Ngamiland farmers have stood their ground, rejecting the strategic direction set out by a United Nations organ, which was targeted for the Ngamiland district.
Ngamiland farmers are seeking to totally overhaul the strategic direction of the UNDP’s Sustainable Land Management (SLM), saying they doubt the effectiveness of the aims initially set out for the programme.
The threat emerges, a year after the project was declared officially started in March 2014, when the Programme Coordinator sought to bring the farmers into its steering committee. On approval of the request however, farmers staged a coup de tat of sorts, demanding that the initial objectives of the programme be reconsidered.
The farmers, in a concerted effort, put pressure on Programme Coordinator Tiego Mpho, to present on their behalf before the Project Steering Committee (PSC) to re consider the set objectives. Farmers’ position is that the PSC, which is the highest decision making body for the project, should first address the current challenges farmers in Ngamiland are faced with, before implementing its new proposals.
Initially, the five year termed project was overviewed at mainstreaming SLM in rangeland areas of Ngamiland District landscapes for improved livelihoods. The project which has two main components in its objectives, is sponsored by the UNDP to the tune of P40 million ($4 million). The progamme is to be piloted on three areas of the Ngamiland being Tsodilo Hills, Haenaveld Farms and Lake Ngami.
Firstly, it is to create effective range management on over 1 million hectares of land to improve range conditions and the flow of the ecosystem services to support livelihoods of local communities in Ngamiland. The outcome of the component is to have proper land use plans for Ngamiland in order to support sustainable land utilisation of range resources in the districts.
Secondly, the objectives seek effective resource governance frameworks and markets to provide incentives for livestock off-take and compliance with SLM. This is expected to improve farmers’ access to markets for livestock products. A processing plant in Ngamiland would increase quantity and variety of locally processed beef products, allowing higher sales of livestock products and off take. Also, product placement will be secured in local and regional markets.
Expressing serious doubts to the project coordinator at a recently held forum in Maun, former legislator and Minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramdsen, expressed fears that sustainable land management is impossible, especially in the areas of Ngamiland. Ramdsen is of view that the SLM project will be challenged by the fact that the district has been left for the uncontrolled capacity of livestock which has negatively impacted the area’s land as quantities of animals are more that the land itself could take. Ramdsen believes that the situation is beyond human control.
Farmers agree that the PSC should first consider answering the related root causes of the challenges before rushing to implement ideas that could lead to wasted efforts and money.
“Ngamiland is still heavily challenged by issues of human wildlife conflicts and Foot and Mouth Disease, so this needs to be addressed first,” Kgosi Kegaisamang Ramokwena, said to other farmers.
In his response, the Project Coordinator Mpho gave assurance that issues brought by farmers will be taken before the PSC. In a short interview with this publication, Mpho confirmed that issues brought by farmers are taken seriously, adding that the suggestions of the farmers to overhaul the objectives of the programme are likely to be considered.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.