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P45 million blown away tenderpreneur style

In a classic case that epitomizes poor implementation, a company that was awarded work to build revenue offices in Shakawe in the Okavango area has failed to deliver on the project, forcing the Ministry of Infrastructure and Land Development to cancel the tender and demand reimbursement from the contractor.

An application has since been made to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) for the original award to be revoked and the job has been re-advertised inviting potentially bidders to tender. Area Member of Parliament, Bagalatia Arone and Okavango Sub Council Chairman want the tender to be re-awarded because “the people are suffering as a result of getting the service from Gumare which is far and has bad roads connection with surrounding villages.”

The project was awarded over a year ago by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) and the contractor in question was given P4.5 million mobilization fee. A Weekend Post enquiry revealed that the situation was so bad that the contractor only came twice to the site and disappeared after scratching the surface a little at the site.

However what set tongues wagging is the fact that the businessman behind the project recently donated P350 000 to Minister of Justice Defence and Security, Shaw Kgathi’s region in Bobonong. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) benefited as a party from the donation. Those close to the developments wondered why the company was making a donation when it appeared to have failed to honour its contractual obligation to execute a project in Shakawe, allegedly to financial stress.  

This publication learns that the construction company had appealed the decision to terminate the tender; however the Ministry was not willing to overturn its decision despite numerous efforts by high ranking ministers, including Kgathi to appeal on the company’s behalf. Indications are that the ministers who were intervening were pushing the citizen empowerment agenda and the “second chance” rhetoric.  

For his part Minister Kgathi confirmed that his region received a donation from a local company but would not be drawn into discussing the issue of a failed project in Shakawe because it has nothing to do with him or the BDP.BDP secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane said he is aware of the donation that was made to the BDP BOMASE region. He said the donation was made in good faith and he would not delve into issues of a project that was not delivered. He asked this reporter to address the matter with the relevant authorities at government, but he was confident that appropriate action has been followed.

The Okavango sub council chairman, Anderson Kambimba Mbaha confirmed that a Revenue Office that was scheduled to be constructed last year in Shakawe has been put on hold because the contractor could not deliver. He said as a Council they are frustrated by instances where locals are given an opportunity to bring services to the people but fail to deliver.

He said the Revenue office was going to create employment for the people of Shakawe and surrounding areas during construction and probably after construction.  He said currently people are forced to follow such service to Gumare which is very far from a number of villages. He said locals run businesses hence they need a revenue office to pay their taxes and other services. He said government would benefit if the project was implemented on time.

Ministry officials are said to be concerned that a number of construction companies owned by locals are occasionally awarded contracts but more often than not fail to deliver projects. Arone said he was briefed by the Ministry concerned on the project and it is unfortunate that locals keep on disappointing when it comes to project implementation. He confirmed that the tender has been re-advertised.

“We hope the matter is resolved quickly so that the project can go on. We need this revenue office because our people are forced to seek this service as far as Maun,” he said. Arone pointed out that the ministry responsible musts ensure that the project is back on in due course under a capable company.

The MP said he was informed that the contract was terminated by the Ministry but he demanded that the mobilization fee paid to the contractor be paid back because he has failed to deliver on the project. He stated that the company was paid mobilization fee and the ministry should follow due process to recover the money. Arone further pointed out that Revenue Office is an important service centre where financial transactions occur and it would relieve people of the strain of getting service from distant places, “we also need for our infrastructure development,” he said.

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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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