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Friday, 19 April 2024

Maele in Lion skin scandal

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The Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Prince Maele is at the centre of a controversial installation of a Headman of Arbitration in his home village of Goo-Tau.

Minister Maele had convinced Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama to give a lion skin from the Department of Wildlife to drape his nephew, Oitsile Maele who was installed headman of arbitration at Monneng ward in the midst of disagreements among the GooTau tribesmen as to who is the rightful candidate for the post.

First the Bangwato tribal authorities are incensed because the Minister used his position to disregard the process of installing a headman; while the Office of the President is also following up on the issue for what is alleged to be possible insubordination on the part of Minister Maele; the paternal uncles in Goo-Tau are also not happy because the Minister failed to cooperate with them when they advised him that he should not drape his nephew with a lion skin because it was unprocedural; and last the Tribal Authorities are not happy because Oitsile Maele’s name was never approved or at least submitted for consideration and recommendation by the Minister of Local Government, Slumber Tsogwane.

Asked for comment, Minister Tsogwane flatly refused to talk about the issue because he felt that “the owners of these issues should deal with them because they never bothered to notify his office in the first place of their intention to install a headman.” The Minister insisted that it is important to follow protocol so as to avoid controversy. This publication learns that Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane had written twice to Minister Maele warning him not to go ahead with the installation of his nephew as headman. Kgamane had received complaints against the move from the other section of Goo-Tau village who were against Oitsile Maele’s candidacy.

Kgamane had advised that there should be a letter from the Ministry confirming the candidate and giving the green light to the ceremony. But above all, it is understood that Kgamane was shocked when he learnt that the headman will be draped with a lion skin. Minister Maele was at the forefront of making the event a success hence he ensured that there was pomp and glamour spicing it with a lion skin draping.

Sources point out that Minister Maele is not in good terms with his paternal uncles who also lay claim to the position of headman. Oitsile Maele, who was installed recently, is a son to the current chief of Goo-Tau, Maele Maele who was voted headman of records in 1985 after controversially defeating Boitumelo Gaborone. He has not been promoted since his election, the village remains divided because it has no birthright chief.

THE LATE NIGHT CEREMONY AND LION SKIN SEIZURE

It has been established that Oitsile Maele was draped with a lion skin in the cover of night. There were dignatories from Petermaritzburg (Bapedi) who had come to witness the occasion. Civil servants were instructed to ignore the ceremony. It is understood that upon being contacted Tshekedi Khama made it clear that he was not aware that the lion skin was going to be used for purposes of installing a headman of arbitration. Weekend Post gathers that officers from the Wildlife Department and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had to storm Goo-Tau at night to confiscate the lion skin.

But indications are that Maele and his team had learnt of the operation and he draped his nephew with the lion skin late at night before the actual ceremony the following morning. By the time the officers dispossessed the Maele’s of the lion skin, Oitsile Maele had already been draped in it and a few pictures taken. The Maele name came into contact with bogosi in Goo-Tau in 1985 after an election. Some in Goo-Tau are calling for fresh elections to elect a kgosi because “in any event” it is not a birth right of the Maele’s.  

Minister Maele may have to explain why he disregarded the warnings from the Bangwato Regent, Sediegeng Kgamane. He may also have to explain why he chose to sideline the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development when he installed his nephew as headman of arbitration. Meanwhile Kgamane is said to be unhappy because someone else was draped with a lion skin in his territory without his knowledge. However, when contacted for comment Maele feigned absolute ignorance on the matter. He rerouted this publication to Tshekedi Khama, “who might tell you who he gave the skin to.” “I absolutely don’t know anything about that. It’s the first time I hear of such. You can ask him, (Tshekedi) maybe he will tell you who he gave the skin to, “he said curtly.

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Nigerians, Zimbabweans apply for Chema Chema Fund

16th April 2024

Fronting activities, where locals are used as a front for foreign-owned businesses, have been a long-standing issue in Botswana. These activities not only undermine the government’s efforts to promote local businesses but also deprive Batswana of opportunities for economic empowerment, officials say. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has warned of heavy penalties for those involved in fronting activities especially in relation to the latest popular government initiative dubbed Chema Chema.

According to the Ministry, the Industrial Development Act of 2019 clearly outlines the consequences of engaging in fronting activities. The fines of up to P50,000 for first-time offenders and P20,000 plus a two-year jail term for repeat offenders send a strong message that the government is serious about cracking down on this illegal practice. These penalties are meant to deter individuals from participating in fronting activities and to protect the integrity of local industries.

“It is disheartening to hear reports of collaboration between foreigners and locals to exploit government initiatives such as the Chema Chema Fund. This fund, administered by CEDA and LEA, is meant to support informal traders and low-income earners in Botswana. However, when fronting activities come into play, the intended beneficiaries are sidelined, and the funds are misused for personal gain.” It has been discovered that foreign nationals predominantly of Zimbabwean and Nigerian origin use unsuspecting Batswana to attempt to access the Chema Chema Fund. It is understood that they approach these Batswana under the guise of drafting business plans for them or simply coming up with ‘bankable business ideas that qualify for Chema Chema.’

Observers say the Chema Chema Fund has the potential to uplift the lives of many Batswana who are struggling to make ends meet. They argue that it is crucial that these funds are used for their intended purpose and not siphoned off through illegal activities such as fronting. The Ministry says the warning it issued serves as a reminder to all stakeholders involved in the administration of these funds to ensure transparency and accountability in their disbursement.

One local commentator said it is important to highlight the impact of fronting activities on the local economy and the livelihoods of Batswana. He said by using locals as a front for foreign-owned businesses, opportunities for local entrepreneurs are stifled, and the economic empowerment of Batswana is hindered. The Ministry’s warning of heavy penalties is a call to action for all stakeholders to work together to eliminate fronting activities and promote a level playing field for local businesses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s warning of heavy penalties for fronting activities is a necessary step to protect the integrity of local industries and promote economic empowerment for Batswana. “It is imperative that all stakeholders comply with regulations and work towards a transparent and accountable business environment. By upholding the law and cracking down on illegal activities, we can ensure a fair and prosperous future for all Batswana.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Merck Foundation and African First Ladies mark World Health Day 2024

15th April 2024

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks “World Health Day” 2024 together with Africa’s First Ladies who are also Ambassadors of MerckFoundation “More Than a Mother” Campaign through their Scholarship and Capacity Building Program. Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “At Merck Foundation, we mark World Health Day every single day of the year over the past 12 years, by building healthcare capacity and transforming patient care across Africa, Asia and beyond.

I am proud to share that Merck Foundation has provided over 1740 scholarships to aspiring young doctors from 52 countries, in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Embryology & Fertility specialty, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Advanced Surgical Practice, Pain Management, General Surgery, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Internal Medicine, Trauma & Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Cardiology, Stroke Medicine, Care of the Older Person, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Child Health, Obesity & Weight Management, Women’s Health, Biotechnology in ART and many more”.

As per the available data, Africa has only 34.6% of the required doctors, nurses, and midwives. It is projected that by 2030, Africa would need additional 6.1 million doctors, nurses, and midwives*. “For Example, before the start of the Merck Foundation programs in 2012; there was not a single Oncologist, Fertility or Reproductive care specialists, Diabetologist, Respiratory or ICU specialist in many countries such as The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea, Burundi, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Namibia among others. We are certainly creating historic legacy in Africa, and also beyond. Together with our partners like Africa’s First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Gender, Education and Communication, we are impacting the lives of people in the most disadvantaged communities in Africa and beyond.”, added Senator Dr. Kelej. Merck Foundation works closely with their Ambassadors, the African First Ladies and local partners such as; Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building healthcare capacity and addressing health, social & economic challenges in developing countries and under-served communities. “I strongly believe that training healthcare providers and building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to equitable and quality at health care in Africa.

Therefore, I am happy to announce the Call for Applications for 2024 Scholarships for young doctors with special focus on female doctors for our online one-year diploma and two year master degree in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties, which includes both Online Diploma programs and On-Site Fellowship and clinical training programs. The applications are invited through the Office of our Ambassadors and long-term partners, The First Ladies of Africa and Ministry of Health of each country.” shared Dr . Kelej. “Our aim is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people by building healthcare capacity across Africa, Asia and other developing countries. We are strongly committed to transforming patientcare landscape through our scholarships program”, concluded Senator Kelej.

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Interpol fugitive escapes from Botswana

15th April 2024

John Isaak Ndovi, a Tanzanian national embroiled in controversy and pursued under a red notice by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), has mysteriously vanished, bypassing a scheduled bail hearing at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court in Gaborone. Previously apprehended by Botswana law enforcement at the Tlokweng border post several months earlier, his escape has ignited serious concerns.

Accused of pilfering assets worth in excess of P1 million, an amount translating to roughly 30,000 Omani Riyals, Ndovi has become a figure of paramount interest, especially to the authorities in the Sultanate of Oman, nestled in the far reaches of Asia.

The unsettling news of his disappearance surfaced following his failure to present himself at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court the preceding week. Speculation abounds that Ndovi may have sought refuge in South Africa in a bid to elude capture, prompting a widespread mobilization of law enforcement agencies to ascertain his current location.

In an official communiqué, Detective Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Selebatso Mokgosi of Interpol Gaborone disclosed Ndovi’s apprehension last September at the Tlokweng border, a capture made possible through the vigilant issuance of the Interpol red notice.

At 36, Ndovi is implicated in a case of alleged home invasion in Oman. Despite the non-existence of an extradition treaty between Botswana and Oman, Nomsa Moatswi, the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), emphasized that the lack of formal extradition agreements does not hinder her office’s ability to entertain extradition requests. She highlighted the adoption of international cooperation norms, advocating for collaboration through the lenses of international comity and reciprocity.

Moatswi disclosed the intensified effort by law enforcement to locate Ndovi following his no-show in court, and pointed to Botswana’s track record of extraditing two international fugitives from France and Zimbabwe in the previous year as evidence of the country’s relentless pursuit of legal integrity.

When probed about the potential implications of Ndovi’s case on Botswana’s forthcoming evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Moatswi reserved her speculations. She acknowledged the criticality of steering clear of blacklisting, suggesting that this singular case is unlikely to feature prominently in the FATF’s assessment criteria.

 

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