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UDC MPs refused to contribute for Khama

The stern refusal by a majority of Members of Parliament to contribute for the outgoing President Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s farewell gift has compelled parliament to settle for purchasing him Botswana Telecommunications Limited (BTCL) ordinary shares, WeekendPost has established.

In the general assembly meetings chaired by the parliamentary speaker Gladys Kokorwe, the house had agreed in principle to buy the outgoing president a borehole engine as a gift, sources say. However after careful assessment MPs reversed the decision arguing that he already had one, and that they should consider getting him a different gift. It was at this point that it was proposed and agreed that each MP contributes P500 or more for the president’s gift.

According to information reaching this publication, the assembly then proposed that a vehicle that he could use in farming activities was the appropriate gift. A 15 tonne truck popularly known as Matshelonyana was then agreed upon as a token for appreciation for Khama.
This publication has further gathered that some MPs had however argued that the president already had enough vehicles that could assist in his farming life, but what frustrated efforts to purchase the Matshelonyana is the fact that some legislators downright refused to contribute their share.

According to the contribution sheet; from the opposition, only two members from the Alliance for Progressives (AP) Dr Phenyo Butale and Major General Pius Mokgware contributed the P500 each, for the said gift. Some legislators have not shied away from expressing discontent over the decision to have them contribute for the outgoing president, arguing that already, he (Khama) had been received a lot from Batswana in general. “This was just a farewell to the president and we had to set aside our political affiliation. Politics is just a contestation of ideas and we had to bid the president farewell as people not as politicians,” Butale said when defending his decision to tender his contribution.

It was not only MPs from the opposition who boycotted the idea as some of the cabinet ministers also rebuffed it. Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture Development, Kefentse Mzwinila and Minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila are some of the cabinet ministers that never bothered to contribute a penny for the president. “They say they don’t have money and there is nothing you can do really when someone says that. Bare ba ntshitse thata ko cabinet for rraetsho, Jaanong ba chonne (they are saying they have contributed for president as cabinet now they are broke),” BDP chief whip Liakat Kablay said.

The BDP backbenchers were also not amused by the idea of contributing for a gift for Khama. Billy Buti, Ignatius Moswaane, Christian De Graff, Ngaka Ngaka and Polson Majaga didn’t contribute for the token of appreciation. Their reasons according to Kablay are different to those of ministers. “Ba lela ka dikgaolo rra, bare batho ba a sokola kwa yaanong ga ba kake ba ntsha madi batho ba bone ba sokola kwa. Jaanong go botoka ba thusa batlhophi go na le motho yoo humileng gale (They are saying they are busy with their constituencies and they would rather assist their poor constituents than enriching the already rich),” said Kablay. 

For his part Gaborone North MP Haskins Nkaigwa said, “During the Khama regime corruption sky-rocketed and he said nothing not even to reprimand his cabinet ministers, he did nothing about it. Now I should contribute for him while he failed to address corruption? No!” 
BDP backbencher Ngaka contested that he did contribute albeit late because, “I have not been around but I did contribute P500 on Monday”.

Those that did not contribute highlighted that the contribution was voluntary and not forced. This is the reason why many of them were not pressured to contribute. Efforts to contact most of the MPs who did not contribute were futile as some were said to be in back-to-back meetings while some’s phones went unanswered.

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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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