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FMD outbreak in Zimbabwe: Botswana on high alert

The Ministry of Agriculture has noted reports concerning a massive foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the southern and central parts of the neighboring Zimbabwe as at mid-August this year.

And the government through the ministry’s Department of Veterinary Services is doing everything within its power to ensure that the virulent disease will not spill over into the country to cause devastation.

Early 2011, Zimbabwe experienced a deadly FMD outbreak which eventually spills over into the country and caused much devastation in the border villages of North East District, Bobonong and some parts of the central district.

Cattle ranchers scattered all over the northeastern part of the country were reeling after the government took a deliberate decision to kill both big and small stock in a desperate measure to eradicate the deadly disease. At least 26, 000 cattle and 20, 000 sheep and goats were killed.

And the government is not leaving any stone unturned in order to avoid a situation whereby the disease spills over into the country. In an interview with WeekendPost, Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development Fidelis Molao who was recently moved from Agriculture confirmed the development.

He told this publication that FMD is a highly contagious disease of cloven-hoofed animals and these include domestic livestock such as cattle, pigs, goats and sheep as well as cloven-hoofed game species like buffaloes.  

Molao said a meeting between the directors of animal health or veterinary services of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa was held in Harare, Zimbabwe at the end of August with the aim of joining forces in the fight against the disease.

At the meeting held in Harare, Molao said Botswana made a commitment towards the provision of the FMD vaccine to Zimbabwe and other stakeholders in order to eradicate the highly contagious disease from spilling over into either Botswana or South Africa.

“The aim of the meeting was to asses and discuss the current FMD situation in Zimbabwe,” explained Molao, adding that the director of veterinary officer in Zimbabwe assured his two counterparts from Botswana and South Africa that the situation is under control albeit at great expense.  

According to Molao, over 450, 000 doses of vaccines have been procured through the United Nations (UN) agencies and delivered parts of the Zimbabwe where there is active FMD infection.

Out of the procured 450, 000 doses, Molao told WeekendPost that 70, 000 doses have been dispatched to parts Zimbabwe’s Matebeleland South Province bordering Botswana and South Africa and vaccination in the areas is presently ongoing.

“Botswana has also pledged to send its agricultural officials to Zimbabwe where they will work hand in glove with their Zimbabwean counterparts in the ongoing vaccination campaign,” revealed Molao.

A total of 120,000 animals in the southern border area of Zimbabwe were expected to have been vaccinated at least twice by the end of September to bring current outbreaks in the area under control, he said.

Molao urged the farming communities in the area to be vigilant and to report any sightings of cattle that may have strayed across the border, or any known activities facilitating movements of livestock into the country.

South Africa regained its FMD-free zone status in February 2014 following the 2011 outbreak but Botswana is still struggling to regain its free zone status thanks to the periodic spill overs of the disease from Zimbabwe.

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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

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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