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Murder accused mum weeps for her kids

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A young mother accused of conniving with her baby daddy to kill their 18-month-old son back in August 2016, wept hysterically when she learnt court were sending three of her other children to SOS Village in Tlokweng.

27-year-old Keamogestse Mmuso and her boyfriend, ThulaniMoyo, 28, are both facing a murder charge over the toddler’s death.

The couple took their unconscious son to Kopong Clinic, where upon examination nurses noticed marks of strangulation and scars on the baby’s face and ears.

The child was later confirmed dead by a doctor and the parents were arrested by the police and charged with murder.

Mmuso and her lover have been behind bars awaiting trial ever since.She was pregnant at the time of her arrest and went on to give birth in jail.

Appearing before Molepolole Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Mmuso was unable to control her emotions and cried throughout the proceedings. Indeed, she was so upset she struggled to speak.

Her tears and silence infuriated an unmoved Principal Magistrate, Kefilwe Resheng, who barked, “You do not want to talk to me, you are playing with tears. Are you aware that you are facing a capital offence with a capital sentence?”

The Magistrate’s rebuke prompted Mmuso to her feet, with the accused killer at last finding her voice, albeit shakily, and responding, “Nnake a tsamaya, a mpuisajaana, (I am going, you can’t talk to me this way).”

Instead, her councillor held her tightly and advised Mmuso to sit down and listen to the Magistrate.

The Lentsweletau lady then sobbed silently as Magistrate Resheng revealed her children were being sent into care.

The three kids – aged six, four and 18 months – had been staying with a foster parent in Molepolole’s Goo-Ntloedibe ward.

However, the 67-year-old lady who had been looking after the children recently informed social welfare officers she was unable to continue caring for them due to her deteriorating health.

Court ruled that Mmuso be escorted from prison to visit her children at SOS once a month.

It was also heard that the suspect has another son, aged eight – living with a different foster family.

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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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