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Emergency regulations you must know

  1. Under the Emergency Powers Act, the President can make such regulations as appear to him to be necessary or expedient for, amongst others, securing the public safety and the defence of the Republic, the maintenance of public order, and for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the people.
  2. Such Regulations have been published through Statutory Instrument No. 61 of 2020 and are currently in force. They deal with a wide spectrum of issues including declaration of a national lockdown for the whole of Botswana, effective midnight 02nd April 2020 until 30th April 2020; curtailment of movement by persons with a view to suppressing the virus, etc, whilst allowing the economy to run at a minimal level.
  3. During the period of the lockdown all persons employed within the public service, parastatals and state owned entities shall, to the exclusion of essential services personnel, work remotely from home. This also applies to the private sector.
  4. During lockdown everyone shall remain confined to their homes except those attending an urgent meeting of Cabinet, the National Assembly, a Council, an urgent meeting of the COVID-19 National Task Team or are essential service employees.
  5. All schools shall be closed during the state of public emergency.
  6. All religious places of worship shall be closed during the state of public emergency.
  7. A person shall not travel between villages, towns, cities and districts for non- essential travel during a lockdown
  8. During lockdown a person may leave his/her home between the hours of 0800 and 2000 to access essential supplies, provided he/she is issued with a permit.
  9. Persons other than citizens and non-citizen residents are not allowed entry into Botswana during the state of public emergency.
  10. To provide the necessary safeguard during the period of lockdown, health services, emergency services, administration of justice, legal practitioners and the media have been declared as essential. However, they should obtain permits to access their workplaces.
  11. The escalation of measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic from the Public Health Act [CAP.63:01] to the Constitution will allow Parliament to provide the necessary oversight role of ensuring that the Emergency Powers Regulations are a product of national consensus.
  12. The Public Health Act is a good piece of legislation that attempts to deal with public health emergencies. However, it is limited and is not sufficiently endowed with authority to deal with a public health emergency of this magnitude. For example, section 23 of the Public Health Act authorises the Director to declare that a public health emergency exists. Such declaration is limited to seven (7) days although in terms of section 24 of the Act the Director has authority to extend the period of a public health emergency declaration as may be necessary.
  13. A resolution made by the National Assembly in terms of section 17 of the Constitution continues in force until the expiration of a period of six months beginning with the date of its being so approved or until such earlier date as may be specified in the resolution.
  14. Once the President issues a declaration that a state of public emergency exists, the President is authorised to make regulations under the Emergency Powers Act [CAP. 22:04]. The Emergency Powers Act provides wider latitude compared to the Public Health Act. The Public Health Act requires issuance of directives by the Director while under the Emergency Powers Act, regulations are issued by the President and take precedence where there is inconsistency between the Regulations and existing laws.
  15. Emergency regulations issued by the President under the Emergency Powers Act do not suspend the operation of existing laws. The Regulations are read with existing laws and only take precedence where there is inconsistency.
  16. The Regulations were further amended through Statutory Instrument No. 62 of 2020. The major amendment include incorporation the definition of the word home, which includes masimo and moraka. The forms for permits were substituted to facilitate contact tracing of individuals. Further, a new provision was incorporated banning the importation or sale of tobacco during the state of public emergency.
  17. Additional amendments were made through Statutory Instrument No. 63 of 2020, which I tabled today. The notable amendment includes giving the Chief Justice powers to suspend certain court procedures such as the timelines laid down in the High Court Rules, issuance of Directives relating to the detention, bail or remand of prisoners awaiting arraignment, trial or appeal.
  18. The amendment above also includes suspending section 18 of the Local Government Act, which provides for the filling of the seat of a member of Council within a period of three months.
  19. Further Statutory Instrument No. 63 of 2020 incorporates an amendment which prohibits an industrial action during the state of emergency.
  20. The above instrument further provides that where a business is unable to have employees work remotely from home or where it is unable to pay salaries, the business may cease operations but that it shall not retrench or dismiss an employee during the state of emergency.
  21. This House is requested to approve the Emergency Powers (Covid-19) Regulations, 2020 contained in Statutory Instrument No. 61 of 2020 as amended through Statutory Instruments No. 62 of 2020 and 63 of 2020.

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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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