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Khamas land proposal ignored

Malete Land board disqualified most applicants

Hundreds of land seekers who crammed the Malete Land board offices in Ramotswa to submit application forms for just 385 plots in 2013 have taken the Land Board to the Land tribunal accusing it of unfairly denying them plots.

The Tribunal is currently trying to find better ways of how the cases, similar in nature, can be effectively and efficiently managed. In 2013, the Land Board advertised 385 available plots, inviting in the process thousands of applicants who crammed the Malete Land Board offices in what nearly turned into a stampede of some sort.

In an interview with Weekend Post, the Malete Land Board Secretary, Ikgopoleng Shabani said she is aware of the multitudes of Protestants who have taken the matter to the Land Tribunal.

“It is true that there are hundreds of people who have taken up the matter with the tribunal accusing us of unfairly sidelining them in the 385 plots we recently advertised. We hold the view that their objections are unfounded as everything was taken into consideration before any rejections,” she said.

The Land Board is said to have rejected them on the basis that they ‘did not give a descriptive answer to the questions as posed in the application form’.

The Land Board Secretary, Shabani in explaining this said many applicants did not give full or proper answers to the questions.

“Some for unknown reasons left some questions unanswered while others answered wrongly. We cannot, at this time know why the applicants chose to do this,” she said. Shabani further said that one of the requirements was that application forms should be fully-filled.

“Our defence at the Tribunal will still be the same, we will submit the copies of the applications to show how incomplete they were to the court and the individuals,” the Board Secretary said.

She continued, “We were forced to disqualify some deserving people who did not provide descriptive answers to key questions. This was done even after relaxing a few requirements to accommodate those at fault.”

Despite this, the Land Board, Shabani said has decided to allocate the successful applicants their plots at the end of July or before that. “We have shortlisted some applicants and have been conducting interviews and audits into our actions,” she said.

On the criteria used to allocate the plots, Shabani said they could not use President Khama’s locals’ first criteria. Khama had proposed that Land Boards should reserve quotas for natives, noting that the existing Land Policy disadvantaged residents. He has repeatedly said that he would issue a Presidential directive nullifying a parliamentary decision that rejected his proposed land quota system.

“We couldn’t enforce the policy because as far as we are concerned there is nothing official compelling us to. What will be our basis of defence if someone decides to sue us following a decision based on that?” she asked rhetorically. But those who argue on the other corner indicate that whatever the President utters is equivalent to policy.  

What then were they looking at?  “We looked at the applications and considered those who have never owned plots before others among others issues,” reasoned Shabani.

The Gamalete plots application process nearly caused a stampede as many came out in large numbers from all corners of the country to seek the elusive resource. Police were called in to control the situation as people were threatening to storm the land board offices. Hundreds of the applicants it was reported had spent the entire previous night queuing at the offices.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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