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Friday, 01 December 2023

Govt acquire Okavango land for Masisis visitors


President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and his office (the Office of the President) have literally thrown the Directorate of Intelligence and Services (DIS) under the proverbial bus as they distanced themselves from the decision to apply for detribalization of a prime piece of land in the pristine Okavango Delta and instead implicated the latter.

The Minister responsible for the presidency Kabo Morwaeng, under whose portfolio the DIS falls, revealed this when responding to a question in Parliament on Friday. Initially, via press releases from the government enclave the public had been made to believe that the Office of the President was the one which was behind the detrabilisation of the piece of land in the Okavango Delta and not one of the government departments that falls under it. Under normal circumstances, a department has to take responsibility for all administrative issues and not the parent Ministry as it has to be held accountable for its actions and not its parent ministry.

But Morwaeng told Parliament on Friday that, the Government has not prioritized participation of the Office of the President in tourism. The recent detribalization of the of a portion of a portion of Moremi Game Reserve (NG/28) and (NG/21) in the Okavango Delta was facilitated by the Directorate of Intelligence Services for state purposes, more particularly, specialized us by VVIPS (Very Very Important Persons).

Saleshando had asked Morwaeng to among others state all the ventures to be undertaken by the Office of the President that have been under the National Development Plan and state also all the land parcels held by the Office of the President for the development of tourism related projects, why Government has prioritized participation of the Office of the President participation in tourism that compete directly with the private sector an undermine the privatization policy and ahead pf of private citizens who have interest to invest in the sector. .

In fact, the acquisition of the piece of land in question has been controversial. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation, Bonolo Khumotaka had to retract her own press release that she had issued on 17th June 2021, citing some fresh amendments.

The release stated that. The following amendments are made to correct the statement as it relates to the consultations mad with the District Leadership. On the 11th May 2021, there was a meeting held between Tawana Landboard Secretary, and the North West District Council Chairman with the North West District Council Executive. Khumotaka added that, A similar meeting was also held with the Batawana Regent, Kgosi Kealetile with some Dikgosi on the 28th May 2021. The Ministry apologizes and the error is regretted, Khumotaka wrote.

In the 17th savingram, Khumotaka had stated that, acquisition of land in the by the State in the Okavangi Delta in terms of Section 32 of the Tribal Land Act, The Tribal Land Act Cap 32 (I) states, If the President determines that it is is in the public interest that any piece of land the ownership of which was in a Land Board under Section 10 should be acquired by the State, the Minister hall serve notice on the Land Board and District Council and request that such be granted to the state, and the Land Board may then having the views of the District Council on the matter, grant such land to the state

Khumotaka further stated that, therefore it is in in line with the law for the Government to acquire portions of Tribal Land that covers a portion of Moremi Game Reserve (NG/28) and NG/21 in the Okavango Delta, for the benefit of the public.

In what some observers have described as an own goal, at no stage did the government mention DIS in the correspondences or VVIP. Instead, Khumotakas initial savingram stated that, The piece of land in question is being acquired for the establishment of a secure state/government facility for tourism purposes. He also added that, In doing so , the acquisition of ensures that the current land use of the area is not conflicted with or adversely affected. According to Khumotaka, This is not the first time that Government would not be converting Tribal Land to State or vice versa.

Mining towns are examples of tribal land which has been detribalized for public interest. In addition , some farms have also been detribalized for direct administration and management by Government. In a savingram dated 9th April 2021, addressed to the North West District Council Secretary, the Minister responsible for land, arak was founded by Jean Craven and du Plessis in 2008.

The firm launched its flagship Structured Trade Finance Fund with $300,000 in 2009. The fund, which grew to manage in excess of $1 billion by 2018, offers working-capital financing and other loans to African companies. Mzwinila had stated that, His Excellency the President, exercise of his powers under Section 32 of the Tribal land Act has determined that a portion of Moremi Game Reserve (NG/28 ) and (NG/21 as depicted in the attached diagram. The resultant area gives a total of about 22,0292 Hectares.

He also added that pursuant to Section 32 of the Tribal Land Act, Cap: 32:02, Im required, as I hereby do, to notify North West District Council of His Excellencys intention to acquire the above-mentioned parcel of land to the State. Mzwinila also stated that Masisi had determined that the land be acquired in the public interest. It is understood that even before Mzwinilas ink had dried up, some councillors went for the jugular as they called for the minister to explain what he meant that the land had been acquired, in the public interest.


19 Bokamoso Private Hospital nurses graduate at Lenmed Nursing College

28th November 2023

The graduation of 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College marks a significant milestone in their careers. These nurses have successfully completed various short learning programs, including Adult Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Nursing Care, Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing, Anaesthetic Nursing, and Recovery Room Nursing. The ceremony, held in Gaborone, was a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Lenmed Nursing College, a renowned healthcare group with a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana, has been instrumental in providing quality education and training to healthcare professionals. The Group Head of Operations, Jayesh Parshotam, emphasized the importance of upskilling nurses, who are at the forefront of healthcare systems. He also expressed his appreciation for the partnerships with Bokamoso Private Hospital, the Ministry of Health, and various health training institutes in Botswana.

Dr. Morrison Sinvula, a consultant from the Ministry of Health, commended Lenmed Health and Lenmed Nursing College for their commitment to the education and training of these exceptional nurses. He acknowledged their guidance, mentorship, and support in shaping the nurses’ careers and ensuring their success. Dr. Sinvula also reminded the graduates that education does not end here, as the field of healthcare is constantly evolving. He encouraged them to remain committed to lifelong learning and professional development, embracing new technologies and staying updated with the latest medical advancements.

Dr. Gontle Moleele, the Superintendent of Bokamoso Private Hospital, expressed her excitement and pride in the graduating class of 2023. She acknowledged the sacrifices made by these individuals, who have families and responsibilities, to ensure their graduation. Dr. Moleele also thanked Lenmed Nursing College for providing this opportunity to the hospital’s nurses, as it will contribute to the growth of the hospital.

The certificate recipients from Bokamoso Private Hospital were recognized for their outstanding achievements in their respective programs. Those who received the Cum Laude distinction in the Adult Intensive Care Unit program were Elton Keatlholwetse, Lebogang Kgokgonyane, Galaletsang Melamu, Pinkie Mokgosi, Ofentse Seboletswe, Gorata Basupi, Bareng Mosala, and Justice Senyarelo. In the Emergency Nursing Care program, Atlanang Moilwa, Bakwena Moilwa, Nathan Nhiwathiwa, Mogakolodi Lesarwe, Modisaotsile Thomas, and Lorato Matenje received the Cum Laude distinction. Kelebogile Dubula and Gaolatlhe Sentshwaraganye achieved Cum Laude in the Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing program, while Keletso Basele excelled in the Anaesthetic Nursing program. Mompoloki Mokwaledi received recognition for completing the Recovery Room Nursing program.

In conclusion, the graduation of these 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College is a testament to their dedication and commitment to their profession. They have successfully completed various short learning programs, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields. The collaboration between Lenmed Nursing College, Bokamoso Private Hospital, and the Ministry of Health has played a crucial role in their success. As they embark on their careers, these nurses are encouraged to continue their professional development and embrace new advancements in healthcare.

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BNF secures 15 constituencies in UDC coalition, wants more

28th November 2023

The Botswana National Front (BNF) has recently announced that they have already secured 15 constituencies in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, despite ongoing negotiations. This revelation comes as the BNF expresses its dissatisfaction with the current government and its leadership.

The UDC, which is comprised of the BNF, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Alliance for Progressives (AP), and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), is preparing for the upcoming General Elections. However, the negotiations to allocate constituencies among the involved parties are still underway. Despite this, the BNF Chairman, Patrick Molotsi, confidently stated that they have already acquired 15 constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally.

Molotsi’s statement reflects the BNF’s long-standing presence in many constituencies across Botswana. With a strong foothold in these areas, it is only natural for the BNF to seek an increase in the number of constituencies they represent. This move not only strengthens their position within the UDC coalition but also demonstrates their commitment to serving the interests of the people.

In a press conference, BNF Secretary General, Ketlhafile Motshegwa, expressed his discontent with the current government leadership. He criticized the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for what he perceives as a disregard for the well-being of the Batswana people. Motshegwa highlighted issues such as high unemployment rates and shortages of essential medicines as evidence of the government’s failure to address the needs of its citizens.

The BNF’s dissatisfaction with the current government is a reflection of the growing discontent among the population. The Batswana people are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the failure to address pressing issues. The BNF’s assertion that the government is playing with the lives of its citizens resonates with many who feel neglected and unheard.

The BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, even before the negotiations have concluded, is a testament to their popularity and support among the people. It is a clear indication that the Batswana people are ready for change and are looking to the BNF to provide the leadership they desire.

As the negotiations continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the interests of the people. The allocation of constituencies should be done in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that the voices of all citizens are represented. The BNF’s success in securing constituencies should serve as a reminder to the other parties of the need to listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people they aim to represent.

In conclusion, the BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, despite ongoing negotiations, highlights their strong presence and support among the Batswana people. Their dissatisfaction with the current government leadership reflects the growing discontent in the country. As the UDC coalition prepares for the upcoming General Elections, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize the needs and aspirations of the people. The BNF’s success should serve as a reminder of the importance of listening to the voices of the citizens and working towards a better future for Botswana.








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Children’s summit to discuss funding of NGOS

21st November 2023

One of the key issues that will be discussed by the Childrens’ Summit, which will be hosted by Childline Botswana Trust on 28th – 30th November in Gaborone, will be the topical issue of financing and strengthening of civil society organizations.

A statement from Childline Botswana indicates that the summit will adopt a road map for resourcing the children’s agenda by funding organizations. It will also cover issues relating to child welfare and protection; aimed at mobilizing governments to further strengthen Child Helplines; as well as sharing of emerging technologies to enhance the protection of Children and promotion of their rights.

According to Gaone Chepete, Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement towards promoting practices and policies that fulfil children’s rights and welfare.

“Child Helplines in the region meet on a bi-annual basis to reflect on the state of children; evaluate their contribution and share experiences and best practice in the provision of services for children,” said Chepete.

The financing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the state or its functionaries has generated mixed reactions from within the civil society space, with many arguing that it threatened NGOs activism and operational independence.

In February 2019, University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo released a paper titled “State philanthropy: The demise of charitable organizations in Botswana,” in which he faulted then President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama for using charity for political convenience and annexing the operational space of NGOs.

“Civil society is the domain in which individuals can exercise their rights as citizens and set limits to the power of the state. The state should be developing capable voluntary organizations rather than emaciating or colonizing them by usurping their space,” argued Dipholo.

He further argued that direct involvement of the state or state president in charity breeds unhealthy competition between the state itself and other organizations involved in charity. Under these circumstances, he added, the state will use charity work to remain relevant to the ordinary people and enhance its visibility at the expense of NGOs.

“A consequence of this arrangement is that charitable organizations will become affiliates of the state. This stifles innovation in the sense that it narrows the ability of charitable organizations to think outside the box. It also promotes mono-culturalism, as the state could support only charitable organizations that abide by its wishes,” said Dipholo.

In conclusion, Dipholo urged the state to focus on supporting NGOs so that they operate in a system that combines philanthropic work and state welfare programs.

He added that state philanthropy threatens to relegate and render charitable organizations virtually irrelevant and redundant unless they re-engineer themselves.

Another University of Botswana (UB) academic, Professor Zibani Maundeni, opined that politics vitally shape civil society interaction; as seen in the interactions between the two, where there is mutual criticism in each other’s presence.

Over the years, NGOs have found themselves grappling with dwindling financial resources as donors ran out of money in the face of increased competition for financing. Many NGOs have also been faulted for poorly managing their finances because of limited strategic planning and financial management expertise. This drove NGOs to look to government for funding; which fundamentally altered the relationships between the two. The end result was a complete change in the operational culture of NGOs, which diminished their social impact and made them even more fragile. Increased government control through contract clauses also reduced NGOs activism and autonomy.

However, others believe that NGOs and government need each other, especially in the provision of essential services like child welfare and protection. Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele said government considers NGOs as critical partners in development.

“We recognize the role that NGOs play a critical role in the country’s development agenda,” said Modukanele.

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