Member of Parliament (MP) for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi has finally thrown in the towel at the opposition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and its affiliate Botswana National Front (BNF) and re-joined the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Moatlhodi is serving his fourth term in parliament having won Tonota South in 1999 until 2014 where he lost to former cabinet Minister Thapelo Olopeng in the BDP primary elections, who, then went on to clinch the constituency.
The General Manager of Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) Andrew Madeswi and Vice Chancellor of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) Professor Otlogetwe Totolo last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cement their collaboration in areas of research and development in the fight against transboundary diseases and other diseases of public health and socio-economic importance in Botswana.
Speaking at the MoU signing, Madeswi explained that the collaboration with BIUST was enshrined in BVI’s mission statement, which articulates that the vaccine institute will collaborate with its partners to research and manufacture targeted vaccines for the management of infectious diseases regionally and internationally.
“As BVI we are keen on this collaboration with BUIST because it is an esteemed research institution. As a self-funding Institute, we consider collaborations that will drive our strategic business focus and support the delivery of solutions to our nation and other customers around the world. Our choice in BIUST meets these expectations,” said Madeswi.
For his part, Professor Totolo said BIUST attaches a lot of value to collaborating and partnering with like-minded organizations as that will place them at a vantage position to reach unprecedented levels of success.
He described BVI as one of the most established institutions in the country, with a long and attractive track record in the field of scientific research.
“Fairly a new university, BIUST stands a great opportunity to learn from the BVI story, particularly in the pursuit of sustainable animal health solutions which have created a solid anchor for the production of particularly cattle vaccines over long decades,” he said.
Over the last four years, the two institutions have collaborated on human capital development, through which BVI hosted BIUST undergraduate and post-graduate students for workplace experience internships.
“This is one gesture will go a long way in exposing our new talent to the real world of work and research which we greatly appreciate as an institution,” said Professor Totolo.
Scientific experts at BVI also sit on BIUST’s Industrial Advisory Board, which gives input on the development of curricular at the university so as to align academics with industry expectations.
Said Professor Totolo: “BVI experts play a pivotal role in the co-supervision of our students, another act of collaboration which facilitates cross-pollination of ideas and helps BIUST produce industry ready graduates.”
One of the flagship projects under the MoU is research and development on the production and characterization of a recombinant Newcastle Disease Virus Vaccine. In recognition of the steady growth of the poultry sector in Botswana, BIUST and BVI have resolved to produce various poultry vaccines locally. Madeswi and Professor Totolo expressed confidence that their joint expertise and resources will help them deliver the poultry vaccine and support the local poultry business, in which a substantial number of small and subsistence farmers are participating.
“This effort will also go a long way in supporting the Government’s poverty eradication initiatives in poultry production,” said Madeswi and Professor Totolo.
BVI and BIUST have also collaborated through exchanges and visits, including support towards BIUST’s Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) festival. The Research Team at BVI has also assisted a BIUST MSc student to complete her research on development of a PCR Assay to help detect Southern Africa Territories FMD strains.
“The success of such a development which we are considering for commercialization, will improve diagnosis of foot of mouth disease in Botswana and in Africa,” said Madeswi.
BVI was founded in 1978 with the strategic mandate of ensuring the sustainability of Botswana’s beef industry by controlling trans-boundary animal diseases as well as diseases of public health concern. Through strict adherence to international vaccine standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), sound quality management systems and a customer-centric approach, BVI has grown into a global provider of sustainable animal health solutions that produces and exports vaccines to over 15 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
BIUST on the other hand is a research-intensive University that specialises in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. It aims to increase competitiveness, economic growth and sustainable development; address the shortage of skilled scientists and technologists; increase movement of skilled people across national boundaries; stimulate research, innovation, and technology transfer; improve society’s aspirations to improve health, wealth and well-being; address increased demand for access to tertiary education; and enable a more competitive and innovative tertiary education sector.
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has identified at least 12 cabinet ministers who form part of his long-term plans owing to their loyalty and tenacity in delivering his vision. Masisi, who will see-off his term in 2028 — provided he wins re-election in 2024 — already knows key people who will help him govern until the end of his term, WeekendPost has learnt.
Despite negative criticism towards ministers from some quarters over a number of decisions and their somewhat cold deliberations and failure to articulate government programs, Masisi is said to be a number one cheer leader of his cabinet. He is said to have more confidence in his cabinet and believes going forward they will reach the aspired levels and silence the critics.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.