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Minority tribes report Govt to UN

CREATIVE: Minority tribes want peaceful co-existence with wildlife


Botswana’s minority tribes, including Wayeyi, Basarwa and Hambukushu among others have told the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on cultural rights Farida Shaheed of possible human rights abuses meted by the Botswana Government.


The tribes have expressed frustration, anger, mistrust and fear of the government and its possible future plans, in particular when it comes to the resolution of human – wildlife conflicts.


The tribes, some of which have had protracted legal battles with the government made these revelations to the UN Special Rapporteur during her 13 days visit to Botswana recently. Shaheed was in the country to scrutinise Botswana’s human rights record, particularly on cultural rights.


Shaheed in her preliminary observations said the minority groups are not happy: “In many of the places I visited, I heard the frustration, anger, and fears expressed by people, in particular San, Hambukushu and Wayeyi communities, which stem from the lack of clear information about and understanding of the policies in place and future plans, in particular when it comes to the resolution of human – wildlife conflicts”.


 “The legacy of past violations of human rights in the distant and more recent past needs to be acknowledged and addressed if the authorities wish to engage in meaningful consultations with communities for the future,” she said.


“The Central Kalahari Game Reserve has been at the centre of considerable controversy since the Government decided to relocate all people to settlements outside the Reserve,” said Shaheed.

Despite a Court ruling confirming the right of the petitioners to return to the Reserve, concerns remain regarding an overly restrictive interpretation of the ruling and the right of offspring to remain on the reserve upon attaining majority at 18 years of age. “I would like the Government to clarify the matter,” the expert said.


“I have been assured by the Government that there will be no fencing in of the area, no eviction of local communities, and no disruption of their rights of access to natural resources,” she added. The Special Rapporteur hoped that such steps would help to establish good practices in this area, including for other parts of the country.


Shaheed also called for more alternative spaces for people, besides the traditional spaces offered by kgotlas governed by chiefs, to engage in sports and creative activities in both rural and urban centres.

“I welcome the increased number of cultural activities being promoted by the Government, through numerous festivals and competitions across the country,” she said.

“I encourage the Government to expand its support to non-traditional forms of cultural expressions and consider the establishment of a national arts council for the promotion and further development of artists and creative industries.”


She congratulated Botswana for her success in having the Okavango Delta included on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.


“I particularly welcome the consultative process engaged in by the Government before the listing as well as the recognition that the Delta has been inhabited for centuries by small numbers of people with no significant impact on the ecological integrity of the area,” she said.


According to the UN Special Rapporteur, “the time has come for a second phase of nation building that reflects, builds on and celebrates the rich cultural diversity of the country.”


“While the use of Setswana as the national language has enabled most people in the country to communicate with each other, mother tongue education in the first years of schooling is certainly a way forward.  The risk of further disadvantaging children in remote areas who have no or minimal exposure to Setswana in their families and communities, in particular those residing in hostels without family support systems, is significant.”


The Special Rapporteur, whose mandate is to monitor the implementation of cultural rights, stressed that issues relating to the recognition of tribal communities as tribes under the Bogosi Act of 2008 need to be addressed.

“Unlike the eight Tswana tribes who have an automatic seat in the House of Chiefs, other communities do not,” she said. Shaheed also expressed concern that the adjudication system based on the Kgosi (chiefs) leads to the dominant tribe imposing its customary law, with a few exceptions, on all groups in a particular tribal territory in civil matters.


The Special Rapporteur visited Gaborne, Maun, Ghanzi / Dkar, Old Xade, New Xade, Shakawe, the Tsodilo Hills as well as several villages in the Okavango Delta, and Ramotswa. She met with Government officials, chiefs, artists, academics and representatives of civil society.


The Special Rapporteur will develop her assessment and recommendations in a report to be presented at the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2015 in Geneva.


Speaking to WeekendPost, Keikabile Mogodu, who is the San Rights Group’s spokesperson said the UN Special Rapporteur has summed it up. “She has taken our words and verbalised our long standing grievances and views. We are all Batswana and we agree that Setswana has united us, but there is need to recognise other languages. That’s unity in diversity we always talk about,” he said.

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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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