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Botswana Railways promotions of shame

The Board of Botswana Railways sat on Thursday to deliberate on several issues among them the launch of the passenger train on March 22. The organisation has been in the eye of the storm due to allegations of corruption and maladministration. Recently the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has interviewed a number of executives and staff at the organisation.

At its meeting the Board is said to have focused mainly on ensuring that the passenger train is delivered because President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama wants it launched hence the pressure on Minister Tshenolo Mabeo to drive the board. While the corruption allegations have been left to the DCEC to deal with some board members expressed concern at the ‘littering’ of company information that could have been better handled internally if management was responsive to issues as they emanate.

The Board resolved to support management in ensuring that the passenger train is launched on the agreed date. Transnet is expected to deliver at most 10 coaches before the launch date although they are said to be extremely incensed by the ongoing probe by the DCEC. The conversations at the Board meeting echoed the sentiment that the passenger train must be launched come rain or sunshine.

While it is reported that one of the Directors at the Botswana Railways told his department that they are unfazed by the media reports or allegations of corruption because of the backing they have from Minister Mabeo, it is understood that some Board members want those involved to be dealt with if indeed corruption is proved at the organisation. Minister Mabeo accompanied management recently to South Africa to assess the progress at Transnet on the manufacture of 37 coaches.


Of concern to them is the close to 50 audit queries raised by the Auditor General about the organisation. Among those are indications of nepotism and favouritism when it came to certain appointments at Botswana Railways. One of the queries from the Auditors is the appointment on promotion of one of the Graduate Trainees who was elevated on promotion to the position of Corporate Communications Officer in March 2015 after joining on August 2014. The Auditors were surprised that this contravened a Botswana Railways policy which stipulates that one should enter into a trainee contract for a period of 12 to 24 months before absorption into employment.

On a separate case an employee who was roped in as a Cook in 2007 and mysteriously redeployed to the position of station Attendant under the Operations and Engineering Department during the 2014 restructuring exercise. In between she has been conspicuously benefiting from unexplained acting allowances approved by her director. At some point she acted in the position of Human Resource Clerk without the necessary qualifications, the position was subsequently scrapped off but she continued to claim the acting allowance. After the position was scrapped off she was moved to Registry Office, a function one of the employees had been removed from under the explanation that it was being phased off. She has been earning P8195.00 instead of P2209.00 for the past two years.

A 60 year old light duty driver who has reached compulsory retirement age has also been offered a two year contract and this came as a shocker because usually only scarce skill people like engine men can be considered.

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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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