President Lt Gen. Dr Ian Khama has declared 2015/2016 a drought year and has said relief programmes will be availed to the nation until 30th June next year, save for the livestock feed subsidy, which will be offered until 31st December, 2016.
This announcement follows the Drought Assessment Tour Exercise, which was conducted from 1st to 26th of February and 4th -13th of May this year. According to the exercise the late rains in February-March 2016 were poorly distributed and below normal in most parts of the country consequently leaving a significant number of rural households vulnerable and in need of Government assistance in the coming months.
The president has therefore said that under the Ministry of Agriculture livestock farmers will benefit from the 25% livestock feed subsidy for 50kg Di-Calcium Phosphate or composite feed, 50kg Drought Pellets, 30kg Bran, 50kg Course Salt and 25kg Lucerne/Lab Lab/Maize/Sorghum Stalk bales will be made available effective 1st July till 31st December 2016.
Due to the anticipated firebreaks, construction and maintenance of firebreaks around protected areas will be intensified and second meals at primary schools in the ten rural districts under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development’s Supplementary Feeding Programme will be offered.
Among the many measures the statement confirmed that the government has allocated a budget for the Destitution programme which will be raised by 10 percent to strengthen safety nets to cater for the anticipated increase of the beneficiaries due to the drought with all measures commencing with immediate effect.
Just last year, the Meteorological Services declared that Botswana had been hit by the worst drought in 34 years, owing to the El Nino. The same year in June, President Khama declared a drought year and forecast national cereal production would be 7,382 metric tons against a national annual requirement of 300,000 tons.
A special budget of about $44 million (40 million euros) was passed by parliament after President Ian Khama had declared a general countrywide drought, the first since 1984.
The country last suffered drought in 2013, but the impact then was not as widespread.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.