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Masisi denies witch-hunt on parastatals CEOs

Dr Patrick Molutsi, CEO of Human Resource Development Council (HRDC)

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman and Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi has quashed reports indicating that government is on a purging mission, eliminating Chief Executive Officers who are not sympathetic to the ruling party.

By the fall of 2015, reports had been growing thin that the ruling party is determined to have all quasi-government institutions led by only those who are sympathetic to the BDP. Such allegations were not helped by the fact that influential members within the BDP, including MPs had requested that the Economic Stimulus Programme be piloted by ruling party activists.

Masisi denied that government has devised any plan whatsoever to remove CEOs who are perceived as sympathetic to opposition parties.  “The policy remains the same. We appoint based purely on merit,” he told a press conference this week.

The ruling party chairman conceded that adopting such a stand will be divisive to the nation adding that ‘party affiliation’ has never been requirement for employment in top parastatal positions.

According to reports, a list of CEOs including Dr Patrick Molutsi of Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), Cross Kgosidiile of Motor Vehicle Fund (MVA) and a number of others are on their way out for not showing loyalty to the ruling party.

Prior to his role as acting CEO of HRDC, Molutsi who is considered one of the finest academics in the country served as CEO of Tertiary Education Council (TEC) which has now been transformed into the HRDC and with a new mandate. Molutsi has been acting as CEO of HRDC since 2013, but the government is yet to appoint him as the substantive CEO.

Meanwhile MVA boss, who joined the organisation in 2006 is reported to be leaving the organisation after failing to secure extension of his stay despite having led the organisation admirably.

President Lt Gen Ian Khama also lent credence to the fears in one of the Kgotla meetings last year when he said that if government experiences sabotage in implementation of its policies he will be forced to start recruiting BDP members for those top positions.

Last year MP for Letlhakeng Liakat Kablay told parliament that government should consider appointing BDP card-carrying members to senior government positions. Kablay argued that this exercise is necessary to avoid a situation where BDP policies are sabotaged by opposition sympathisers in the civil service.

There is a general thought within BDP that the executive has allowed technocrats to be influential in implementation of policies, therefore the success of government policies are at their mercy.

One strong critic of the ruling party’s involvement in parastatals is MP for Gaborone Bonnington South and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Deputy President Ndaba Gaolathe.

Gaolathe opines that government is excessively interfering in the affairs of quasi-government institutions which compromises their quality of governance.

In his inaugural contribution to parliamentary debates two years ago, Gaolathe told fellow MPs that it was not by mistake that public institutions like Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) have experienced some sort of scandals relating to corruption and maladministration.

He is of the view that the root cause of poor governance and performance in public institutions is the government itself through appointment of CEOs and boards based on personal relationships and political affiliation, and with high disregard for competence and excellence.

While Vice President Masisi has dismissed such talk of appointing CEOs and other senior executives only loyal to BDP, BIUST’s Professor Hilary Iyang caused a stir. The Ghanaian- American academic left the BIUST a few months into his job amid accusations of political interference.

It is also confirmed that University of Botswana Vice Chancellor Thabo Fako will not be given another stay at the helm of the country’s highest learning institution. Fako had a massive fall-out with government after criticising its approach towards education.

In a candid presentation to stakeholders last year, Fako blamed UB for its woes, warning that the creation of BIUST will literally lead to the collapse of UB. Fako said government preferred BIUST over UB.

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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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