.
Following the report, British Prime Minister, Theresa May was quoted saying she was saddened by the news adding that: “The UK will continue to work with Botswana, who have a long and successful conservation program,” May said, adding that she looks forward to tackling the issue at the End Wild Life Crime summit in London in October. Addressing a kgotla meeting in Maun on Thursday, Masisi described the elephants poaching allegations as ‘blue lies’ perpetuated by certain people with ulterior motives to tarnish the good name of Botswana.
Masisi further refuted that the disarmament of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks did escalte poaching explaining that the Botswana Defence Force is the most capable army anti- poaching army in the world. Masisi explained to Batawana that there is no law that empowers DWNP to posesss military grade weapons saying as the president, he will not head a ‘govermennt that does not respect the rule of law. We are not like other African countries where chiefs and even ministers have their own illegal battalions”
Masisi however said is aware that he will be in the spotlight at the upcoming London summit. He said he is aware that some of the animal rights activisits will be waiting for him. He stated that he go to London to explain Botswana’s position regarding the elephant issue without fear or favor. “I will share your concerns with this summit so that they know your experiences in living with the high elephants population,” he said. Scores of speakers related that the high population of elephants is affecting the agriculture and human life and safety in Ngamiland.
Masisi however told the gathering that it will not be easy to kill or chase elephants from Ngamiland citing the resistance from international animal rights groups. He added that the Okavango Delta is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site and is under the international conservation efforts. Addressing Wildlife Researchers at Maun Lodge the previours day, Masisi said his government was willing to partner with researchers in policy making.
With regard to the Okavango Delta, Masisi said research is important in helping government to work out a practicable land use and priorities for the resources use in the Wetlands. He told the residents that his government support the maintenance of elephants under the appendix II not I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES.) CITES classify species in appendices and those in appendix I include all species threatened with extinction which are or may be affected by trade.
Trade in specimens of these species must be subject to particularly strict regulation in order not to endanger further their survival and must only be authorized in exceptional circumstances. Appendix II include: all species which although not necessarily now threatened with extinction may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation in order to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival.
Masisi said under appendix II, Botswana is allowed to take-out 400 elephants annualy something which may help reduce elpants –human conflicts in the country. Masisi added that poaching will not be cordoned under his administration warning that those who are caught poaching will face the wrath of the law. He explained that the country will explore all available mechanisms to manage its elephant population in collaboration with neighboring countries through all available protocols.
Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama told residents that there are ongoing nationwide consultations for the introduction of a national elephant management strategy. He also told the gathering that there is another team led by minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi which is consulting with different stakeholders on the review of the 2014 trophy hunting ban.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.