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Botswana tourism & hospitality ranks top in 2016

Whereas 2016 was a low year for Botswana’s economy with thousands of job losses and dis-investment of major business giants, 2017 has begun with positive news.


While the Tourism & hospitality industry itself experienced significant headline administrative issues with the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) making rounds with negative reports to the travel and tours space, rankings making headlines in 2017 place the landlocked Botswana at high ranks of best travel destinations of both 2016 and entering into 2017.


The New York Times places Botswana as the world’s firth most desirable place to visit in 2017. According to an article published on the 4th of January titled 52 places to GO in 2017, Botswana’s Okavango Delta which is populated with lions, elephants and species unique to the only inland delta in the world resembles the red lechwe.


“Expect safaris on boats with built-in camera mounts (when water levels allow) and a chance to see the descendants of Ma di Tau, the star of “The Last Lions,” reads the article. The New York times places Canada as the best place to go in 2017. Another international media company, CNN observes The Sanctuary Chief's Camp as one the top 5 best new luxury safaris in Africa , articulating that it offers top notch post-safari pampering “For anyone looking for a spot of pampering after a long day's lion-, leopard- and giraffe-spotting, Sanctuary Chief's Camp, situated in the Okavango Delta's Moremi Game Reserve, deliverer,” it  states.


The lodge which was completely rebuilt in 2016,  is home to 12 pavilions, each with a private pool and outside seating area, with special features like the Geoffrey Kent Luxury Suite sleeps six people and comes with its own private bar, kitchen, waiter, guide and safari vehicle.


One of the world well respected ranking and analysis magazine, the Forbes magazine singled out Botswana alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo as two African countries that made it to the publication’s list of The 10 Coolest Places to Go In 2017.

Forbes highlighted Botswana for its elephant population – about 130,000, known to be the biggest in Africa – and its government's continued commitment towards its hunting ban. “In effect since 2014, it was imposed after the decline of several wildlife species in the country he safari camps in Botswana's Okavango Delta are some of the best accommodations to see these majestic animals” it observed. In September, luxury safari lodge Belmond Eagle Island Lodge opened in the Delta. It offers visitors a horse ride through the wilderness before whisking them away by private helicopter for an aerial safari.

As if that was not enough, 2017 hot travel destinations analysis in “The Australian” a renowned weekend newspaper in Australia observes Botswana as the next big thing in the hospitality and tourism space.

It notes that Botswana’s continued development of calm and exclusive safaris and game camps singles it out as the upcoming tourist attraction of the world. “There’s a general resurgence, but Botswana is increasing at a much faster pace. It’s made the decision to go after small-scale luxury tourism, and that’s exactly what people are looking for.

They don’t want to go where the masses are, they want a sense of exclusivity. The game viewing is exceptional but perhaps not as prolific as in other parts of Africa so you need to search it out, which makes it more exciting. It also means you have to have a high-caliber guide,” notes The Australia.

Luxuries Travel Intelligence (LTI) Agency also named Botswana Lodge Finline Fields as world’s best new safari in 2016.The Lodge is the ultimate private African safari experience. Located in the heart of the truly spectacular and unique Kalahari landscape, it will inspire even the well-travelled and renew the spirit of all who visit. The Lodge was envisioned to be the ‘perfect’ safari camp. It embodies authenticity, luxury and simplicity to create a lodge that has been thoughtfully planned to be as environmentally sensitive as possible.


Botswana’s unique and the world‘s only and largest inland delta the Okavango was listed under the UNESCO  World Heritage Site inscription in 2014. It is believed that the recognition could be placing Botswana into a more comfortable place in the world travel and tours space. Ever since the listing the Okavango delta has been receiving the most luxuries safari development and number of tourists visiting has increased tremendously.

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Media have a Role in Accelerating Harm Reduction Adoption

8th December 2022

African Scientists and Experts Call for the adoption of a Harm Reduction in approach in Public Health Strategies and Tobacco Control. Media have a critical role to play in accelerating Harm Reduction efforts by informing and sensitizing cigarette smokers on the availability and benefits of alternative, potentially lower risk products to cigarretes. Traditional cessation and smoking prevention norms are not the only ways that smokers who cannot or don’t’ want to quit can make healthier choices that cause less harm to themselves and those around them.

This was said during the 2nd Harm Reduction Exchange conference for African journalists held in Nairobi, Kenya on the 1st of December 2022. Speaking at the Harm Reduction Exchange Conference, Integra Africa Principal Dr. Tendai Mhizha emphasized the role that journalists and media houses should play in handling misinformation and disinformation in tobacco harm reduction discourse that is actually perpetuating the death and disease caused by people continuing to smoke combustible cigarettes. “There has been a lot of disinformation surrounding the topic of nicotine and the alleged negative effects that e-cigarettes have on public health.

This has led to policies that disfavour risk reduces products and narratives that completely deny their benefits. The media have the difficult responsibility to curb the scourge of disinformation and misinformation on harm reduction just like on other socio-political stances that are prescriptive and do not uphold consumers’ right to healthier lifestyle choices,” Dr Mhizha said.

The Harm Reduction Exchange cast a spotlight on alternative ways to reduce harm among tobacco smokers. Held under the theme Harm Reduction: Making a difference in Africa, the conference focused on the progress being made through harm reduction strategies in all fields related to public health such as drug and alcohol abuse, excessive sugar consumption, skin lightening and other addictive and behavioral practices. A wide array of harm reduction strategies and initiatives that are deployed towards reducing unnecessary deaths through non-communicable diseases were presented and discussed.

On his part, Prof. Abdoul Kassé, a world renowned and awarded Oncologist and a Professor of Surgery at the Cancer Institute in Senegal, said that Harm Reduction is a powerful public A Summary of the HR Exchange 30th November  1st December 2022 health tool that has the potential to reduce cancer by 30% and should be at the centre of all public health development strategies. Harm reduction, he said, has already benefited many people in public health and is the most viable alternative in tobacco control.

It applies to areas where there is a need to reduce the harm associated with a practice or consumption of a substance that is overused in society leading to increased morbidity and mortality. “Innovative Harm Reduction initiatives will help to keep more Africans alive. Tobacco Harm Reduction initiatives, including the use of popular e-cigarettes, nicotine patches and chewing gums, have continued to generate a lot of misunderstanding in both the public health community and in the media. However, there is evidence that the use of potentially less harmful alternatives than cigarettes for those who are not willing or cannot give up smoking with currently approved methods may be a solution, not necessarily the best for everyone but by far better than continuous smoking.

Where cessation repeatedly fails, switching to less harmful products is expected to result in benefits for many smokers,” Prof. Abdoul Kassé said. Similarly, views were expressed by Kenya’s Dr. Vivian Manyeki who said tobacco Harm Reduction has a solid scientific and medical basis, and it has a lot of promise as a public health measure to assist millions of smokers. “Many smokers are unable, or at least unwilling, to achieve cessation through complete nicotine and tobacco abstinence. They continue smoking despite the very real and obvious adverse health consequences and against the multiple public health campaigns. Conventional smoking cessation proposals should be complemented with alternative but more realistic options through Harm Reduction,” Dr. Manyeki said.

Tobacco Harm Reduction was introduced to mitigate the damage caused by cigarette smoking—the most dangerous form of tobacco use, and the leading cause of preventable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “Nicotine has an addictive potential but plays a minor role in smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Across the world, there is growing interest among experts in novel approaches towards tobacco control and there is an ongoing discussion that reducing the negative effects of smoking can be also achieved by tobacco harm reduction,” Dr. Kgosi Letlape, an ophthalmologist and President of Africa Medical Association and the president of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa, said.

Tobacco cessation is a key factor in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Abstinence from tobacco smoking is one of the primary goals for health promotion and management globally but it is unachievable in a huge amount of cases. This task remains unaccomplished despite extensive public campaigns on the health dangers of tobacco smoking. Thus, the development of novel strategies to reduce smoking is imperative. Moreover, the use of innovations in smoking products has been currently adopted by several smokers to reduce the health risks of smoking.

“The Harm Reduction approach prevents drug-related deaths and overdose fatalities and is the only way out for addicts. In the same way these alternative technologies can reduce tobacco harm and accelerate the journey to a smoke-free world as they reduce exposure to toxicants,” Bernice Apondi, A Policy Manager at Voices of Community Action and Leadership Kenya (VOCAL-Kenya), said.

During the Harm Reduction Exchange, journalists drawn from Southern, West and East African countries, including: Nigeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe debated and set forth several resolutions in regards to the present and future as well as the challenges and progress made in Harm Reduction,and science-led regulation.

The Harm Reduction Exchange brought together high-level policy makers, physicians, scientists and health policy experts with media stakeholders from Africa in a lively mix of speeches, presentations, and panel discussions. The key note speakers included Prof Abdoul Aziz Kasse, Ms Bernice Opondi, Joseph Magero, Jonathan Fell, Chimwemwe Ngoma, Clive Bates, Dr. Kgosi Letlape, Dr. Vivian Manyeki and Dr. Tendai Mhizha.

 

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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