VP says he must prepare himself for Presidency now
Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi who is lobbying to become the next chairman of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has pronounced his claim to the throne this week at a meeting organised to launch his bid for chairmanship and announce his campaign team in Kanye on Monday.
Briefing profiled members of the ruling party in the southern region on Monday, Masisi, who was handpicked by President Lt Gen Ian Khama to become his right hand man during his last term of office, told party members that he will be President of the party and country come 2018. Ministers, Councillors, and other former cabinet ministers and veterans attended the meeting.
Ministers who attended the meeting include Minister of Agriculture, Patrick Ralotsia; Assistant Minister of Trade, Sadique Kebonang; and Assistant Minister of Health, Dr Alfred Madigele. All BDP Members of Parliament in the Southern District attended. Ishmael Legwaila was announced as the National campaign manager for Masisi’s bid for chairmanship.
Some BDP members who attended the meeting told this publication that the Vice President did not mince his words when challenged all those who doubt his popularity to stand up now and take him head on. “He made it clear that he is surprised that people are postponing their intentions to challenge him for positions in the party. I am ready for the challenge now, he said,” one of those who attended the meeting explained.
A defiant Masisi probably got provoked by sentiments that he is an unpopular Vice President and that there are BDP members who are supposedly lined up to challenge him for the presidency of the BDP as soon as President Khama vacates the scene.
Masisi’s unpopularity was extensively measured through the Moshupa-Thamaga constituency council bye-election that saw the ruling party lose by a good margin to the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) immediately after a general election in which the latter was associated with the political definition of decline. “If I am very unpopular, why should people wait for 2017,” he remarked, our informer/s said.
According to our informers, Masisi made it clear that being Vice President cannot stop him from being party chairman. “I am going to be president and run the country while at the same time I will be president of the party. I am surprised that people now assume I cannot be vice president and party chairman at the same time,” he is said to have told his listeners.
The Vice President also sold the argument that as a president in waiting, he should fix the party the way he wants so that by the time he is president, he knows every detail of the organisation.
Masisi also had a few musings on reports that Tati East Member of Parliament, Samson Guma Moyo will dent his support for the chairmanship bid. He said there is no need for such issues to be turned into corner politics, “issues must be addressed now,” he said demonstrating his appreciation of the support he is getting from Guma.
The Tati East legislator has been linked to controversy every time there is a BDP internal election. After his victory at Maun congress as chairman, Guma was accused of using his financial resources to entice delegates. He was later fingered in a plot to ditch ‘popular’ BDP heavy weights through the party primary elections in 2014.
He later resigned as party chairman. Guma has made it clear that he supports Masisi for chairmanship and vouches for Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri as secretary general.
On another subject, Masisi is said to have discouraged the idea of lobby lists but told his listeners that they are free to canvass support for any person of their choice for other positions because he is ready to work with anyone. Masisi currently has support from the BDP Youth Wing, while the BDP Women’s Wing may find itself between a rock and a hard place because of Tebelelo Seretse’s candidacy. She was the first person to make her intention clear and she has already done 360 degrees in her campaign trail.
Masisi’s campaign manager, Legwaila is a former councillor for Mathathane ward and also former sub-council chairman. He is assisted by Selibe Phikwe Mayor, Cllr Mojuta who will serve the campaign team as its secretary. Other members of the campaign include Isaac Maforaga from Palapye; Cllr Monageng from Serowe; Former Sua Township Mayor, Cllr Medupi; and former nominated Councillor, Victor Malete among others.
Legwaila confirmed that he has been appointed Masisi’s campaign manager and could not share details of the Kanye meeting.
While Masisi’s entry into the race was indeed a game changer, his campaign team still has stones to unturn because other candidates had already made inroads. All aspiring candidates have been given until June 1st 2015 to make their intentions known in writing to the Secretary General of the BDP. The congress will be held in July from 3rd to 5th in Mmadinare.
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,’
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.
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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.
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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.”