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Khama snubs Kgathi

Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi

President Ian Khama is said to have this week rubbished Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi’s request for an investigation over electioneering and politicking by rivals in his constituency wanting his position in 2019.

Sources say Kgathi asked Khama to dispatch an investigating team to Bobirwa constituency to establish campaigning schemes by one Francisco Kgoboko, believed to be a rival eyeing Kgathi’s Parliamentarian position in the next general election.

WeekendPost has established that Kgoboko is a former Debswana and Namdeb mining engineer and currently a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) functionary, plying his trade as a diamond consultant.

Namdeb is a partnership between the Namibian government and De Beers; the equivalent of Botswana’s Debswana.

Sources close to the developments say that Kgathi differed with BDP regional leadership on Monday’s Central Committee meeting. While the (Bobonong, Mmadinare, Selibe Phikwe), BOMASE regional leadership attested that the region was performing well, Kgathi is said to have contradicted them and said that the party is virtually in disarray as Kgoboko has already started canvassing votes, long before the Bulela Ditswe process has started.

Khama is reported to have refused Kgathi’s request and said that if party members are keen to prove themselves in constituencies they should be given that opportunity just like those who came before them.

Sources have read Kgathi’s move with suspicion reasoning that if Khama had agreed, Kgathi would have influenced the investigation’s outcome to have Kgoboko vetted out at primary election time.

‘Lebethu incident’

Sources further say that Kgathi recently confronted Kgoboko at an event in Lebethu, a river village that separates Bobonong and Sefhophe villages in Bobirwa district.

It is reported that Kgathi confronted Kgoboko over behaving as if he is area Member of Parliament (MP), accusing him of being clueless about BDP custom and stated that he will have him vetted out at party primary election.

A source stated: “he found them seated with his Councillor friend Nathaniel Moribame and Central District Council Chairman, Peter Williams and accused  him of having had set up structures in the whole region, behaving as if he is area MP. He also told him that he does not know Domkrag law and he will have him vetted out.”

Sources have also lampooned Kgathi for turning the party in the region into a family affair by having his wife as a Bobonong women’s wing chairperson, his son Ronnie Kgathi as a branch member while his other relatives are said to have also ‘infiltrated’ the Rasetimela ward committee.

However, it remains to be seen how the skirmishes between the two men will pan out as Kgathi has been removed from the BOMASE region where he acted as its Member of Central Committee (MCC).

He has been moved to one of BDP’s two new Kweneng regions to act as its MCC. Kweneng region was recently demarcated into Kweneng East and Kweneng West and Kgathi leads the former which comprises Lentsweletau, Mmopane, Mogoditshane, Gabane-Mmankgodi and Thamaga-Kumakwane constituencies.

Responding to this publication’s enquiries through Short Message Service (SMS) communication, Kgathi said that he does not discuss Central Committee meetings with the media as it is against the BDP constitution.

When pressed further to address non-Central Committee information by confirming or denying confronting Kgoboko at Lebethu, he responded: “please I do not discuss party matters with the media, let your sources finish your story.”

Kgoboko on the other hand said that he was not aware of Kgathi’s request to Khama at BDP Central Committee, but acknowledged that the minister had vowed to have him vetted out at the Lebethu meeting.

When contacted for comment BDP Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane stated that he is not in a position to respond to this publication’s enquiries.

“I can neither confirm nor deny that because what we choose to share with the public is what we share at the monthly press conferences,” he said.

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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

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Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.

“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”

In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.

It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.

Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.

President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”

In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”

He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.

“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”

Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”

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Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV

24th March 2023

Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”

Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.

“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”

He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.

In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.

Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.

Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”

“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”

Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.

“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

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