Connect with us
Advertisement

Preview: The General: In the Service Of My Country


""Sir Donald McKinnon, former secretary general of the Commonwealth, in his foreword, described it as the compelling account of a life so well lived, with a strong political and personal legacy.
I agree. Absolutely!


In this book, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe himself not only tackles a wide range of subjects from the Lesoma incident to the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) issue to his relations with the private media and political opponents, but also reveals information that has never been put in public domain.


Born and raised in Serowe, his life changed dramatically when a confluence of circumstances put him in a police uniform as a Constable in pre-independence Botswana, before he was ultimately connected to the political power grid to become Botswana’s sixth vice president decades later.


The General, as he was fondly known to many, was the man, if any, to achieve such a feat. He had enormous intellectual ambition.


This book does more than tell The General’s personal story. It also traces Botswana’s history from the time he became conscious of his surroundings to the time he retired from public service in 2012 after 52 years of diligent service to the nation. To read through the first two chapters, is to be reacquainted with his humble beginnings and modest education.


There are other aspects of his early achievements as a police officer, prosecutor and army general. It is clear, for example, that he saw his task as one not of power but as a call to perform his duty “according to the will of his people and by the grace of God.”


His early days in party politics bring out the best in him. The General was no longer the combative army chief, but a rising political figure acutely aware of the political forces at play and of the pressures associated with party politics.


He shares his experiences about his maiden political campaign in Mahalapye, where he described his opponent “as a political novice of sorriest order” on the basis of the latter’s campaign methods. He says while his opponent questioned his kinship with the people of Mahalapye as he was from Serowe, he restricted his campaign pitch purely to issues of substance.


The General explains that the opposition candidate’s campaign was not based on serious self-evaluation but rather on political adventurism, adding that the latter was clearly the architect of his own defeat.


The book also takes you through his years as Botswana’s top diplomat and exceptional custodian of Botswana’s foreign policy, a task that will always be marked with distinction.  


As one commentator noted, this book is “…a wonderful store of knowledge about our beacon and guiding light in the diplomatic service, who transformed himself from being a army general to a consummate diplomat with the ability to take debates on global challenges to a higher level…”

You do not necessarily have to be knowledgeable or politically-conscious to realise that The General was one of the outstanding political figures within living memory. This book provides insight into the life of one of the most striking, interesting and influential figures of our times.


It is a story of a rare genius, who will without doubt stand high in the records of the fine achievement in the fields of Diplomacy and Leadership.


Towards the end, he shares his experiences as vice president and leader of the House. He reminisces about his exchanges with a youthful opposition politician, whom, by his own admission, did not come across as an adversary per se, but an otherwise brilliant and articulate son of the soil.


In his own words, Merafhe quips: “…it thrilled me beyond words that the free education that the BDP-led government provided was not going to waste if it could turn out products of such high intellectual acumen…”


In essence, this book gives an account of Botswana’s tireless, true patriot who will undoubtedly take his place in the roll of principled modern time leaders. No political figure in modern Botswana was ever the subject of more unremitting attention on the part of the media and social commentators. This is a refreshing and interesting read that shall leave everyone spellbound.

Continue Reading

News

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,’

Continue Reading

News

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.

Continue Reading

News

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.”

Continue Reading