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Masisi finally cleans civil service

At least five senior civil servants will not return to their plush offices at the beginning of the government financial year next month (April 1st) after President Mokgweetsi Masisi declined to renew their contracts, WeekendPost has learnt.

It is reported that it has been the intention of Masisi, that after winning the 2019 general elections, the civil service would go through an overhaul. With the election storm now over, the President has now set his plan in motion with at least five senior government officials expected to leave the civil service at the end of this month. The quint join their former boss, Carter Morupisi who was also considered surplus to requirements upon the expiry of his contract, despite having expressed his desire to serve two more years in his post.

According to sources the cleansing is aimed at avoiding incidents of sabotage and firing blanks throughout his presidency as some servants are still loyal to the past regime of Lt Gen Ian Khama. Dr Theophilus Mooko who is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research and Science Technology had his contract not renewed and will not return to his office on April 1st.

His dismissal is heavily linked with the way the Ministry handled the issue of International Aviation Solutions (IAS)-aviation school in which some monies that were to be paid to the school were withheld resulting in massive job losses and bleak future for the students. “The President was very concerned over the matter more especially that it has affected students’ future. The PS has been kept on his toes to pay back the school so that it could resume its operations and there is progress.

But to be honest, the leadership was concerned more especially that the IAS Director even approached DCEC to probe the PS for office abuse and the President believed the matter tarnished government’s image hence the decision not to extend his contract,” explained a source. Mooko when contacted to confirm his impending exit this week said he was not in a position to say anything regarding his contract. Ministry of Transport and Communication’s most senior servant Kabelo Ebineng, is also on his way out.

“He has not cut his ties with former President, Ian Khama,” a source told this publication. “President Masisi believes Khama still has influence in the apparatus of government hence he decided to part ways with him.” Ebineng was roped in as the PS in 2017 by Khama. There are other reasons advanced for his dismissal mostly bordering on meeting the set targets.

When he replaced Ellias Magosi, the expectation was that he will turn some of the parastatals overseen by the ministry like Air Botswana, Botswana Railways and the troubled Civil Aviation Authority Botswana (CAAB). The leadership is not satisfied with his input, sources tell this publication. Ebineng’s office neighbour and National HIV/AIDS Health and Promotion Agency (NAHPA) coordinator Richard Matlhare will see his intimate relationship with the agency coming to an end.

Just like Ebineng, there is a strong believe that he is very close to the past regime especially Khama and former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi. “He is close with his former bosses and he is also close to President Masisi,” informant shared with WeekendPost. However, it is highly maintained that his sacking is mostly anchored on performance. “To be honest the leadership is concerned about his performance, He is a non-performer,” a source said explicitly.

Botswana Public Service School (BPSS) Executive Director Botshelo Mathuba is also expected to leave the public service. In 2018 former government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay who was transferred to Botswana Public Service School (BPSS) as a Deputy Executive Secretary also left the institution after government decided not to offer him an extension. Kebonye Moepeng who is the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs also left the civil service last month.

Another reject is former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Ruth Maphorisa who left in December last year.  One PS who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity says though it is discretion of the leadership as to whether they get contract renewals or not, the decision was personal. “Masisi is protecting his close allies and all those who questioned things have been denied contracts, it has nothing to do with performance. The yes boys and girls remain and we will not mortgage ourselves,” raged the outgoing PS in an interview.

Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM) could not shed light on the developments. “Employment contracts for all Public Service employees, including Senior Servants, come to an end upon expiry of the contracts,” DPSM Director Goitseone Mosalakatane responded this publication’s enquiry and added. “A contract entered into between the employer and employee is private and confidential, therefore, third parties are not privy to its terms.”

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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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