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COVID 19: Counting down the lockdown family social costs

Defilement has gone up to unprecedented levels during the State of Emergency, specifically in the just ended extreme social distancing period as declared by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Therefore, Masisis move to put the country on lockdown from the 2nd of April to the 22nd of May 2020, has come with a price to pay by way of dreadful repercussions. President Masisi authorized extreme social distancing first for a period of 28 days and later extended it to three more weeks which partly formed part of easing of restrictions in a phased out manner and logic.

Statistics turned up by WeekendPost this week indicate that defilement was on the rise during this period as some undependable parents, guardians and elders were locked up in their homes with children/ minors.

This culminated in the country recording 60 cases of defilement in March just before lockdown, and the number increased to 65 during the heat of extreme social distancing in April, and further escalating in May to a whopping 78.

Botswana Police Service (BPS) therefore caution that parents and guardians alike, should be encouraged to always sensitise their children about their vulnerabilities, especially when they feel their safety is being compromised.

The topic of legal consent age should be promoted at family level to reduce possibilities of incidents of defilement, those who seem to be wayward should be made aware of consequences and what that may mean to their future, the Police point out as a comment in light of the disturbing statistics.

Stock theft also went through the ceiling

In addition to defilement, stock theft cases also skyrocketed from 70 in March, to a high of 141 in the middle of the lockdown month of April. It however went down a bit to 82 cases in May as restrictions were eased. This is attributed to farmers having difficulty and not being able to access their farms during the period.

Since beginning of the year, April recorded the highest number of stock theft cases and this is mainly attributable to the fact that most owners were affected by restriction of movement, as thieves capitalized on this and committed stock theft offences during the absence of the owners, the Police stated.

Rape cases were fluctuating during the lockdown

In other offences, the Police also recorded 132 cases of rape in March and the number decreased to 49 in April, before they increased again to 52 in May. Murder went down from 18 in March and 12 in April to 7 in May, at the time the lockdown was closing up.

With regard to threat to kill, in March 39 cases were registered while 29 in April and slightly going up in May with 30. In terms of suicide, the statistics indicate that there were 24 in March, cases then went down to 16 and maintained the number in May.

54 persons were recorded missing in March, 46 in April and lastly May only 33 were recorded throughout the country.

Police also nabbed thousands who violated COVID-19 regulations

Still during the period of lockdown due to Corona Virus there were 502 people that were nabbed by the police after entering at un-gazetted points across the border line. In addition, 1577 was also registered for cases of unlawful brewing and sale of traditional liquor during the lockdown period.

A whopping 12 109 were arrested for unlawful movement while they were not essential service cadres and therefore supposed to be indoors. For violation of transport permit, the police registered 278 cases, with 140 for unlawful gatherings of more than two persons.

There were also 246 cases of prohibited sale of tobacco, 16 for unlawful transportation of tobacco as well as 12 who operated outside limitation of hours of trade. The statistics were recorded between phases 1, 2 and 3 of lockdown from 2 April to 3 June 2020.

Other offences reduced because most criminals were in-doors – Police

Other crimes that were also committed include armed robbery registering 63 in March, 23 in April and 22 in May; while in terms of robbery in general, there were 25 cases in March, 5 and 3 then were recorded in April and May respectively.

Additionally, house breaking and theft saw 104 cases registered in March while 90 in April and 85 in May. For burglary and theft, there were 67 cases in March, with 39 in April followed by 47 in May. 69 and 63 cases were also noted in March and April for store breaking and theft with 36 recorded in May.

According to the Police, the majority of offences in the categories realized reductions, with the exception of burglary and theft. The reductions in robberies could mainly be due to the fact that would be victims were by then mostly in-doors, Police pointed out.

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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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