Government has drafted a bio-security bill that will explore the possibility of ploughing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Botswana. This was revealed by the Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Beauty Manake when addressing farmers in Pandamatenga this week.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), GMOs can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.
Manake was responding to concerns raised by Pandamatenga farmers, who said the ban on the use of GMO’s resulted in lost opportunities as Botswana was unable to meet its annual maize demand.
“We have long pleaded with government to set up a framework that can facilitate the use of GMO’s. The ban has resulted in Botswana failing to satisfy its annual maize demand and importing around 10 000 metric tonnes per annum. We need to work around a framework that will address concerns like seed contamination,” one farmer said.
Currently farmer are not allowed to use GMOs maize seeds in Botswana, something which is proving to be counterproductive as far as food self-sufficiency is concerned. In response, Manake explained that government delayed the use of GMO’s because there was need to conduct extensive research to determine whether they could be harmful to the national crop and the environment.
On her visit to pandamatenga, Manake was accompanied by Assistant Minister of Investment Trade and Industry, Molebatsi Molebatsi as part of the one-government’s strategy that entails pooling national resources to improve the lives of citizens.
The two Ministers roped in key government departments and parastatals like LEA, BITC, CEDA, NDB, BAMB and SEZA on a tour of agriculture projects in Pandamatenga. When addressing farmers, Manake said the tour was aimed at reviewing government investment in agriculture and liaising with agro-producers to better understand their needs.
She said there was need for both Ministries to align strategies and jointly contribute to agriculture development. “Pooling government resources will facilitate co-operation and avoid duplication of roles,” she said.
For his part, Molebatsi said it was important for the two Ministries to work together to develop value chains in the agriculture sector and serve Batswana as a collective. “Agriculture needs trade to take produce to the market,” he said.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.