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MPs fear land crisis will divide the nation

Former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Deputy Commander Major General Pius Mokgware has warned government not to fall in the trap of other foreign countries where civil wars originated from land disputes as a result of failure to distribute land equally to all citizens.

Mokgware, who is a Member of Parliament for Gabane-Mankgodi said consistent failure by government to give citizens land for residential and commercial use may result in frustrations leading to revolt either against government or against another.

Debating the budget for Ministry of Lands and Housing tabled by Minister Prince Maele, Mokgware said land was at the centre of dispute in the majority of wars throughout the world in the last few years. It is against this reason that Mokgware wants to avoid a situation where citizens will go for jugular in future and fight against another for land ownership.

Mokgware also spoke against government policy towards the youth in land allocation. Mokgware said inability to allocate land to youth will effectively lead to their disempowerment since they cannot do anything without land ownership. Maele had told parliament that out of 18,857 plots allocated last year 1,748 were allocated to youth something which Mokgware said is disappointing. “We should be at least talking about 10,000 of those plots being allocated to youth,” he said.

Also debating the budget proposal was MP for Tlokweng Same Bathobakae who called for government to review the BHC mandate and divert it from a profit driven entity to a service driven one with the view of delivering houses at affordable rate to ordinary Batswana. “BHC should not be profit driven and distribution of land should show development,” she said.

Over the last few years Tlokweng has been of the areas which have been at the centre of plot allocation debacle with tribal leaders preferring an arrangement where Batlokwa are given priority in plot allocation. The view has been shared by some in society including President Khama who had promised a policy that will give priority to native dwellers in land allocation.

The Tlokweng MP also expressed disappointment that government has the tendency of repossessing land from citizens without notifying them. Bathobakae said these results in them selling land when they are not able to develop the plots. 

Bathobakae also observed that the land crisis and indecisiveness in allocating plots for business use is turning away investors from starting businesses in Botswana.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Thapelo Olopeng said government should consider closing the loopholes in the laws regarding transfer and selling of land to foreigners. Olopeng said he has realized that plot owners transfer the ownership of their plots to their companies and in the process the companies get sold, all company assets are acquired including land. Olopeng warned that this will result in transferring majority of land to foreign ownership contending that there is a need to review land transfer legislation.

Olopeng also shared similar concerns with MP Mokgware in regard to youth land ownership. Olepeng contended that empowerment of youth starts with land ownership as a result requested government to consider a policy that will favour youth in land ownership.

According to Olopeng government should also consider allowing people to drill boreholes in their homes for the purpose of watering their gardens. Olopeng said it will prove beneficiation to consider such a move and the situation could rescue gardens in the current situation where there is water shortage.

Noah Salakae, MP for Ghanzi North said lack of clear policy will result in wealthy citizens acquiring more land at the expense of ordinary citizens. Salakae faulted the land allocation process saying a country with a mere population of 2 million should not be facing land shortage. Salakae equated the population of Botswana to just a population of a city in some countries, including neighbouring South Africa. 

Maele told parliament that the land registration component of the Land Administration Procedures, Capacity and Systems (LAPCAS) project has surveyed 235,187 plots and 67,728 plot owners have come forth to confirm plot ownership. However, Maele noted that there is a challenge emanating from reluctance by some land holders to come forth and confirm ownership of their land especially in Kweneng Districts.

Ministry of Lands and Housing was allocated P1.6 billion for 2015/16 year to cater for Recurrent and Development budget for the ministry.  This allocation represents a 35 percent increase when compared to last year’s P1.2 billion allocated to the ministry.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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