Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.
“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”
Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.
“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”
He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.
In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.
Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.
Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”
“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”
Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.
“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”
The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have taken their political wars to the High Court ahead of the 2024 general elections scheduled for next year.
In one corner, is the UDC and in another corner is the BDP and the BCP. This plays out in a case in which former North West District Council (NWDC) Council Chairperson, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho, and his deputy, Lekonne Masoko, who are members of the UDC are protesting their dismissal from office which was done through a vote of no confidence by councillors from BDP and BCP.
They were subsequently replaced by Itumeleng Kelebetseng of the BCP as Chairperson and Nico Folae of the BDP as Deputy Chairperson.
In his founding affidavit before Justice Reuben Lekorwe of the High Court, Ntsogotho prays for an Order reviewing and setting aside the Council’s decision to remove them from their position as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Council respectively in its special full council sitting of the 30th May 2023 and/or the 31st May 2023.
He argues that the said decision to remove them from their position as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the NWDC should be reviewed and set aside on the basis that it is invalid and unlawful.
Ntsogotho also wants the court to declare that the election and/or appointment of Kelebetseng and Folae as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the NWDC be set aside on the basis that it is invalid and unlawful.
He wants the court to order that they be reinstated to the position of Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson respectively with full rights and benefits that would have accrued but for their removal.
Providing a background of their ouster, Ntsogotho said nn the 25th May 2023 the Council’s Secretary issued a notice for special full council meeting to be held on the 30th May 2023. The said notice was issued pursuant to a request to convene a special full council meeting dated 19th May 2023 made by 20 ward councillors. The meeting was convened to discuss the following items: update on the water situation in Maun; update on the progress of the Maun General Hospital project.
A report on the first agenda item, “update on the progress of the Maun General Hospital project” was presented by an officer from the Department of Facilities Management.
“I gave Honourable Councillors an opportunity to deliberate on the said presentation. Honourable Ntlogelang Kebonyekgotla was the first member to take to the floor and instead of dealing with the said agenda item, he briefly pointed out certain aspects of the report and immediately moved a motion for removal of the 2nd Applicant (Masoko) and I from the offices of Vice Chairperson and Chairperson of the 1st Respondent respectively,” said Ntsogotho.
He said he warned Kebonyekgotla that he was now debating some other business which was not part of the agenda for the meeting of the 30th May 2023 and that was improper. He disregarded this advice and was supported by another member Moetetse Mogalakwe.
“I indicated that since they were insistent in proceeding with the removal motion, the second Applicant and I would step aside to allow the meeting to decide on the matter since we are conflicted. We did so and the House elected the 2nd Respondent (Folae) as an interim Chairperson,” said Ntsogotho.
He said before Folae assumed the said interim position, the Council Secretary warned the house that the issue pertaining “to our removal from office was a new item which was not on his notice of 25th May 2023 and therefore it was unlawful.”
Ntsogotho said after taking over, Folae ignored the advice and proceeded with the debate relating to our removal from office and ultimately a vote was conducted over our removal.
“20 members voted for our removal and 6 voted against our removal. My position in opposing the introduction of the removal of the 2nd Applicant and I from the office is that once a notice of a special full council meeting is issued with agenda items, at such a meeting, it shall not be permissible to discuss any other business or add other agenda items during the course of such a special full council meeting,” said Ntsogotho. He said the Special full council meeting lacks the competency to add the motion of no confidence on us such a move had the effect of adding other agenda items to the two that were contained in the notice of 25th May 2023.
“For this reason alone, if no other, the decision to remove us must be set aside. After our purported removal from office, the meeting was adjourned to 1530 hours for purposes of electing new Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson,” said Ntsogotho. He said at this stage, the meeting was still chaired by Folae.
“As a matter of fact, no election was held as the two were nominated unopposed and they were simply confirmed as such. The Second Applicant and I did not attend the afternoon session as we believed that the move to convene a sitting for election of new council leadership was clearly and awfully wrong,” said Ntsogotho.
He added that “ In the premises, whichever way one looks at it, there is no other way to classify the afternoon session except to say that it was a continuation of the morning special full council sitting and alternatively it was a special full council sitting called without due notice.”
Most of the incumbent Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lawmakers predict a demanding and challenging 2024 general elections, and as a result they are praying that the party leadership consider a selective primary elections model later this year.
Permanent Committees of the Pan African Parliament facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the OAU/AEC.
The PAP Permanent Committees roles were eloquently explained by the PAP President Hon. Chief Fortune Zephania Charumbira when giving a presentation on the mandate of the permanent committees of the PAP on Tuesday in Midrand, South Africa. Charumbira’s words of encouragement come on the backdrop of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) members are attending the PAP Permanent Committee meetings that started on March 5-9 in Midrand, South Africa.
The mandate of PAP is to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the economic development and integration of the continent, therefore the permanent committees provide oversight to ensure effective implementation of policies.
According to Charumbira, effective implementation will drive the Africa Agenda 2063, African Continental Free Trade Area, AU Shared Values, Flagship Projects such the Inga Dam Project, Single African Air Transport Market, among others; and further facilitate attainment of AU Theme of the Year: “The Year of AFCTFTA: Accelerating the AFCFTA Implementation”.
Relatedly, the objectives of the Pan-African Parliament promote the principles of human rights and democracy in Africa; encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in Member States; Promote peace, security and stability; Contribute to a more prosperous future for the peoples of Africa by promoting collective self-reliance and economic recovery; Facilitate cooperation and development in Africa; Strengthen Continental solidarity and build a sense of common destiny among the peoples of Africa; and Facilitate cooperation among Regional Economic Communities and their Parliamentary fora.
THE PAP PERMANENT COMMITTEES
(a) The Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment;
(b) The Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs;
(c) The Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters;
(d) The Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolutions;
(e) The Committee on Transport, Industry, Communications, Energy, Science and Technology;
(f) The Committee on Health, Labor and Social Affairs;
(g) The Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources;
(h) The Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability;
(i) The Committee on Justice and Human Rights;
(j) The Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline;
The Committees shall handle business that is ordinarily handled by the corresponding Specialized Technical Committee responsible to the Executive Council in accordance with Article 14 of the Constitutive Act.
SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMITTEES
As for the specific functions of the committees, the Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment amongst other functions: Considers the development of common regional and continental policies in agricultural sector; Assists the Parliament to oversee and assist with the harmonization of policies for rural and agricultural development; and promotes the development policy and the implementation of programs of the Union relating to natural resources and environment.
On the other hand, the Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs shall, amongst others: Examines the draft estimates of the Parliamentary budget and submit to Parliament; Discusses the budget of the Union and make appropriate recommendations; Examines and report to Parliament on the problems involved in the implementation of the annual budget; and Assists Parliament to execute its role of establishing sound economic, monetary and investment policies.
Meanwhile the Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters amongst other roles: Considers matters relating to development of sound policy for cross-border, regional and continental concerns within the areas of trade, customs and immigration; Assists the Parliament to oversee relevant organs or institutions and policies of the Union; and Helps the Parliament to oversee external trade.
The Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolutions shall, amongst others: Considers issues relating to the development of an efficient policy in matters of cooperation and international relations of the Parliament and the Union; Deals with the conventions and protocols linking the Parliament with regional and international institutions and report to the Parliament; Carries out examinations on the revision of Protocols and Treaties of the Union; Assists the Parliament in its efforts of conflict prevention and resolution.
The Committee on Transport, Industry, Communications, Energy, Science and Technology shall, amongst others: Considers issues relating to the development of transport and communications infrastructure; Assists Parliament to oversee the development and implementation of policies of the Union relating to transport, communication, science and technology and industry; Considers issues relating to the use of science and technology for the development of the Continent; Helps Parliament to supervise the development policies and the Union implementation programs for matters of industry, science, technology and energy.
The Committee on Health, Labor and Social Affairs deals with strategies and programs for the improvement of the lives of African peoples; Considers issues relating to regional and international cooperation in strategic planning and implementation of social development and health policies and programs.
The Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources shall, amongst others: Considers issues relating to the development of human resources in Member States;Assists Parliament to promote policy development and implementation of programs of the Union relating to access to education, promotion and preservation of culture and tourism and human resource development.
The Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability shall, amongst others: Considers issues relating to the promotion of gender equality; Assists