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Boko, Dow clash over Matsha tragedy

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko

The tragedy that befell Matsha Senior School students who were being transported to various destinations in the Kgalagadi District on the back of a truck has once again pitted Leader of Opposition, and president of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko against government officials, this time around the Minister of  Education and Skills Development, Dr Unity Dow.

The Minister of Education and Skills Development Dr Unity Dow has expressed concern at “those who thrive on the calamities of others, those who dance on the graves of the fallen, those who deride when they see an opportunity to use a calamity in their favour.” Addressing the Matsha incident in Parliament Dow had asked Boko:  

“Have you yourself witnessed, seen children being transported in trucks? If so, what did you do and or what did you say? Because if you have seen that, witnessed it and said nothing and waited until there was a calamity, then you are as complicit as anybody else who is responsible for this accident.”
Dow said she wished that children would be protected at all times and therefore “ I bleed for these seven children who have perished and the many others who have been injured.”

The question to you Sir is that, you say this Government has demonstrated grotesque brutality, was this an isolated incidence or are you aware that… 

In response Boko premised:  “I am pleased to answer you and also to note that you are a lawyer, at least in your earlier life and you actually even became a Judge. And I had the honour to appear before you several times.  In relation to your prefatory statement that people thrive on the calamity of others, it is often said that even lawyers do that yourself included, by virtue of the nature of the profession and that we normally come into the scene after events have occurred and we seek to exact some recompense and accountability from those who were responsible either through commission or omission. In relation to the first part, it is a general criticism levelled even in relation to Medical Doctors. My good friend Honourable Madigele might know.” 

Boko stated that he personally was not aware that children in this day and age were being transported in this manner, “I was not aware. You say also Honourable Member that you were not aware also.  In relation to you in particular as the Minister of Education it behoves you to be aware. It is your responsibility directly for which you are in that position to be aware and that if the errors of either of omission or commission in relation to your charges, those under you, who were aware, redound against you, in this matter,” Boko pronounced.

Boko continued: “And so in relation to you it does not lie in your mouth Honourable Minister to plead ignorance in relation to this matter, it does not. It should not avail you. In fact, you should not even seek to find solace and refuge under the claim of ignorance in relation to this matter. No! Not in relation to you Minister. No! No! Maybe somebody else; not you. “

The Leader of Opposition further held firm to his position: “I raise this solemnly; if there may be any one amongst us who was aware and did not raise alarm, did not protest then the words of the Honourable Member will haunt you, in that you would then be complicit. Honourable Goya, you would be complicit if you were aware and I hope you can also pretend that you were not but if you were, then you are in trouble from the tribunal of your own conscience.”

Meanwhile President Dr Lt Gen Ian Khama attacked those who have criticised government over the Matsha incident. President Khama was speaking at the memorial service held in honour of the seven departed students on Thursday in Salajwe.   

The tragic accident happened near Dutlwe in the Kweneng District last Friday. Some members of the society have reasoned that government must be held accountable for the disaster, as it has continued to transport students in open trucks when the policy was denounced some years ago. Boko has even threatened legal action against government.
For his part the President says those who are pointing fingers are disrespectful and ill-mannered.

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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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