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Kgafelas ally to replace Davids

Bakgatla ba Kgafela exiled chief, Kgafela Kgafela II, his deputy Bana Sekai and the royal enclave have given Kgafela’s regiment leader, Moagi Molebatsi blessings to contest Mochudi East constituency under the Botswana National Front (BNF) ticket as the race to replace Isaac Davids takes off.

Davids was stabbed to death by his two herd boys earlier this month. Kgafela’s regiment known as ‘Mangana’ under the stewardship of Molebatsi has been the driving force in advocating for the return of their chief and other community issues including the installation of Sekai as chief last year. Molebatsi, who is a close ally of Kgafela, long informed the royal family of his intentions and they right-away gave him their blessings.

“I have informed Kgosi Sekai and the regiment about my intentions and they agreed and wished me the best of luck. For protocol sake I wouldn’t personally tell Kgabo (Kgafela) about it hence I channelled it through Sekai to tell Kgosi. But for sure he does not have any problem with this – he could have long summoned me if he did,” Molebatsi said in an interview.

Although all concerned stakeholders are nudging him on, they have asked him to not disappear completely from the community and neglect communal works. “There still a lot of pending projects which need to be reported back to Kgosi. He was instrumental in bringing calmness and stability in our area which has been envied by others. Further our chieftainship and government impasse is not yet over and we need people like him to direct all these to their conclusion, so we will need him here and there,” a Mangana royal house source told this paper.

Molebatsi long declared his interest for the constituency when Davids defected to BDP. He then in subsequent meetings with the regiment and the royals informed them about his intentions, and they immediately endorsed the idea. Molebatsi is said to be Kgafela’s blue-eyed boy. Kgafela allegedly trusts him, and he won more affection from the self-exiled leader last year when he lobbied for the installation of Sekai as Bakgatla’s recognized Chief after five years of the tribe not having representation at Ntlo Ya Dikgosi.

According to Molebatsi, Kgafela, naturally a radical person wants change of political leadership in the Kgatleng area. “Mokgatla wants change in our area especially if it is instigated by his regiment because he believes mophato is the driving force of the Kgatleng community,” Molebatsi said. Molebatsi has a long way to go though, as he will have to win the primary elections first before he can proceed to contest the bye-elections, possibly against Mpho Moruakgomo of the BDP.

When contacted for comment, BNF Publicity Secretary Justin Hunyepa would not reveal when the primary elections would be held as well as candidate/s that have shown interest in the constituency. This publication has however been informed that a well-known activist, Obakeng Matlou is likely to take Molebatsi head on at the party’s primary elections.

Molebatsi, it is expected will work closely with the royal house in implementing the reforms that Kgafela has been preaching including land reforms, instilling discipline and other societal ills currently besieging the district. Among those reforms that Kgafela ordered his regiment to implement last year includes returning of floggings in the area to curb illicit behaviour. “Our area is troubled by murder cases and we should fight that with anything at our disposal,” Molebatsi said.

“Re tloo letsa moretlwa Kgabo, (We will flog wrongdoers) but it is not like we are bragging about it. We just want to instil discipline in our tribe of which after some time others will bench mark here,” Molebatsi said. Just like Batlokwa, Bakgatla also want a land quota system in which the indigenous members will be given preferable treatment over ‘aliens’ in land allocation.

While Molebatsi some believe that Molebatsi will have no problem bringing home victory, some quarters are of the view that Matlou might just surprise the royal house by defeating their preferred candidate it the primaries. Mochudi East is one of the strong holds of opposition parties which might prove difficult for BDP to retain.

Davids won the constituency as a BNF candidate before defecting to the BDP last year. In the 2014 general elections Davids won with 6,824 votes compared to BDP’s Moruakgomo 5,941. The then incumbent, Isaac Mabiletsa of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) was voted by 4,528 people. Mabiletsa won the constituency at the 2009 general elections with the Botswana National Front (BNF) ticket, before defecting to the BCP. The tensions between Bakgatla and government escalated in 2012 with a number of criminal charges laid against Kgafela. He later on fled to South Africa and government took a decision to de-recognize him. 

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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

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Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.

“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”

In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.

It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.

Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.

President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”

In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”

He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.

“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”

Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”

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Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV

24th March 2023

Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”

Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.

“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”

He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.

In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.

Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.

Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”

“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”

Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.

“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

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