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COVID 19: Counting down the lockdown family “social” costs  

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, Masisi’s 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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ILO Launches Media Toolkit on Reporting on Labour Migration

5th July 2024

Cape Town: The International Labour Organization (ILO), in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration, launched the Southern African Migration Management Project (SAMM) media toolkit on reporting on labour migration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region last week. This toolkit is designed to guide journalists and media professionals in balanced and factual reporting on labour migration, thereby enhancing the quality and media coverage of migration issues within the SADC region.

Furthermore, the toolkit aims to advocate for behavioural changes among migrant workers, employer organizations, trade unions, civil society organizations, governments, and policymakers to improve conditions for migrants and reduce exploitative practices.

At the official launch, Gloria Moreno Fontes, SAMM Project Manager, stated that the toolkit aims to support the United Nations’ “Together, Respect, Security, and Dignity for All Refugees and Migrants” campaign, launched in 2016 by the UN Secretary-General. According to Fontes, the UN Together campaign seeks to promote global action against non-discrimination and address the rising problem of xenophobia against migrants and refugees. TOGETHER is a growing coalition of Member States, private sector entities, civil society representatives, and individuals committed to combating hate speech, changing negative narratives on migration, and strengthening social cohesion between host communities and refugees and migrants.

“Worldwide, migrants are still too often victims of racist, discriminatory, and xenophobic attacks. The media often promotes a toxic public narrative on migration and reinforces stigmatization through the inclusion of xenophobic and discriminatory messages,” Fontes highlighted.

She further noted that the press often portrays migrants as criminals, illegals, and as “stealing jobs from national workers.” She emphasized that migrants frequently become scapegoats during economic recessions, making it essential to change negative perceptions and attitudes through evidence- or fact-based journalism that helps eliminate public misconceptions.

Discussing the importance of balanced reporting and combating hate speech, United Nations Information Center (UNIC) Director Masimba Tafirenyika remarked that journalists hold the power to shape public opinion and influence societal norms. He continued, noting that the practice not only ensures a well-informed public but also upholds the democratic values of fairness and justice.

“Alongside balanced reporting, the rise of hate speech, especially on digital platforms, presents a growing threat to social cohesion and democratic values. Hate speech undermines social harmony and can incite violence, discrimination, and prejudice,” Tafirenyika noted.

According to the UNIC Director, balanced reporting builds public trust in the media as audiences perceive journalists as fair and unbiased, thus making them more likely to trust the information presented. He added that this trust is crucial for the media to uphold democracy, as it empowers citizens to engage in informed debate and hold their leaders accountable.

However, Tafirenyika pointed out that the media landscape in Southern Africa, with a few exceptions, is often marred by political interference, economic pressures, and, in some cases, self-censorship. “These factors can lead to biased reporting, where certain voices are amplified while others are marginalized. When media outlets become mouthpieces for political agendas, the public’s trust in journalism is eroded, and the democratic process is undermined. Therefore, it is essential for journalists and media organizations to adhere to ethical standards of fairness, accuracy, and impartiality,” the UNIC Director noted.

He further highlighted that hate speech poses a significant threat to social cohesion and stability, especially in Southern Africa. “The digital age has amplified the reach and impact of hate speech. Social media platforms, while offering opportunities for free expression and civic engagement, also provide a breeding ground for hate speech,” Tafirenyika concluded.

 

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CEO Africa Roundtable: Mnangagwa advocates for technological embrace

17th June 2024

The CEO Africa Roundtable has emerged as a pivotal platform for shaping national, regional, and international development dialogues through public-private engagements. At the annual CEO Africa Roundtable event held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa exhorted business leaders to embrace technology and leverage indigenous solutions to stimulate Africa’s economic growth.

Mnangagwa highlighted that the presence of delegates from across the continent signifies the business community’s confidence in Zimbabwe’s trade and investment environment, as well as in the broader regional (SADC) and continental markets.

Addressing the theme, “The Future of Africa: Modernize, Reshape, and Grow,” President Mnangagwa asserted that this theme aligns with Africa’s developmental aspirations, emphasizing the need “to innovate in order to increase production and productivity, as espoused in the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.”

He remarked that the Roundtable provides its members with a valuable platform for networking, gaining expert insights, sharing experiences regarding the local business environment, and proposing policy recommendations aimed at enhancing the business operating environment.

The President lauded the CEO Africa Roundtable and its partners for organizing focused discussions, dialogue sessions, and innovative platforms tailored to various key economic sectors as part of the event.

“Innovation and the use of information communication technology are critical enablers as we traverse the journey towards modernizing and reshaping the African continent’s economic landscape,” Mnangagwa stated.

According to Mnangagwa, the world is on the cusp of a technological revolution that is transforming how “we work and relate to one another.” He noted that this shift involves a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

This technological disruption is affecting every industry, hence Mnangagwa urged business leaders and policymakers to capitalize on the fourth industrial revolution, which holds the potential to elevate global income levels and enhance the quality of life for populations worldwide.

President Mnangagwa challenged African business leaders to be innovative, embrace their identities, and devise homegrown solutions. He asserted that Africans possess the platform and intelligence to elevate the continent’s economy to greater heights.

Earlier, CEO Africa Roundtable Chairman Oswell Binha indicated that the platform is expanding across Africa. He welcomed the addition of three new chapters in Botswana, Malawi, and Zambia. He further noted that more chapters will be introduced as part of efforts to foster collaboration among African businesses, harnessing the principles of the Africa Free Trade Area and regional integration. Over 300 delegates from across Africa attended the CEO Roundtable event in Victoria Falls.

 

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BOTSWANA PARTICIPATES IN CEO AFRICA ROUNDTABLE SUMMIT

16th June 2024

At the prestigious CEO Africa Roundtable Summit held in Victoria Falls, Botswana was represented by the Chairperson of the CEO Africa Roundtable Botswana Chapter, Tryphinah Dongwana-Kenalemang, and her deputy, Aubrey Lute. This annual convergence, themed “The Future of Africa: Modernize, Reshape, and Grow,” drew luminaries from across the continent.

Over 300 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and business Executives attended the Summit.

Dongwana-Kenalemang elaborated on the significance of Botswana’s attendance, emphasizing that it served as a benchmarking exercise in preparation for hosting a similar event in Botswana. She underscored the imperative for African nations to collaborate and exchange trade insights, thereby unlocking a wealth of opportunities.

The CEO Africa Roundtable is dedicated to fostering economic growth and sustainable development across the continent. Its objectives include promoting intra-African trade, driving innovation, and forging strategic partnerships. The platform enables business leaders to share knowledge, engage in high-level dialogue, and influence policy-making.

The genesis of the Botswana Chapter’s relationship with the CEO Africa Roundtable dates back to their initial encounter at the US-Africa Business Summit in July 2023, held in Gaborone. This seminal meeting laid the groundwork for ongoing collaboration and mutual support in advancing Africa’s economic future.

 

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