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Magang contests Mogae remarks

Phakalane Estates supremo and former Cabinet Minister, David Magang has furnished letters through his lawyers Akheel Jinabhai & Associates to former President Festus Mogae as well as to Mmegi newspaper demanding clarification over the remarks which appeared in one of the paper’s latest editions.

Magang confirmed to this publication this week that indeed, he is exchanging communication with the two parties to “explain themselves” with the view of establishing the truth over the remarks attributed to Mogae where he allegedly equated Magang’s actions to ‘criminality’.

According to the publication, Mogae accused Magang of having committed a ‘criminal act’ by entering into an unfair arrangement with Water Utilities Corporation, providing infrastructure and getting the utilities for free. “That’s criminal, it is criminal, but he is a lawyer, surely he knew what he was doing,” the paper had quoted Mogae.

However, a few days following the publication of the story in which Mogae bashed the current administration over a number of policy issues, the former president released a statement in which he stated that he was misunderstood on his position on Magang and the Water Utilities Corporation matter, but did little to dispel the “criminal act” part of the story which was attributed to him.

“The article displays serious miscommunication or misapprehension between me and the reporter, where I criticise the Water Utilities Corporation for demanding and obtaining compliance by Magang to build infrastructure, in this case a pipeline from Central Gaborone to Phakalane and a distribution water tower and giving them to the water utility free of charge, the article says I said “Magang built the infrastructure and got free’. For this misstatement of fact we owe Mr Magang an apology,” reads the statement.

But impeccable sources indicate that Magang was unimpressed by the statement as he is of the view that it does nothing to dispel the criminal tag supposedly hipped on him by the former president.

Magang has since last week instructed his lawyers to work on the matter with a view of examining who said what and the way forward.

Known to be headstrong and having penchant for leaving no stone unturned, Magang may take his childhood friend, college roommate and former boss to the cleaners.  In the 1990s Magang took seriously reports by a local newspaper that his faction was planning to topple President Sir Ketumile Masire from power that he nearly took the matter to court until he was convinced by his then lawyer, Advocate Sidney Pilane to drop the charges. Despite his colleagues’ baulking, he insisted on litigation because “he did not want the press to get away with murder.”

Magang and Mogae, though childhood friends are known to differ rather vehemently on issues.

Magang’s battle with WUC is legendary, dating as far back as Masire’s presidency. At one point he took Masire’s administration to court after making an appeal to him in respect of the irregular stance WUC had taken over the primary structure in Phakalane. Masire had sat on the matter for nearly twelve months. Although Masire strongly advised against such recourse and suggested arbitration instead, Magang went ahead since Masire was failing to intervene on his behalf.

Meanwhile, the court case in which Phakalane Estates is suing WUC for not refunding Magang P5 million for putting up a water tower, when the onus was that of Government has been dragging on before the courts for close to 20 years.

In Phakalane’s formative years, Magang had no option but to spend P5 million on the erection of a water tower and reservoirs and millions more on the main sewer. However, thereafter Phakalane declared a dispute as to who was responsible for this aspect of primary infrastructure and consequently put on hold payments of the sums accrued; WUC would then cut off the water supply for a full two weeks at the instruction of the then water affairs minister.

Magang is however being cagey to reveal possible outcomes of the ongoing dialogue and dissuaded this reporter from possibly complicating the situation. “O seka ware o fithela batho ba lwantsha tau le wena wa tsena mo teng.” Magang preferred only to reveal that: “He is talking with the concerned parties over the matter.”

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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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