The government has completely failed to collect plastic levy from local retailers since it was introduced eight years ago and is considering banning the use of plastic bags in the country and introducing alternative packaging of goods, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Elias Magosi has revealed.
Speaking before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at the Parliament buildings in Gaborone this week, Magosi admitted that the government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry has been sleeping on the job and has not collected the levy as it was expected of them.
“Much as the levy was passed as far back as 2007, the collection aspect of it has not actually happened as expected. It was to be collected by the Ministry of Trade,” Mogosi explained in response to questions posed to him by the PAC panel.
Magosi further explained that the major problem was that when the levy was passed back in 2007, collection logistics were not properly worked out.
The government introduced the levy with an intention to reduce the circulation or use of plastic so so as to save the environment by way of reducing littering. However to date retailers are lining their pockets with monies attained from plastic bags which are supposed to be going into environmental projects at the Ministry and plastics remains a menace and eyesore in some areas around the country. The plastics bags are selling between 35 thebe and 70 thebe in local shops.
However Magosi is of the view that even if the levy was to be collected as according to expectations, the environment would still not be clean of plastic bags.
“We are considering a ban of plastics in the country like other countries have done where plastics have become a menace,” Magosi added.
Back in 2007, when the government introduced the plastic levy, the general thinking was that, the extra charge would discourage people from buying them in large quantities and instead encourage re-using of the product. The levy was to feed the National Environmental Fund and boost conservation programmes in their respective communities.
The PAC has therefore faulted Magosi’s Ministry of failing communities especially those living around the Wildlife areas and Magosi admitted that the Tourism policy which is currently under implementation is in part to blame. He added that the policy is very old and needed to be modernised. It is Magosi’s contention that the policy that is currently under review would come up with a solution to the problem.
â€¨The levy followed the introduction of the Plastic Carrier Bags and Flat Bags Specification by the Botswana Bureau of Standards. The law came into force on May 12 and requires shops to use bags of a thickness of not less 24 microns.â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨
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.
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.
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.