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Ministers meet Tsogwane over Corona crisis

The churches umbrella bodies, the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), Botswana Council of Churches (BCC), and the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) have asked President Mokgweetsi Masisi to set a date for a national prayer against the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Botswana is yet to register any confirmed cases of the virus and the church bodies are convinced that this is abundant mercifulness and favour of God on Botswana and this recognition of the divine is best expressed in prayer, the three church bodies said. “For this reason, we hereby resolve and declare a national call to prayer by every citizen and resident of Botswana. Through, this all are required to join and participate in the forty days of national prayer,” reads a letter given to Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. The prayer should effect from the 1st of April to the 3rd of May.

The church bodies ask the citizenry of Botswana to spend at least three minutes in prayer from their houses, offices and workplaces. The agreement according Botswana Network of Christian Communities (BONECO) Secretary Reverend Gabriel Tsuaneng is ready to assist the government with resources. “We further continue to explore how our resources such as human (both clergy and laity), social resources such as land and buildings could be availed for the benefit of the nation in a difficult time such as this.”

On top of this there is also a suggestion from Raphael Habibo from EFB that the government through President Masisi to make a call for prayer day to ask God’s grace to continue protecting the nation from the virus. Tsogwane has assured the churches that he will relay the message to his superior. While church leaders agree that they would be ready to work with government, they feel hard done by President Masisi for not including them in his task team fighting the pandemic.

“We are ready VP to fight this and we are because we have also stopped the Easter Pilgrimages but I feel the task team should have included the faith sector because with God everything is okay,” OFAIC leader Tebogo Motlhagodi. Motlhagodi’s argument is if they could have been included from the onset they would have conveyed the message to their congregants from a more authoritative corner than from volunteerism and they will be ready to join the committee if at all they would be roped in.

The church leadership who were glad to have met with VP and Ministers to map the way forward in dealing with virus also had some requests.  “We should have media space in media where we will have programs that would uplift the spiritual well-being of our people,” EFB President, Moffat Lubinda said. His fellow clergymen also converged. “We need more slots from radio and television so that we can relay the message of hope and motivate the people,” added Reverend Tsuaneng.

Their request however has not been given the thumbs up by government and they will remain in limbo until the government decides.  “I have noted your suggestion regarding the programming at Mass Media but let me say, it has been noted. I cannot give you a definite answer but I heard you,” Minister of Presidential Affairs Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng told the Ministers. Another concern from the church leaders was regarding government’s decision to change numbers of allowed congregants in a church.

The priests say initially it was said 100 will be allowed to worship, then it was 50 now it is 10. “But the police did not interpret it well because the law says less than 10 people should be allowed to worship but to our surprise they closed down most of the churches without looking at the numbers. The churches should continue to operate and we will do all we can to ensure that we comply,” Motlhagodi lamented. As the virus numbers continue to cause havoc, some churches cry that their closure means they will not pay their staff and will not be able to pay their utilities.

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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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