Government of Botswana, through Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs has refused to issue a birth certificate of a minor child (names withheld) at the request of her father.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs controls and supervises issuing of birth certificates. The denial by the government to issue the minor the birth certificate has culminated in a landmark court case where the father, Tshepo Mpatane, will face off against government at the High court. The application was registered by esteemed human rights attorney and partner at Thabiso Tafila Attorneys, Phazha Molebatsi, on behalf of the minor child.
The long-winded case has the potential to change the law with regard to fathers so that they play a noteworthy role in their children’s lives and owning up, in the event of absent mothers, like it is in the matter. In the court papers, seen by WeekendPost, Molebatsi in essence sought an order to be granted directing the government to issue the birth certificate. The well-regarded Counsel, who previously served at Ndadi Law Firm as well as Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) specifically sought “that an order be granted directing the government to cause to immediately be issued a birth certificate for the minor child”.
Molebatsi who is voluntarily acting on behalf of the father of the minor on pro bono, said this is considered a violation of the minor’s right to nationality from birth – contrary to section 11 of the Children’s Act. Now a partner at Thabiso Tafila Attorneys, the progressive lawyer also stated that an order be granted directing that the government develop a procedure for single parents and in particular single fathers in a similar situation to be able to register the births of their children.
In denying to issue a birth certificate in respect of the minor at the request of her biological father, whom they even share a surname, the government is said to have discriminated against him on the basis of his sex as contrary to sections 3 and 15 of the Botswana constitution.
“This is on account of section 6(2) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act which makes provision for a single unwed father in a similar position. As a result of this provision I was unable to register the birth of my child, as government officials are unable to determine the procedure to be followed to assist with the registration,” the biological father of the child said in his affidavit.
Mpatane also mentioned that the birth certificate should register his child as a Motswana by virtue of his nationality as a Motswana. “The refusal by government to issue a birth certificate to my child not only deprives her of her rights as a citizen but also her rights as a Motswana child,” he highlighted in the court papers. As a background in the matter, Mpatane said sometime around January 1999, he entered into a romantic relationship with a certain Ms Nomsa Mahlanga, a national of Zimbabwe. At the time he says he was on a 2 months trip in Selibe Phikwe where he met and fell in love with Nomsa who was also residing in the town and only knew her as “Dineo” and therefore did not have any reason to believe that she was not a citizen of Botswana. It is understood that the father later moved to Kasane.
“Unbeknown to me, the minor who is my biological daughter had been conceived during the time of my relationship with Ms Nomsa Mahlanga before I relocated to Kasane. It was sometime in April 2001, when Ms Nomsa Mhlanga appeared at my home in Francistown and abandoned the minor child on my doorstep that I first learnt of and met my daughter,” he narrated in court papers. He explained that he has since raised the minor child as his daughter and conducted a paternity test as suggested by his lawyer Molebatsi, which he did and proved that it is his child.
“I have since that time been raising her as my daughter. I have had to give her the name she currently uses as her mother did not tell me her name, birth date, place of birth or any information necessary to facilitate her birth registration.” The father of the minor said in the court papers that he attempted without success since 2001 to register the birth of his daughter. One of the barriers to the successful registration of his daughter’s birth he said was the request by government authorities for the birth details such as place of birth and date of birth.
“However, not having being present at the time; and not being in possession of that information and not having any means of contacting my child’s mother meant that I was unable to provide the requested information. I have approached several government agents including nurses, social workers, teachers and the police. Despite explaining my inability to provide these details, I have not been assisted to register the birth of my daughter and she remained without any documents.” He believes that if he was a single mother in the same position, there would have been more assistance and understanding forthcoming from government officials.
The minor’s father also stated that she has also been deprived full rights that are enjoyed by other citizens and registered children. He added that the child has had to use an affidavit to access free education as well as for her access to health services, even though she would at times be denied vaccines that any child would get free from government. He said the child could not cross the border with him as well. According to Mpatane, just recently he had to seek his attorney Molebatsi’s intervention to ensure the child registers for form 3 examinations as she was required to produce a birth certificate to register or she would not be registered for the exams.
He explained: “I have always assumed full responsibility to care and provide for my daughter from the day she was left with me, to the present day. This I do willingly because of the love I have as a parent for my daughter, thus my daughter has no protection of the law to ensure that she continues to enjoy my support. She has no legally recognized name and has been deprived nationality as a Motswana, and many other rights that other children enjoy.”
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‚Äôs main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures‚Äô 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‚Äô 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. ‚ÄėLet‚Äôs have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,‚Äô he stated
He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‚ÄėIf we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy‚Äô, 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. ‚ÄėWe 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,‚Äô 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.
‚ÄėAfter realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it. ¬†‚ÄėWe did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,‚Äô 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. ‚ÄėResidents 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, ‚Äėhe 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. ‚ÄėWe suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,‚Äô
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.
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.
‚ÄúThe 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.‚ÄĚ
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.
‚ÄúWe welcome the Director‚Äôs general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the ‚Äúfive Ps‚ÄĚ 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.‚ÄĚ
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. ‚ÄúFor 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.‚ÄĚ