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Confusion at Lake Ngami over fishing season

MAUN: With only a few days left before the fishing ban on Lake Ngami is lifted and another fishing season opens on March 1st, the community is unsure whether they will be able to start fishing.

The fishing ban imposed on Lake Ngami and Lake Xau last year will expire on February 28th, but the Lake’s conservation Trust which is responsible for managing fishing activities at the lake is reportedly not ready to efficiently manage the coming fishing season.

When Government banned fishing, it argued at the time that the 12 month ban was necessary to address environmental concerns as a result of uncontrolled fishing activities at the two fishing areas.

Reports had also stated at the time that the Lake Ngami Conservation Trust would put up structures, in the form of a hotel, ablutions and other necessities to accommodate fishermen who would be licensed to fish at Lake Ngami. The Trust, this publication has gathered is under immense pressure as to date, no construction has taken place at the site.

Instead the trust has however managed to set up some structures such as an office in Sehithwa and has acquired two vehicles to prepare for the fishing season. The government through the Office of President had given the trust an amount of 4, 5 million Pula to help them set up some of the structures last year.

Meanwhile, it has surfaced that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study, a prerequisite for any infrastructural development has yet to be completed.

The Chairman of the Trust Frisco Gabokakangwe disclosed to this publication that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is responsible for funding the study. He further stressed that the UNDP has awarded a tender to a company to carry out the study but he was not certain whether the study had been completed or not.

“The EIA will guide us on structures that are going to be constructed at the lake,” he said.

Gabokakangwe also decried that there is slow progress at the lake. He lamented that most of the delay comes from the government side. He also noted that last week they were expected to hold some meetings in the six villages to address residents on how to monitor fishing activities when it resumes but the meetings flopped because there was no transport at the Wildlife Department in Maun.

“We only conducted meetings in two villages but others failed because there was no transport and I can’t understand why there wasn’t transport while we have our own car parked at Wildlife Offices,” Gabokakangwe lamented adding that the slow progress is frustrating them and he suspects that there is sabotage from the government side.

Gabokakangwe was adamant that the trust is ready to resume fishing activities once all necessary requirements have been set. Meanwhile the board of trustees of Lake Ngami is in Namibia benchmarking on sustainable fishing by communities in that country.

However, Lake Ngami fishing cluster has offered mixed reaction on fishing activities at the lake. The chairman of Lake Ngami Fish Marketing Cooperative Society Bareetsi Bogaisang also expressed concern over slow progress at the lake. He also noted that they still don’t have a clear picture of what is going to happen at the lake as they are not informed of developments.

“We are still not sure whether we will have the opportunity to fish when the season opens as currently it seems like there is nothing that is in place,” Bogaisang told this publication.

Furthermore, he said, “We are still not sure whether we are going to use the same licenses or not and there are some of them that expire in 2017,” he said adding that during the consultative meeting that was addressed by the trust, Sehitwa residents suggested that locals should be given preference in awarding fishing licenses.

The newly appointed Ngamiland Wildlife Officer Timmy Blackbeard said that they are still awaiting response from the Ministry. “We have written to the ministry about the lake Ngami situation and we are still waiting for their response as to whether fishing activities will resume at Lake Ngami,” he said

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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