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BDP must reform – Butale

Butale calls for reforms ahead of elective congress

The Member of Parliament for Tati West Biggie Butale has called on Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to embrace reforms as he joins the race for the chairmanship ahead of the elective July congress.

Speaking exclusively to WeekendPost on Friday, Butale said his decision to join the race for Chairmanship was motivated by a yearning for a genuine change by the democrats in the wake of dismal general elections performance. “There is a need for genuine reforms and I have an agenda for reforms,” said Butale.

Butale was quick to make it clear that his campaign is not based on any lobby list and he will support anyone who will buy into his agenda on a number of issues. Butale is expected to slug it out with President Khama brother, Tshekedi Khama; former Minister of Defence,  Ramadeluka Seretse; and former envoy to the United States, Tebelelo Seretse for the party chairmanship.

Butale told this publication that should he win the Chairmanship, he will influence a change in a number of issues, among them a law that will give councils autonomy. Butale said BDP should consider this move because if councils are given powers it will become easier to deliver services to the people. “Small is beautiful,” he said. “And I believe it’s efficient if we have executive mayors and council chairpersons.”

Among other issues, Butale also wants Bulela Ditswe reviewed, with the view of changing the model by outsourcing the whole process either to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) or the University of Botswana’s Democracy Research Project in order to ensure it is fair and efficient.

Bulela Ditswe, which was introduced in 2003 has proved to be a headache for the BDP, as it has led to divisions in the party owing to animosity steered by allegations of cheating during the electoral process. “Alternatively, we can reform the secretariat and capacitate it with enough resources to run credible elections,” he said. “But outsourcing should be the first option because these institutions are credible and have the capacity to manage the elections.”

Butale revealed that there is a need to revive party structures and engage them actively in running the party in order to revive the party’s fortunes. “I want a bottom-up approach, which the President (Ian Khama) wants to see done,” he said.  

Butale has dismissed suggestions that adopting reforms that are in similar taste with what opposition parties are advocating for will put him at axis with party leadership. A number of motions which Butale has brought before parliament are pro-opposition and could lead to tension within the party. “Those are good motions and I didn’t bring them forward to please the opposition,” he said. “These motions are discussed at party caucus before being brought for debate.”

 Butale was forced to withdraw one of his motions a few weeks ago, after he called on government to rename one government major facility in honour of the late BMD President and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi. Butale is of the firm belief that Motswaledi has made an immense contribution to Botswana in the area of creative arts and politics. BDP forced him to withdraw the motion on the basis that such move will give opposition a political mileage at the expense of their party.

Other motions brought to parliament by Butale that will create unease within the BDP include his call for government to consider introduction of multi-linguistic teaching in government schools. BDP had in the last parliament rejected such motion brought forward by then MP for Selebi Phikwe West Gilson Saleshando under the pretext that it will encourage tribalism and was not practical. It remains to be seen whether Butale will see the green light this time around.

Butale has already managed to convince his BDP colleagues to have a law on beneficiation, a position which has been supported by opposition for decades but government was not willing to pursue it. Former Minister David Magang has also tried to cajole government on similar position but to no avail. Butale’s motion was approved by parliament two weeks ago.

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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,’

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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.

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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.”

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