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22 000 Stray cattle around Lake Ngami threaten FMD control

Controlling the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the Ngami will not be an easy feat as the area reportedly has an excess of 22 thousand stray cattle. Ngamiland Farmers Association Chairman, Mod Masedi confirmed the staggering number in an interview, explaining that the number is a concern for the ongoing FMD control efforts in the communal lands along Lake Ngami area.  

However, Masedi explained that a farmers association’s taskforce has been formed to consult with the affected communities on the solution to the problem. “We need all cattle in the area to be vaccinated during the ongoing FMD vaccination, but there is a high number of stray cattle which disadvantages FMD control efforts.” Masedi revealed that the task team is meeting on Tuesday to come up with a way forward.

Masedi’s sentiments were corroborated by Principal Veterinary Officer, Dr Odireleng Thololwane who also told farmers during a workshop on Wednesday that there are high numbers of stray cattle around Lake Ngami. He stated that the stray cattle are a menace to their efforts to control the ongoing outbreak of FMD in the area. The latest FMD outbreak was recorded in Naune cattle post on June 10. The following week more FMD discoveries were made at Kgomotshwana crush, taking the total number of cattle found to be infected with FMD to 20. Dr Thololwane revealed that FMD was mainly discovered on calves.  The FMD type has been identified to be SAT 2. Currently the DVS FMD team is undertaking vaccinations, patrols and disease surveillance.

DVS officials have blamed the recurrent outbreaks on farmers’ failure to control the movement of their animals as lots of animals stray from cattle posts to graze on the communal pastures of Lake Ngami where there is abundant free water. Meanwhile, North West District Councillors have grilled government over the delay to start the national Foot and Mouth Disease special unit.

Commenting on Full Council Speech by Chairman Duncan Enga recently, Boyei ward Councillor, Ntlogelang Kebonyekgotla said government in December revealed that a FMD special unit within the Department of Veterinary services was being formed for the sole mandate of fighting FMD in Botswana.

He said in December 2017, Ngamiland Agricultural Coordinator, Obert Mabutha told councillors during a full council meeting that  work on a special unit that will specifically target  FMD is 96 percent complete. He said Mabutha expressed his hope that the unit would be fully operational during the 2018/19 financial year. He expressed disappointment that the unit was yet to start operations.

In his speech on Monday, NWDC Chairman, Duncan Enga said cattle slaughter for social purposes like weddings and funerals is allowed  within affected villages of  Sehitwa, Bodibeng, Toteng, Kareng and Semboyo but only after  inspection of the animals by veterinary services. Enga said abattoirs are currently un-operational but could soon resume operations once they source animals from non-affected areas.

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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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