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OPs P6 million MPs Avani expense illegal – PPADB

The parastatal organization, Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) has come out with guns blazing at the foremost powerful Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration for “illegal” transactions that flouted the PPAD Act.

This emerged following PPADB’s decision on the 5th March 2020 board sitting that rejected the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration’s request for a backdated approval with regard to a 6 million Pula debt to Avani Hotel pertaining to tender PPADB 0/5/1/6-2.
According to a PPADB official notice: “it was submitted on the 2nd March 2020, that the National Assembly’s retroactive approval request to pay Avani Hotel Resort & Casino an amount of BWP 6, 217, 751. 25 for accommodation and meals for Members of Parliament and their spouses, from 31st October 2019 to 20th December 2019” and that the “decision was not approved.”  

When approached by Weekend Post which sought clarity on the controversial matter, Public Relations and Education Manager Charles Keikotlhae, indeed confirmed that PPADB rejected the Office of the President’s request. “Yes, it is true,” he told this publication upon inquiries of the note’s authenticity. When quizzed on what grounds the decision was taken he vowed that it was on the basis that OP’s move was essentially unlawful – specifically that is in contravention of PPAD Act.

“The decision not to approve was premised on the submission not satisfying Section 44 (2) of the PPAD Act as read with Section 3 of the PPAD (Retroactive Approvals) Order of 2012,” the PPADB mouth piece explained. Section 44 (2) of the PPAD Act states that; “the Board may resolve to issue a retroactive approval on any bid issued or invitation to tender where it is satisfied that a procuring or disposing entity was required to proceed with the bid or invitation due to an urgent requirement or emergency arising from special circumstance.”

In addition, section 3 of the PPAD (Retroactive Approvals) Order, 2012 reads; “the Board may by resolution approve retroactively, a bid or invitation to tender issued by a procuring or a disposing entity where the job to be performed by a selected contractor or the service to be provided by a selected service provider is urgent and necessary – (a) to protect life; or (b) to protect the environment.”

According to PPADB spokesperson, in light of the prevailing circumstances, the Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration should investigate the matter and determine the reasons that led to this non-compliance with the PPAD Act and take appropriate action against relevant officer(s) if reasons for their non-compliance are not justified.  He then cautioned that procuring entities are requested to improve procurement planning and to give procurement matters due attention as well as follow laid down guidelines depending on circumstances that prevail at a given time.

PPADB’s role clarified in 6 million MP debts

On the same token, the PPADB official went on to clarify that PPADB does not consider requests for payment rather PPADB only “considers requests for appointment of service providers.”  In this particular case he highlighted that Avani Resort and Casino was appointed “prior” to approval by the adjudicating authority (PPADB/Ministerial Tender Committee (MTC)).

Therefore, he added that the request by Office of the President was for retroactive appointment of Avani Resort and Casino for accommodation services and the Board “rejected the retroactive appointment.” On that note, Keikotlhae said the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration should refer the request to pay for services rendered to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in line with Circular FDPC 85/2/7 20 (6) dated 27th July 2010.

Why PPADB stepped in on the procurement matter

The Board is empowered to promote procurement practices which will reap the benefits of economies of scale; and encourage competition as the mechanism through which value for money can be achieved; as well as upholding fairness and equitable treatment of contractors providing works, supplies and services to government to maintain a level playing field. In addition, the board also supports accountability and transparency in the management of public procurement and disposal of public assets; and ensures integrity, fairness and public confidence in the procurement and disposal process.

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) was enacted by an Act of Parliament [Cap 42:08] of 2001 as a parastatal organisation, operating under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP). PPADB’s primary mandate is to adjudicate and award tenders for Central Government and any other institutions specified under the Act for the delivery of works, services and supplies related services.

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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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