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Botswanas social security system is chaotic

Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) said the countrys current social security system is reactive, indirect and unsystematic. The remark follows President Mokgweetsi Masisi State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered at the opening of the second session of the 12th Parliament.

In his approximately three-hour national televised address, President Masisi underlined that the recently approved national Social Protection Framework (NDPF) will deliver a Single Registry System with the aim of consolidating and harmonizing the existing twenty nine Social Protection programs across government into five life course programs.

The consolidation will forge coherence and synergies between these programs to assist government in building a stronger, more responsive, efficient and resilient social protection system.
BFTU has welcomed this development saying it will help the system that is already fragmented and hidden in various state expenditure.

It is for this reason that we welcome the harmonization of the system. What we are not happy with is that this harmonization seems to be the sole baby of the government and those affected by social protection are left out. We have in the past and continue to hold the view that nothing for us without us principle must be observed if programmes meant to serve people are to properly respond to their needs, said BFTU Secretary General, Thusang Butale.

President Masisi said in his address that the controversial Ipelegeng programme will be re-engineered with focus on maintenance of public facilities, especially schools and implementation of development projects at local level. He underlined that the revamped Ipelegeng will empower beneficiaries through capacity building and development of technical skills for sustained livelihoods.

We appreciate the re-engineering of Ipelegeng programme. We believe that if what the President said will be done with the programme it will be more beneficial to Batswana than the current scheme, Butale indicated. However, the Union criticized what they referred to as lack of consultation on this issue, which they believe should be discussed with social partners as it constitutes active-market policies.

The President said nothing about when this envisaged re-engineering will take place. It will therefore not be possible to hold the President accountable if it would not be done by the next SONA, said Butale. The President also touched on an issue of poverty eradication, saying it is one of governments key policy deliverables.

In this context, Masisi said government has broadened the scope of measurement of poverty to include the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which measures non-income deprivation levels of the poor in the areas of education, health and living standards.

According to Masisi, as at July 2020, the Poverty Eradication programme had funded about 40, 000 projects and 80 percent of them were in operation and employ about 35,000 Batswana. However, BFTU said Masisi omitted to inform the nation about the costs of these projects.

It is not clear whether these projects are new. It seems also that almost all the projects are single-employee projects. It is therefore impossible to gauge whether these are really successful projects or not. The President ought to have briefed the nation on the poverty situation and what government efforts have been and the level of success or failure and related challenges, said Butale.

BFTU contends that Masisi said nothing positive on the acute housing problems facing Batswana especially in urban areas which is occasioned mainly by unavailability of land. The Presidents address offers no solution whatsoever to this problem. He alluded to the review of policies, but the timelines of March 2022 are absurd to say the least looking at the urgency of the housing matter, he said.

Land allocation has come to a standstill in most land boards. We had expected the President to apprise the nation on the problems the land boards are facing regarding land allocation and what solutions are being put in place to address the situation. It is not clear what the Land Reform Agenda is all about and how it will resolve the current land allocation backlogs.

Further, BFTU indicated that the timelines are set afar. In recent past, government embarked on the land Administration Procedures Capacity and Systems project. We expected that there will be a brief on its successes or failures and what government is doing about it. The President only managed a vague paragraph on the matter, he said.


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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