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War on Waste: Plastic ban details revealed

The Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control (DWMPC) in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conversation and Tourism (MENRCT) have revealed how plastic ban will be effected. An official from the Department, Boitumelo Sechele revealed recently at a Full Council Session in Selebi Phikwe that not all plastic bags will be banned as doing so will be detrimental to public health. The ban takes effect on November 01, 2018.

She disclosed that all light-weight single use plastic carrier bags and flat plastic bag will be banned. The ban will however not affect the use of produce bags or what it called primary packaging, plastic bags of the type used for packaging unpackaged perishable food such as meat, fruits and vegetables. Other plastic bags that will be exempted from the ban include bin liners, refuse or garbage bags as well as clinical waste bags. Plastic wrappers used to protect products in shops and for transportation purposes will also be spared the ban.

Sechele stated that penalties that will be meted out to people who will contravene the new regulation will include confiscation of the carrier bag for first offenders while repeat offenders will be liable to a fine not exceeding P5000.00 or a prison term not exceeding 30 days or both. The police, authorised officers from the DWMPC and Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) will be responsible for confiscating banned plastic bags from offenders and issuing of penalties, Sechele has explained.

 On how retailers and shops are affected or involved in the sale of the banned plastic carrier bags, Sechele only said consultations have been conducted with the shops and some have since stopped selling the concerned plastic bags. It seems however that penalties are only prescribed for consumer offenders while the law is silent on what penalty will be meted out to retailers and shops that will continue selling the banned plastic bags to consumers.

“The ban will however not affect the production of the banned plastic bags as producers of such plastic bags will still be selling to their other clients outside the country,” said Sechele suggesting that they may not be job losses from plastic bag manufacturers. She said the ban will also provide an opportunity for manufacturers to innovate and produce alternative carrier bags that will be environmentally friendly and supply the local market.

She explained that the decision to ban plastic bags follows several failed attempts and initiatives that were designed to control the spread of plastic carrier bags in the environment. She noted that proliferation of plastic bags in the environment continue to hurt the environment miserably. She explained that apart from polluting water and reducing the aesthetic value of the environment as they hang on trees and buildings, plastic bags aid the breeding and spread of mosquitoes. “Plastic bags due to their impervious nature hold water and thus creating a conducive environment for mosquitoes breeding which then cause a health problem as Government will have to use resources to fight malaria,” she said.

As part of fighting the managing the plastic environmental disaster, Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) had introduced specifications for the plastic carrier bags and flag bags which prescribed thickness of not less than 24 microns. The ban on the use of plastic bags comes after Government had also failed to collect the Plastic Levy from local retailers who have been charging consumers to the carrier bags since the introduction of the levy in 2007 which was passed when collection logistics had not been sufficiently crafted. The levy was to be used in environment conversation initiatives.

Meanwhile Councillor Evelyn Kgodungwe pointed out that is surprising that pampers (disposable nappies) have not been included in the list of banned plastic. She said that disposable nappies have become the worst environmental disasters brought by innovation. The worse thing about disposable nappies is they are not just plastic nappies but nappies wrapping human waste and thrown away in the environment, she has said. In response, Sechele acceded that indeed disposable nappies are a new environmental headache which also needs urgent interventions to curb the disaster.

Sechele revealed that in fact “pampers is not so pampering” to the boy child as it keeps the child’s genitalia warm thereby affecting the production of healthy sperms as the boys grow up. However, this turns out to be rather controversial. A quick google search turned out insights from experts who dismiss this argument saying the period during which the boy child is in diapers, the cells responsible for the production of sperms would not have matured to start the production of sperms.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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