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SA, Botswana exchange jabs over extradition

AG hits back, accuses SA officials of hiding their unconstitutional acts

A case in which a Motswana man has been unlawfully and mysteriously extradited to Botswana by South African officials to face his murder charges, has stirred diplomatic tensions between the two countries, leaving behind a trail of blame game.

Last year, the South African Home Affairs department launched an investigation into circumstances that led to the deportation of Edwin Samotse to Botswana despite a decision by the top hierarchy not to deport him to Botswana. Samotse was charged with murder in Botswana and fled to South Africa where the South African Constitutional Court had ruled twice that foreign nationals cannot be extradited to their home countries if there is a danger that they'll face the death penalty.

WeekendPost has established that the brawl continues to this day and efforts to find common ground have not been easy as neither of the two countries is willing to accept the blame. Recently, South African officials wrote a letter to the Botswana government demanding a full explanation on the matter. They have been accusing the Botswana government of having a hand in the unlawful and mysterious deportation of Samotse.

The attorney General, Athaliah Molokomme told this publication that they have indeed received some correspondences from South Africa pertaining to the matter. “They have written us letters calling us to send him back and other issues which I cannot remember well. But what has to be understood is that we did what we had to do, arrest him when he set a foot here,” she said.

Molokomme argues that the South African officials know that they violated the law in sending Samotse to Botswana hence their illegitimate accusations.

Samotse had been in the custody of the South African authorities before the Botswana Government successfully sought his extradition to face murder charges.

"In the matter of Mohammed v President of South Africa and Minister of Home Affairs, both cases relating to Botswana nationals, the courts held that in the absence of such an assurance, the South African government and no official in the employ of government, may not lawfully extradite or deport individuals whose countries still impose the death penalty," the department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The North Gauteng High Court on 13 August 2014 issued a similar order in the Samotse matter.

However, officials from the Department of Home Affairs, it seems, knowingly or without prior knowledge of the Director-General and without any authority, secured the release of Samotse from the Polokwane Police Station and transported him to the Groblersbrug port of entry between South Africa and Botswana, where they handed him over to Botswana officials.

Molokomme argues that the South African officials are shifting the blame, “they know that they deported him illegally and fear the wrath of the law on their side. He was a fugitive and they also know that they have violated the international law hence their accusations and antics.

The Secretary of Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Augustine Makgonatsotlhe said that he was not in a position to say whether they will act on the demands of the South African government to hand Samotse back or not. “We cannot say for now that we will deliver him back, mind you he is a criminal and we want him just as much as the South African officials,” he said.

Meanwhile, Samotse has fled again after being arrested in Botswana and his whereabouts are not known despite the two countries’ tussle. He fled from Nyangabwe Referral Hospital where he had gone for a check up. Makgonatsotlhe confirmed to us that Samotse is still at large. Sources say Samotse might have gone back to South Africa but the South African officials have not said anything about that to the Botswana government, according to Makgonatsotlhe.

The South African department of Home Affairs which suspended suspected officials last year pending investigations could not be reached for comment as their spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete said he was in long a meeting.

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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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