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Panellists punch holes into BDP rule


The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) panellist at a roundtable organised by the University of Botswana’s Democracy Research Project, Lawrence Ookeditse was forced to be on the defensive and declared that “the current government is a victim of its own success” and it was being judged unfairly by some in the society.  


Panellists were scrutinising the state of affairs of Botswana’s democracy and the level of development in the country. Ookeditse was the only soul veneering against the stance that the country is on a trance of rearward regression. Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President, Dumelang Saleshando did not show up and so was the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) representative.


The jumbled panel featuring print journalist, Spencer Mogapi; University of Botswana czar of Political Science, Professor Balesi Tsie; BDP activist, Ookeditse; as well as trade union federation, Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) President, Johannes Tshukudu sketched a gloomy picture of the country’s stance and prospects on a myriad topics ranging from the state of affairs in public education, national fiscal deportment, democracy as well as government control over state media, among others.


Defending the status quo, Ookeditse pointed out that Botswana is on the right path as it continues to attract favourable rankings in the region and Africa on aspects of human development, the economy, human rights and democracy. He cautioned that people should be aware that the state media’s purpose is for nation building and held firm that it is doing its job well.


He said while Khama has not addressed the UB academia and the media broadly, he has chosen a more functional approach to engage the populace. However he conceded that a lot can still be done to make Botswana more prosperous.

“The BDP government is the only government in the world that has not downsized its workforce despite advice from the International Monetary Fund,” he said. Ookeditse is convinced that the BDP will still win the 2019 general election.


UB political science lecturer, Professor Tsie poked holes on the many fronts of the country’s picture perfect façade outing it as a smokescreen concealing an increasingly dysfunctional government. He signalled to Botswana’s position as the fourth largest unequal society in the world trailing industrialising and developing BRICs economies with millions of people in population despite Botswana having a small population of just over 2 million.


Tsie also alluded to the country’s failed economic diversification drive which he contends should have long been executed when the country was still experiencing unfettered steady economic growth. He further argued the economy’s continuous hinge on minerals and mineral extraction leaves the country riskily liable to global economic unrest as circumstanced by the 2008 economic recession.


The UB Don further brought the forgotten debate of old to the fore, questioning and probing Setswana’s quasi-arbitral elevation to status of national language over other languages in a republic state, continuing to state that cultural minorities in the country are not fully recognised.


Tsie lampooned the Parliament of Botswana as a weak oversight institution, “There is a serious democratic deficit in parliament of Botswana and it is very weak, in fact far weaker than the Independent Electoral Commission.”


This, he attributed to the principle of collective responsibility as government ministers and assistant ministers are drawn from the executive wing of state concluding that for that reason parliament of Botswana finds itself not mirroring the plight and prospects of the nation.


Tsie also poured scorn on the constitutionally engrained selection of Specially Elected Members of Parliament and nominated councillors as undemocratic as it bears the hallmarks and trappings of political patronisation.


For his part, BOFEPUSU boss, Johannes Tshukudu held the viewpoint of Botswana as a regressing nation; positing that the country has a populace not well conversant with political education. He said the educated city and town dwellers represent a tiny fraction of the country’s educated and politically conscious section, a prospect he is convinced spells doom for participatory democracy and progression.


Tshukudu also observed that there is a thick air of intolerance hung in the corridors of state power as responses to national issues by the country’s political leadership is often met with fiery personalised retorts. He went on to say that while the country’s civic society lacks political consciousness, its Non-Governmental Organisations are also hamstrung by their monetary links to government thus failing to accurately execute their roles of providing oversight duty to government.


Private media journalist and columnist Spencer Mogapi attributed the country’s dwindling fortunes to being lost in the nostalgia of the national success of yester years, describing it as being “hostages of our own history.”

Mogapi who chided Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s perceived ignorance on the latest national unemployment figures said that it becomes hard for Batswana to embrace and assist the BDP in developing the nation while the popularised Ntuane reforms are aimed at saving the party and not the country.


He also ridiculed the government for glorifying poverty by shelling handouts when it could have long cut poverty when the country was experiencing unfettered economic growth adding that it is difficult to see the results of the P500 million pumped into poverty eradication.

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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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