President Mokgweetsi Masisi is scheduled to meet members of the Maun research community who are undertaking research in Ngamiland. This comes after the highly publicised controversial research findings by non-governmental group, Elephants Without Borders which stated that 90 elephants have recently died due to poaching in the Okavango Delta.
Speaking in an interview, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa of the University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute stated that the bulk of reasearch that guided former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama’s conservation policies were based on sensationalised findings. He said it is commendable for president Masisi to hear the side of other independent researchers in the Ngamiland area.
Professor Mbaiwa confirmed to WeekendPost that they have been invited by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resourses, Conservation and Tourism to adress President Masisi on Wednesday at Maun Lodge. Mbaiwa explained that as reseachers they want president Masisi to know that the Okavango Delta and Chobe ‘are not wildlife zoos’ as there are people living in the areas.”
He explained that it is imporatant that research in the Okavango Delta does not only concentrate on the ecology of the delta without including the human aspect. Professor Mbaiwa explained that Dr Mike Chase’s 2011 wildlife survey which subsequently informed former President Khama’s 2014 hunting ban hinged more on the interests of wildlife and ignored the human aspect. Mbaiwa explained that they will use the Thursday meeting to bring it to the attention of Masisi that more independent research is needed in areas of wildlife conservation.
On the recent 90 elephants’ saga, Mbaiwa explained that this further proves that Dr Chase’s findings are unrealible and full of sentionalism. “He has concluded that about 90 elephants are dead due to poaching. How did he arrive to that conclusion? There is a lot of potential explanation such as natural death. For example elephants in the north usualy die from anthrax.”
Professor Mbaiwa further revealed that as reseachers at Okavango Reseach Institute their position is clear that government must re-introduce selected hunting of elephants and buffaloes in Botswana through the Community Based Natural Resources Programme. “The two species of animals are just many and should be hunted,” Mbaiwa said. Mbaiwa stated that Ngamiland landuse needs to be fine turned. “The district needs a more sustainable land use for both wildlife and agricultural use,” he said.
On August 29, Dr Chase invited this jounalist to fly around Khwai area to see the elephants’ carcass strewn around the area. This journalist counted about nine carcasses in the area. Dr Chase said the trail of carcasses extended all the way up to Linyanti adding that we could not finish counting all of them as it would be expensive to do on a charted helicopter. Asked about controversy sorrounding his methodologies, Dr Chase had this to say.
“I know Professor Mbaiwa has been talking bad about me saying my methodologies are questionable. The man does not even know me personaly. I do not know why he is damaging my reputation. My methodologies are valid. I am the best in Africa when it comes to counting elephants. My findings are published in big journals not some micky mouse journals like some of this researchers.” Professor said he is aware Dr Chase has been attacking him but said his is not a personal attack but profesional criticism.
Meanwhile Masisi will on Thursday address the Batawana at their main Kgotla where issues such as Batawana land claims, elephants question, re-current Foot and Mouth Disease and the controversial tourism land bank are expected to dominate the meeting. The Moremi Game Reserve which the Batawana have been fighting government for its ownership is expected to dominate the proceedings including NG19 land claim by Khwai residents. Masisi will on Wednesday afternoon officially open Maitlamo Junior Secondary in Disaneng.
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.