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Ngami constituency: Its another Nkate, Kwerepe scuffle

Ngami constituency seems to be braced for another dose of a bitter primary elections war between Botswana Democratic Party’s Jacob Nkate and cabinet Minister Thato Kwerepe as per the latest indications in the constituency.

Ironically, the young Jacob Nkate ushered in to the political scene in 1994 when he defeated Thato Kwerepe’s father, the late Gaerolwe Kwerepe. Nkate eventually later made a name for himself within the BDP. However, senior Kwerepe’s progeny, former school headmaster, Thato Kwerepe now a junior a minister of Basic Education, left the civil service to challenge Nkate.

The duo’s primary elections run for 2009 elections, won by Nkate amid complaints of unfair playing field, became a source of bitter rivalry. When news was announced at Ngami Community Junior Secondary in 2009 that Nkate had lost Ngami to Taolo Habano of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), the loss was blamed on feud and de-campaigns between the two power houses. Nkate eventually left to be Botswana Ambassador in Japan while Kwerepe seen by many as former President Ian Khama’s yes man was later voted in to the BDP Central Committee, solidified his power in Nkate’s absence  and went on to beat Habano for the Ngami constituency in the 2014 elections.

Fast forward to the approaching 2019 election, Nkate left Botswana ambassadorship position in Japan to re-launch his political career by contesting Ngami against incumbent Thato Kwerepe. Nkate however, fellout with President Mokgweetsi Masisi last year before the Tonota congress after he expressed ambitions to challenge Masisi for the presidency.  However sources have pointed out that Nkate has been working hard to mend bridges with Masisi post Tonota and subsequent Masisi ascendance to presidency.

” Yes I can only confirm I will take part in primaries but I cannot discuss anything beyond that” Nkate said in an interview.  Kwerepe who is the most visible in the Ngami constituency was not available for comment. The two BDP Ngami heavyweights who have all previously served as BDP Secretary Generals are braced for another bitter showdown in the upcoming BDP primaries.

 Kwerepe presided on the return of Allen Sokwe back to the BDP from UDC to BDP. Sokwe who is Nkate ‘homeboy’ from Tsau village was viewed as Kwerepe main ally during the divisive 2009 BDP primary elections that Kwerepe controversially lost to Nkate. His return is viewed as the renewal of hostilities. However Kwerepe recently lost a valuable ally in Deputy North West District Council Deputy Chairman, Lathang Molonda who recently raised suspicions by announcing that he will not be contesting the party primaries in Nokaneng /Habu ward. 

Molonda was a long time ally of Nkate but drifted to Kwerepe during Nkate’s absence. Moreover, the Ngami Branch Committee is said to be divided along camps affiliated to Nkate and Kwerepe. This came to the fore in a recent BDP Disciplinary Committee case involving Kabo Kurusa who is the Branch Secretary   and Daniel Molokwe who is the Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC,) deployed for Ngami constituency. The judgment observed that Ngami has been polarized by campaigns between Nkate and Kwerepe.

Councilor Daniel Molokwe had brought a case against Karusa in terms of article 15.1 to 15.5 of the Botswana Democratic Party Disciplinary Rules and Regulations. In the charge, Molokwe stated that before undertaking membership audit exercise in Ngami constituency he was given a letter of suspension for Karusa from party activities by the Ngami branch disciplinary committee.

 Kurusa, branch secretary who is said to be affiliated to Nkate, allegedly disrupted meetings meant to facilitate registration process. He was accused by Molokwe refusing to hand over registration books to the acting Secretary Shadrack Sianga something which made registration exercise impossible. Kurusa was also accused of supporting Nkate in Ngami constituency. Kurusa allegedly declared that he was only registering members supporting Jacob Nkate and not Thato Kwerepe. He also allegedly distributed registration books to cells that support Nkate. Kurusa also allegedly declared to some of the BDP members that Kwerepe does not have the numbers to win against Nkate.

Advisor Pulamore, Ngami Branch Chairperson who is affiliated to Kwerepe was called in as a witness before the BDP DC in Sehitwa on May 19 in Sehitwa.  The DC judgment however observed that Pulamore testimony mostly contained hearsays and hinged on the position that Kurusa was suspended from the committee and therefore not eligible to take part in party affairs.  Kurusa denied allegations and produced a letter that he was reinstated by the Branch Committee a position corroborated by his witness, Shadrack Sianga. 

Sianga further posited before the BDP disciplinary committee that Karusa did hand the books to him and accused the complainant (Moloko) of not working with the Branch Committee well. The DC threw out the case against Kurusa while observing that the case is part of ongoing feud in Ngami before the parliamentary elections.

North West Region chairman, Eagilwe Modisaemang confirmed that ongoing fed in Ngami constituency and Kurusa’s case escalated to the DC by Molokwe. He explained that the region has previously intervened and instructed activists from campaigns that could polarize the party in the constituency. However he denied claims that they plan to dissolve Ngami Branch Committee which is seen to be polarized by the feuds.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
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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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

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.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

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.”

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