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BCP to shed off old guard at congress

THE CHALLENGE IS ON: Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang will take on Taolo Lucas for vice presidency; while Kentse Rammidi confirmed he will challenge for secretary general position.

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) heavy weights will go for jugular when the party meet for its elective congress in Kanye next month and indications are that old faces will be removed from the much slimmer central committee.

The party will head into next month’s elective congress following the 2014 general election ignominy, in which the party emerged with only three parliamentary seats.

Still smarting away from the defeat, a number of influential BCP members are gearing up to contest for executive committee positions, including that one of presidency. The incumbent party president Dumelang Saleshando has been unchallenged since ascending to the throne in July 2010.

Weekend Post has it on good authority that James Olesitse, the party’s former parliamentary candidate for Palapye in the last general elections may contest for the presidency against Saleshando should his handlers continue to push him. Olesitse contested for party chairmanship at the party’s last congress but was defeated by Motsei Rapelana.

Another interesting development is Dr Kesitigile Gobotswang’s second bid for the party’s number two post. Dr Gobotswang served as party Vice President from 2005 until 2010 deputising, Gilson Saleshando during his tenure.

Gobotswang contested for the position of Secretary General at the Maun congress in which a gentleman’s agreement was reached to strategically pave way for Ephraim Setshwaelo in the party Vice Presidency. BCP had just merged with Setshwaelo’s Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) a few months before the congress.

This time around former party secretary general, Taolo Lucas will take on Gobotswang for Vice Presidency. Lucas is the incumbent Information and publicity secretary, having been in the post since the Maun Congress. The Vice Presidency post is now lucrative in the BCP new constitution.

In the past it was just a ceremonial position and under the new regime the BCP vice president is responsible for policy development and convening the policy forum. Gobotswang may relish the chance because during his tenure as vice president he spearheaded the development of BCP Demoracy Alerts and also pushed the CKGR investigations among other things.

Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse will contest for the Information and Publicity Secretary post. Keorapetse will be challenged by former party parliamentary candidate for Nata-Gweta Dr Ditiro Majadibodu for the position. Keorapetse is the only party MP who has so far expressed interest to serve in the party’s executive committee. MPs Bagalatia Arone and Samuel Rantuana prefer keeping a low profile at the moment.

Meanwhile political firebrand, Kentse Rammidi has allegedly refused to contest for the position of Secretary General, raising doubts about his future at the party after losing his parliamentary seat under his BCP ticket. Rammidi, who was initially elected as BDP MP in 2009, quit the party to join Botswana National Front (BNF) in 2011, before joining BCP in 2012.

Phillip Monowe, the Kgatleng based activist and academic will contest for the position of Secretary General. Rammidi’s noncommittal stance leaves him as the lone contender for the position. Dr Philp Mbulawa, another party former parliamentary candidate has emerged as a strong contender for the position of party chairmanship, which is currently held by Rapelana.

For the better part of its existence, BCP has been viewed as avoiding clashes for leadership positions, especially the influential ones. The 2010 party congress saw leadership positions being contested through compromise model. Retiring Gilson Saleshando was succeeded by his son Dumelang Saleshando, Setshwaelo becoming his deputy, while Gobotswang was moved to the position of Secretary General. Lucas replaced Dumelang as party spokesperson.

In 2013, former BAM president, Setshwaelo announced that he will not defend his position as the party’s number two. The development saw Anna Motlhagodi tussling for the position with Batisani Maswabilili, with the latter emerging as the victor.

In the last party congress in 2013 the following sailed to the position of the executive committee unopposed: Saleshando (President), Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang (Secretary-General), Akanyang Magama (deputy Secretary-General), Dennis Alexander ( Treasurer), Morgan Moseki (Secretary for Legal Affairs),  Lebogang Letsie (Secretary for Public Education), Florence Shagwa (Secretary for Political Education)Obakeng Kanthaga (Secretary for Economic Affairs),  Thuto Thuto (Secretary for Sports), Steven Makhura (Director of Elections) and Dr Habaudi Hubona (Secretary for Health).

The change in the status quo is however believed to have been triggered by the dismal performance of the party in last year’s October general elections. Although the party increased its popular vote by 2%, the number of seats gained in the last elections fell dramatically. BCP lost Chobe, Ngami constituencies to BDP, while the constituency which was always believed to be party stronghold Gaborone Central was won by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) cutting short Saleshando’s 10 year spell in parliament.

BCP also could not retain the constituencies it gained through defectors losing both Kgatleng East and Kanye North to UDC and BDP respectively.

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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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