Batawana have declared that the Minister of Environment and Natural Resourses, Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama received a vicious backlash from Maun residents for failing to address scorching issues relating to tourism in the area.
The badly tampered residents went to extent of declaring Tshekedi unfit for office, urging him to resign his ministerial post since he decisions are clouded by his business interests in tourism. The calls were made when Tshekedi finally addressed his first long-waited Kgotla meeting in Maun. Speaking, at the meeting, Khwai/ Mababe area councillor, Kebareeditse Ntshogotho stated that Khama is unfit for office and has failed the ministry.
Ntshogotho cited among other things the decision to freeze allocation of tourism licences in Mababe and Khwai, and the introduction of the tourism land bank as chief indication of Khama’s failures. Ntshogotho stated that the two issues have respectively impoverished the Khwai community which is solely dependent on tourism and forced other communities to lose acess and control of tourism lands.
Another villager, Gaegatwe Sekeletu stated that under Khama leadership the ministry has failed to manage elephant numbers in Botswana. He said this is not surprising because Khama has business interests in the tourism sector. Sekeletu stated: “You are both the referee and the player at the same time. We hear that even the parliament is afraid of you. Your interests are biased towards wildlife and white tourism operators. You are full of descrimination.”
Another speaker, Lesiela Xhanikwe, a Mosarwa tribesman of the Okavango Delta, suggested that government must remove all foregners from the Okavango Delta and give the land to locals. “All those people have built lodges on my fathers’ ancenstral land while I am poor. I want my land back. ” Speaking in a follow up interview, Khama said he will not resign. “The councillor who was calling me to resign is bitter bacause I refused to aprove his tourism licence in Khwai,” Tshekedi fought back.
Tshekedi blamed some of the ministry officers for poor perfomance saying this has now created poor relations for him with the community. “Some of the officers we even aganst me coming to adress this meeting. I almost made that public today as I took the criticism,” he said. Tshematshe Monwela of the Batawana Advisory Committee expressed misgivings regarding the ownership of Moremi Game Reserve and the Maun Educational Park.
He stated that the two properties are tribal properties whose administration was given to government. “We have renewed the Fauna Consevation Society and have already written the Tawana Land Board informing them of our plans to resume operation and ownership of the two sites under the trust. Earlier when speaking Tshekedi had informed the gathering that back in history, the Bangwato territory had included the Boteti area.
He said it would be improper for Bangwato to demand that the diamonds in Boteti are theirs. Khama however, spoke against suggestions that whites should be removed from the Okavango Delta, warning that doing so will be suicidal and will tarnish the good name of Botswana as well as the tourism sector. On the Moremi Game Reserve issue, Tshekedi said the ministry of Land management; Water and Sanitation Sevices will solve the Moremi Game Reserve issue. He also revealed that the ministry has sourced funding to pay outstanding debts to communities as compensation for damage by wild animals.
TAWANA WANTS SHOOT TO KILL POLICY FOR CORRUPT INDIIVIDUALS
Meanwhile Batawana paramount chief, Kgosi Tawana Moremi suggested that government must introduce a death penality law for all those convicted of corruption in Botswana. He said those who are found to be commitng corruption must be ‘shot in the head’ like they do in China. Kgosi Tawana further stated that President Mokgweetsi Masisi must benchmark on how the Chinese deals with corrption during his current trip to China. Kgosi Tawana said that Ngamiland has for a long time suffred from tourism related corruption saying such people deserve to be shot in the head.
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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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.
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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.”