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Mbulawa states his case

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Mbulawa states his case

Maun West looks set for a close contest as three political heavy weights battle it out for the constituency.

D-day is fast approaching (just 19 days to go!) yet it remains uncertain who among Reaboka Mbulawa of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Dumelang Saleshando of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Mmolotsi Sebati of Alliance for Progressives (AP) will emerge victorious.

Both Saleshando and Sebati have already expressed themselves in this forum, outlining why they believe they are best suited for the job.

Mbulawa states his case
Dumelang Saleshando

This week, Mbulawa gets his chance and tells FRANCINAH BAAITSE-MMANA why he should be the chosen one.

After all the talk and hype, election day is fast approaching. How prepared are you?

I am ready as an athlete. We have done everything to the best of our abilities to wrap it up.

Even if the elections were today, we would go for it.

Are you not intimidated by working relations between former President, Ian Khama and your opponents in the UDC?

Not at all.

It is politics.

We all have our own support base and people thinking and believing in different ways.

I think that’s a huge mistake the said opponent will a lot from.

Let’s wait for elections and you will witness what we have been hearing in Maun West.

See how he can’t support hunting when the people have been consulted and spoken.

I think he is either compromised, signed a raw deal or just ignorant to the needs of the constituency!

And what are the needs of the constituency?

Fighting Foot and Mouth Disease, addressing issues of human wildlife conflict, tourism, drought, drying up of the Thamalakane River, water crisis, land matters and youth unemployment are top of my priority list.

How do you intend to tackle these issues differently to your opponents?

My strategy is honesty and the love that I give my constituency.

I don’t need anything else other than being genuine.

I see a lot of ingenuity.

Maun West is my home, my birthplace and my place of burial. That is how genuine it is!

But both your opponents are claiming the same!

One of my uncles is a Chief in Kubung and also Kgosi Tawana Moremi’s uncle.

My grandfather was the previous Chief in Komana where my mother comes from.

Boyei is where my grandfather Kurusa Samakiana came from.

Mabudutsa in Kgosing ward is where my grandmother Khwai was from and apparently she is the one who raised me in Komana from birth until I became what I am now.

I schooled in Ngamiland and have all my homes and businesses here and no other place.

Apparently I am going to be buried a great son of Maun West sometime in the future!

Interesting. Moving on, it is rumoured that you have been playing hide-and-seek with the former President, always avoiding meeting him. Apparently whenever Khama is in Maun you claim to be elsewhere?

That is not true.

I don’t have personal problems with him apart from our political differences.

The two last times he came into town, we met because he visited my lodge.

It is on record because I don’t have matters with the former President.

I fully support President Masisi and we are ready to win this coming October.

Mbulawa states his case
Sebati

If you should prove triumphant at the polls, what will be first on your agenda?

There is a lot to do in Maun West.

The drought is the most pressing matter right now.

We need boreholes for farmers from Toteng, Komana, Nxaraga, Xaraxau, Bojanala, Tsutsubega and many other areas.

We need to save the livelihoods by providing for livestock watering.

The constituency funding has most answers for those.

Are you saying you will channel the first batch of constituency funds exclusively for borehole drilling?

Of course, the priority goes to the pressure areas.

I spoke to the people and that’s what is at the top of their agenda.

I will engage the business community and also get involved physically to see this happen.

I have long been on community projects and I am not stating anything new, but rather a continuation of what I have been doing over the years.

How would you help resolve the existing human-elephant conflict?

I worked for the department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) as a manager.

I am trained in integrated strategic planning for control of elephants and veld fire.

I could be a big solution on government decisions to manage the human-wildlife conflict immediately.

We do need to put pressure on the elephants through controlled hunting, as well as pushing them back from villages systematically.

This has to be planned, robust and directed well within the existing statutory.

However, we have to completely overhaul the DWNP to be effectively geared towards such mandates.

So you believe hunting the animals would resolve the problem?

I am both militant and combatant.

I believe in lethal response, not that I am trigger-happy but I see that path as the only clear message to elephants.

An elephant is a robust thinker; it plans and outsmarts humans if left unchecked for a long time.

We need to take absolute control over the management of these species before it’s too late.

Care to add more?

I am here to serve and not to seek employment like my other opponents.

I am the servant of Maun West. Ke ne ke le teng (I was there), in good times and in bad times.

Maun West should trust only the BDP of Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi and Rre Mbulawa.

We are the only hope for Ngamiland alongside Kgosi Tawana Moremi.

Talking of ‘Ke ne ke le teng’, your opponents are using this phrase against you. They are deliberately misinterpreting it to say ‘o ne o le teng fa go senngwa’ (You were there during the looting). What’s your take on that?

I am talking about Maun West, perhaps they are talking about something else.

Ga go a senngwa sepe (Nothing was looted) from Maun West.

I was there when we were battling to addresses problems in this area, when we were fighting against lethobo, floods, water provision, farmer’s support, schools demands and communities while they were not even in the constituency.

One was in Gaborone Central while I was here.

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Elephant mortality in Okavango rises to 110, Anthrax ruled out

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Wildlife and National Parks department has ruled out Anthrax as a killer disease for elephants along some villages in the Okavango delta.

As of Friday last week, at least 110 dead elephants were discovered in areas of Seronga, Gunotsoga and Eretsha in the past three weeks and were suspected to have died from Anthrax.

However the Anthrax laboratory tests have come back negative, leaving the government departments searching for more answers. 

“Laboratory results have ruled out Anthrax and we are awaiting more results,” explained regional Wildlife coordinator in Maun, Dimakatso Ntshebe.

Ntshebe said his department through the help of veterinary department services are still conducting further tests to find out whether or not this mysterious disease is not a result of poisoning.

The disease according to Ntshebe causes the giant’s front legs to weaken and therefore the unwell animal walks in uncoordinated manner and ultimately drops to its death.

“We don’t know what could be the cause of this disease but we are working around the clock to find out and hopefully work on the cure,” added Ntshebe.

Some samples are to be sent to South Africa for further testing. “We could have taken other samples to the neighbouring Zimbabwe, but because of COVID-19 that brought everything to almost a standstill, we could not send them,” Ntshebe explained before adding that, “before coronavirus outbreak, Botswana and Zimbabwe were in talks and have entered into some agreements including exportation and importation of certain medications, but we have not yet concluded the matter regarding samples, that is why we have not been able to send samples to Zimbabwe.”

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SADC Executive Secretary disturbed by obstacles in movement of goods

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The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stegomena Lawrence Tax, has cautioned member states that any lack of cooperation among then during the COVID19 era has potential to reverse the gains made in the last decades.

Addressing a virtual SADC Council of Ministers meeting this week, Lawrence Tax said that the regional ministers approved Guidelines on Harmonization and Facilitation of Movement of Essential Goods and Services across borders early April. 

She said that whilst the guidelines have played a critical role in facilitation of movement of essential goods, there are notable obstacles that have been noted by the Secretariat.

The obstacles include non-compliance/non recognition of regional legal frameworks; uncoordinated operations at the port of entry among border agencies; lack of harmonization and synchronization of policies and procedures among, and between member states; unilateral decisions outside agreed framework; as well as different approaches to deal with epidemiological challenges,” she said. 

She added that; “all these are resulting in increased cost of doing business, and negatively affecting the implementation of national and regional programmes”.

She advised that there is need to have measures, and coordinated approach in place since the region is in a post lockdown period since the transportation of non-essential goods and services will be resuming.

Lawrence Tax added that COVID19 is a global pandemic and that the SADC regional approach should expand to COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite and eventually to other continental blocs.

“The Secretariat is already working with COMESA and EAC, specifically, in terms of harmonizing and synchronizing regulations and procedures for movement of goods and services under the Tripartite arrangement. We need to move in unison and avoid unilateral decisions, specifically with regards to cross border movement of goods and services,” she said.

According to the Executive Secretary, the regional office has already conducted a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID19 on the region and the results have shown that the pandemic will impact negatively across many socio and economic sectors.

“The decline in the global economy is projected to lead to a decline in commodity prices, increase in debt and significant contraction of the SADC economies in 2020. This will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years,” Lawrence Tax said.

On the flip side,  the region’s International Cooperating Partners have made pledges to mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic on its economy. 

“To date, the Secretariat has secured Euro 7.3 million from the German Government; Euro3.6million from European Union, Euro 190,000.00 under the GIZ/Africa Union Commission, whereas the African Development Bank (AfDB)  has considered a support UA 7 million. Engagements with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are also at an advanced stage,” the Executive Secretary said.

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