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Govt acquire Okavango land for Masisi’s visitors

President Masisi & Morwaeng

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, Khumotaka’s 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, “I’m required, as I hereby do, to notify North West District Council of His Excellency’s 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 Mzwinila’s 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.”


Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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