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UN expert surprised by open defecation in Botswana villages

A human rights expert with United Nations has expressed shock and concern over the common practice of defecation in the villages of Botswana.

Léo Heller, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to safe drinking water and sanitation  who was in Botswana for a nine-day official said,  “I was surprised by still a common practice of open defecation in villages.”

Open defecation refers to the practice whereby people go out in fields, bushes, forests, open bodies of water, or other open spaces rather than using the toilet to defecate.
The UN expert said he “found an alarming level of highly precarious water supply in these villages – in some cases with no public provision at all” and in some cases with the bush as the only solution to most of the people’s physiological needs.

Heller noted that the situation raises serious human rights concerns of water quality, water quantity and related health impacts.
“Such a measure hits the poor and the vulnerable hardest,”Heller said.

In one community, he said, women and girls need to fetch water from a river, located not less than 1 kilometre from the household and consume an average of 20 litres of brown river water per person per day without boiling because they cannot afford nor have access to fuel.

“The Government of Botswana is at a critical moment to translate its commitment to prioritize access to sanitation and safe drinking water for personal and domestic uses into full implementation. I am confident that the Government, who is making progresses in this regard, has the capacity to make the human rights to water and sanitation a reality for everyone in the country,” Heller noted.

Botswana has been going through one of the worst droughts in its history with a significant part of the population facing a severe water shortage. Currently the country is in grips with serious water shortages.

Heller urged Botswana to take the current extreme drought as an opportunity to develop a strategy for providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all as “a short-cut to prevent illnesses and deaths” in the long run.

He said the current drought should not be considered as a sporadic event, but rather as a driver for acquiring water security as a national priority.
“A strategic and participatory process, oriented to the provision of water and sanitation for all, will be a short-cut to prevent illnesses and deaths related to water-borne diseases and economic losses,” he asserted.

 “As water stress in Botswana is predicted to get higher and higher due to the impact of climate change and increasing water demand, the Government must establish measures in order to prevent severe environmental situations from translating into water shortage, affecting people’s standard of living,” he said.
Heller underscored that access to safe drinking water and sanitation is one of the most important obligations of the human rights framework.

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Woman swindled out of P62 000 by fake CID officers

17th June 2021
Motube

Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.

According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.

“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.

The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.

Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.

“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’

They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.

In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.

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BCP walks out of UDC meeting

15th June 2021
Boko and Saleshando

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.

UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.

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Katlholo wins against DPP

15th June 2021
DCEC DIRECTOR: Tymon Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.

The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.

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