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Monday, 04 December 2023

Mzwinila fights back land allocation woes


The Minister of Lands and Water Affairs (MLWA), Dr. Kefentse Mzwinila recently briefed the media on changes brought by the rationalization of the Ministry as well as the re-enacted Tribal Land Act of 2018 and the Deeds Registry (Amendment) Act of 2017.

Matters relating to Land

Over the past several months, there has been an influx of invites to applicants by land boards across the country for consideration of their residential plot allocations, this is in line with the ambitious target the ministry has set to have allocated 100 000 residential plots by the end of this financial year.

What we are going of great importance is implementing the re-enacted Tribal Land Act of 2018 and the Deeds Registry (Amendment) Act of 2017. The act was passed by parliament in 2017, however, the national consultative process began in 2015 whereby all stakeholders were informed and they advised on the matter.

Mzwinila went on that We delayed its commencement because we needed to get some things right, it was supposed to commence in 2018. The cornerstone of the implantation rests upon there being the ability to issue secure land tittles. For the ministry to issue secure land tittles, the ministry needed the Land Administration Procedures, Capacity Building and System (LAPCAS) which is essential for finetuning the ministrys operations and digitization of services. This move is said to be aimed at reducing fraud, corruption and forgery in land ownership.

The new Tribal Land Act is basically addressing some of the concerns raised by Batswana. Some of the benefits of the new Act is that the land one owns will be surveyed, registered and will have enhanced security features. Land owners will also now be able to source funds from financial institutions using their land as security. Tribal Land title holders will now receive compensation equivalent to its market value for their land bought by government.

The cherry on top is that tribal land owners no longer have to pay for private land survey and title deed application, whose fees run into several thousands of Pula, all complete documents will be fully paid for by the government.

There has however been an uproar on the newly introduced land application fees, land registration and land transfer requests. Mzwinila highlighted that the fees are a cost recovery measure on the governments side. As well as a means to deter people from transferring land unnecessarily or selling it. It is a motivation for landowners to utilize the land they have.

Delayed plot allocation has also been an issue with land boards and the ministry is working towards speeding up the process. Mzwinila revealed that; the delay is attributed to both seen and unseen expenses. Among them being the back and forth negotiations on how much land can be sold and bought for.

The other expense is the government having to buy land due to the fact that the allocated area of residential land has been used up, therefore, residential plots are now encroaching on farming lands, once the farming lands are all used up, the land boards move to land allocated to cattle posts and eventually wildlife area. When asked by WeekendPost on how MLWA is working in conjunction with other ministries such as that of environment and tourism to sustainably develop land without invading on land meant for wildlife.

Mzwinila enunciated that; the issue of land is complex and has the potential to cause great instability if not handled delicately and sensitively. On one hand it is important to understand that those who own their cattle posts or ranches also have a similar expectation for land boards to create more cattle posts for expansion. As we do this, we move into wildlife management areas.

At the same time environmentally, we cannot be seen to be reducing the land that has been allocated to tourism and wildlife because wildlife is on of our top income revenue generators as a country. This country is also environmentally proactive, so I can not give you an answer saying that we are going to reduce wildlife management areas buy increasing cattle posts.

It is a consultative process with the people in the area about their views on what form of plots do they want increased. Once there is consensus on whether to increase or reduce land allocated to wildlife, we act accordingly.

To also accelerate the process of land allocations, the minister explained that they are still combing through waiting lists after the realization that most people who are on the list already have land which goes against their policy of allocating 1 person with at least 1 plot in tribal land and 1 plot in state land.

Water issues

The Minister also touched on projects carried out by his Ministry through the Water Utilities Corporation. Among them; completion of water treatment plants, water substations and water pipe lines across the country. He explained that this is to provide Batswana with safe and reliable water.

We are in the process of finalizing the Glen Valley waste water reclamation project which is a project that will see us having our first waste water reclamation plant; taking sewage water and transforming it to drinking water. our neighbors are doing it successfully, South Africa and Namibia. Our long-term water security goal rests on us being able to recycle water or it from out side the country such as from the Atlantic Ocean through Namibia or from the Lesotho highlands through south Africa. said Mzwinila.

Water Utilities Corporation high water bills are still a problem. The minister highlighted that the problem is to addressed through the introduction of smart meters. World Bank funded projects are also said to be underway after receiving instruction to fast track the projects.

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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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