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Malete Bogosi, Council clash over Ramotswa plans

Kgosikgolo Mosadi Seboko of Bamalete

The South East District Council and the Malete Bogosi are at each other’s throat over conflicting Ramotswa Village Development plans. The Council prefers a Central Business District (CBD) and a bus rank; while the Tribal leadership wants a Stadium.

WeekendPost has established that there are tensions over Ramotswa ‘s next big project following a proposal by the Council and a recent Kgotla meeting called by the tribal leadership.

During the preparation of Ramotswa Planning Area Development Plan (2008 – 2032) the Council proposed that the commercial node in Maipei be turned into a Central Business District (CBD) according to a Council document passed to this publication.

The Council believes that the area’s high economic potential and the existence of high order commercial spaces such as Save Rite/Shoprite and Choppies, the Council offices, Botswana Police Service offices and Office of the District Commissioner, Malete Land Board,  among others already offers an oppotunity for continuity.

The area covering high order commercial spaces is already part of the built up area in Ramotswa. However whilst the Plan has rezoned the area into a CBD it has been observed that it is going to take time to achieve a development status befitting such a centre as the plots are individually owned and their developments are dependent on individual developers’ financial capabilities and preferences.

The document further states that there is an undeveloped piece of land measuring in excess of 20 ha that has been allocated to Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture (MYSC) and Kagiso Senior Secondary School for a stadium and school playgrounds respectively, within the area in question. This is the area that is commonly known as the ‘show ground.’ The area currently houses two football pitches and derelict structures that were once used for the agricultural show.

In October 2014 at the Ramotswa Main Kgotla in a consultative meeting, the Morafe demanded to know how the Central Businesss Area was proposed by the Council was going to compensate for the lost stadium land within the vicinity of Ramotswa in the event that the stadium land is developed as per Council’s proposal.

They further wanted to know whether the Council was now changing what had been approved by the Ramotswa Planning Area Development Plan (2008 – 2032),further demanding to know the what they stand to benefit in the propossed CBD.

At the Full Council of the 23rd – 25th February 2015, Kgosikgolo Mosadi Seboko informed the Council that she will arrange for a meeting with the district leadership to discuss the issue with a view to facilitate development of the district more especially the Ramotswa Planning Area.

Kgosi Mosadi Seboko’s deputy, Kgosi Mokgosi told Weekend Post in an interview that the Council wants to go against the wishes of the Morafe. “We do not know what they are up to,we are just clueless because they are not briefing anyone about their intentions.

After being rejected by the tribe they have now resorted to undermining us. We recently learnt that they have engaged a consultant to help with Environmental Impact Assessment to start their CBD project,” he charged, further adding that they want a stadium and nopthing else on the said disputed land.

While the Council say they want to create employment through the CBD, the Chief says they are of the view that the said CBD ‘will annihilate the small business men who are already complaining of the already existing chain stores like Choppies and others.’ The Chief further told the Council to go and look for a place where they will build the said CBD.

In response the South East District District Council Chairperson,Phenyo Segokgo said he is saddened by the issue. “Firstly the feasibility study has shown that no stadium can be contructed at that place because it is imposible from a point of physical planning, secondly a stadium which we all know will not only belong to Balete employs about 12 people whereas our envisaged CBD Project will employ 2000 people. We need to balance these things,” he said.

Segokgo said it was not true that they have not consulted adequetly, “we could have long built the CBD if we did not value the significance of consultation.The government cannot currently build a standium because of lack of funds and we are saying we have an alternative to use the disputed idle land to use to better benefit the tribe,” he said.

The Council further argued that the proposal at hand doesn’t change what the plan proposed but a developed busrank befitting the settlement status. They argue that based on the fact that currently there are no adequate funds, the only option is to seek assistance from the private sector that will be willing to fund the proposals provided they will be able to recover their investment after a certain period.

This, they say therefore calls for a development that will provide the CBD like a public transport interchange as well as providing impetus to the development of the Primary Activity node in the planning area. The Council further argued that the CBD, unlike a Stadium would create employment for the district’s populace hence improving their livelihooods as well as providing income for the Council which will be ploughed back into the development of the district.

The Council asserted that stakeholders will find an alternative site for the stadium along the Gaborone-Lobatse Road (A1). In the event that securing land along the A1 is not successful, the Council said there is provision for an integrated sports facility in the Seuwane area which could be considered.

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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Ngamiland Cattle Farmers Gain Green Zone Revenue

27th January 2023

Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.

Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.

To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.

These collaborative efforts being piloted in Habu and Eretsha villages also include the Pro-Nature Enterprises Project for the People of Southern Africa, funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Le Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM). This complementary funding from AFD and FFEM supports the implementation of the Herding4Health (H4H) model and Rangeland Stewardship Agreements across four rangeland sites in Southern Africa, including Habu and Eretsha, to incentivize best practices that could offer sustainability in the long term for livelihoods, conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.

“We spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine – that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,” said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.

Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herder’s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.

“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,” said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).

Through co-financing of almost P1 billion from the Botswana government and Green Climate Fund, these interventions will be replicated, through The Ecosystem Based Adaptation and Mitigation in Botswana’s Communal Rangelands project, across the country. Both projects aim to improve the economic benefits of cattle owners and multitudes of Batswana households, while contributing to land restoration and climate change efforts by the Botswana government

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