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Climate change: Botswana braces for a new normal

Climate trends in Botswana are pointing towards more extreme weather conditions – the climate system warms, according to Prof. Nnyaladzi Batisani of  Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI).

According to a Research by Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI)’s Climate Change Division in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s African Climate Change and Development Initiative (ACDI) the findings portray serious implications for Botswana’s socio-economic sectors.

In a research paper submitted to a peer reviewed academic journal “Environmental Research Letters (ERL)”, the study projects a general decrease in total annual rainfall over most parts of Botswana with the northern parts of the country to realize the greatest decrease. On average, Prof Batisani observes that rainfall is expected to reduce by 55.1-75.9 mm, 24.7-61.7mm and 30.4-43.0mm in the northern, central to southeastern and southwestern parts of the country respectively.

“These reductions are significant as they could mean the difference between a good harvest and a complete crop failure as well as an increase in length of the dry season thereby leading to a shortened planting season.” According to Prof Batisani, citing from the research, Rainfall events are to become shorter and more intense leading to increased potential of flash flooding as the climate system warms further. The study also indicates that temperature changes point towards increased number of hot days and decreased cold weather hence longer and more intense heat wave events.

Prof Batisani, an Earth and Environmental System Analyst interested in complex environmental science: the integration of biophysical, social, and information sciences to solve food security and environmental change problems, observes that the findings portray serious implications for Botswana’s socio-economic sectors.

“The agricultural sector will continue to suffer the most as climate becomes more unfavorable for farming activities. The water sector will also be put under considerable pressure due to less inflow into water reservoirs coupled with increased evaporation rates due to high temperatures,” he said. Prof Batisani said the study calls for different stakeholders to work towards adapting to the “New Normal”.

“It notes that concerted efforts need to be made to increase adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture practices. There is also a need to be strategic in planning for future water security, encouraging water saving measures as well as looking to promote rain water capture because potentially long drought periods are expected to increase in frequency. It is expedient that investments in climate change research also be intensified to increase the country’s knowledge base on climate change thereby promoting informed policy formulation.”

The study follows a call by policy makers to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide a report on the differentiated impacts of 1.50c and a 2.00c warming above preindustrial levels by 2018. The research looked at how climate extremes are going to change in Botswana at these respective warming levels.     

Botswana's climate is generally semi-arid. Though it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season, which runs through the summer months. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and highly regional – but according to the BITRI study Batswana should brace for a new normal.

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Woman swindled out of P62 000 by fake CID officers

17th June 2021
Motube

Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.

According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.

“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.

The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.

Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.

“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’

They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.

In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.

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BCP walks out of UDC meeting

15th June 2021
Boko and Saleshando

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.

UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.

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Katlholo wins against DPP

15th June 2021
DCEC DIRECTOR: Tymon Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.

The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.

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