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Khama summons the old guard

The Office of the President has announced that President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama has appointed an eight member Presidential Inspectorate Task Team to undertake periodic inspections of Government programmes.

Observers are of the view that President Khama, whose term ends in just less than two years intends to shape his legacy which he believes is dependent on sound implementation.  

The mandate amongst others is to, undertake periodic inspections of Government programmes and projects as shall be directed by the President; Advise the President on matters relating to the successful implementation of Government programmes and projects; Undertake risk assessment and propose mitigation strategies for programmes and projects that have been inspected; Present written summaries of inspection reports to the President; Undertake any other tasks as shall be directed by the President in line with the monitoring of Government projects.

The Presidential Inspectorate Team is chaired by the Former Vice President Dr. Ponatshego H.K. Kedikilwe. Additional members of the team are: Mr. Peter L. Siele; Mr. Gaotlhaetse U.S. Matlhabaphiri; Mr. Newman Kahiya; Mr. Mathias Chakalisa; Ms. Mapula Modise; Mr. Gabolekwe L. Tlogelang; and Mr. Jonnie K. Swartz. President Khama has recalled his trusted lieutenants’ especially former cabinet members in Siele, Matlhabaphiri, and Swartz.  Khama has also enlisted former permanent secretaries; some had unceremoniously left the civil service after serving for decades.

The team is led by former Vice President Dr Kedikilwe, who will be expected to work with the current Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi who is also supervising ESP projects.

Khama wants to ensure that work gets done; he has a bad experience of failed projects and those that do not meet deadlines. Some in government celebrate Kedikilwe’s new role since he may finally be close to the National Strategy Office (NSO), which some see as a ceremonial office with little value. They opine Kedikilwe’s supervision could drive creative thinking at the office and dunk the over obsession with Vision 2036, which already has a team to drive it.

The NSO is mandated to lead national strategy development by promoting strategic thinking in the country and catalyze effective policy making and implementation. Many are of the view that the Uttum Corea lead organisation has failed in this regard and is almost anonymous in the development agenda. The NSO is to launch various diagnostic and detailed studies such as visioning scenario development, desk reviews of relevant socio-political and economic reports, and implementation prioritization of the Botswana Excellence Strategy all aimed at identifying Botswana's key social, political and economic challenges and opportunities, this was just a dream they say, almost all hubs envisioned under the Excellence Strategy are dead. Kedikilwe’s Inspectorate is expected to come in handy in reviving the ideals of the Excellence Strategy, which cost government millions of Pula.

A statement from the Office of the President says the appointment of this high level team is in line with the Government's unwavering commitment to strengthening oversight on implementation, effective service delivery and improved project delivery country wide. But it is clear that the success of the Inspectorate Team will be highly dependent on the line Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries. The two are powerful and continue to call the shots on what needs to be done and what needs not be done.

The Government Implementation and Coordination Office (GICO) faced a similar predicament during its formative years. There was no cooperation from line ministries and its efforts were frustrated, observers are of the view that there should be a thorough orientation of government executives on how they are going to work with this Inspectorate Team which has a resemblance of the old GICO.  

Weekend Post has sampled eight ministers who are likely to shape or shatter President Khama’s legacy as he concludes his term, see our peek on page 2.

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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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