28 Feb 2017
Sold yesterday a fine analogous camera with several lenses. The supply of these camera’s is large, but the demand small, so unfortunately it did not fetch as much as it was worth.
27 Feb 2017
Sunday Standard announced: “Amnesty International slams Botswana’s human rights record.
Botswana’s human rights record has been flagged due to the arrests of journalists and police harassment and brutality, a report by Amnesty International shows. The 2016/17 report by the international human rights body added its weight against the sedition charges faced by Sunday Standard editor Outsa Mokone, the arrest of journalist Sonny Serite and police brutality meted out to jobless peaceful demonstrators in front of Parliament. According to the report the rights to freedom of expression has been restricted. The report states that the Whistle Blower Act, which provided no protection to whistleblowers who contacted the media, came into effect on 16 December last year. The report further states that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly has also been curtailed, adding that police harassment and brutality reigns in the country. This puts Botswana in second place among African countries that lead in police harassment in the continent. Other countries are Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia which also recorded cases of police harassment and deaths. The report states that in June, youth activist Tlamelo Tsurupe was arrested and held briefly after protesting against youth unemployment in front of parliament and refusing to move. He subsequently launched #Unemployment Movement. In July, the movement applied for a permit to protest but this was rejected, the report says. Despite this, the report says, the group protested outside parliament. “They were beaten by police and four were arrested and held overnight at Central Police Station on charges of “common nuisance”” says the report. It added that “Two of the four needed medical assistance. The police also arrested three journalists covering the protest and forced them to hand over video footage of the protest.” The report also highlighted some disturbing incidents of sexual abuse of women and girls in the country. It says a councillor of the city of Sebina was accused of molesting and impregnating a 16-year-old girl. According to the report, a case of defilement could not be brought against him because the Penal Code defines defilement as a sexual act with a child aged under 16. “No disciplinary action was known to have been taken by the councillor’s political party, the Botswana Democratic Party,” reads the report. Touching on the right to health, the report says the government has closed without warning or consultation the BCL and Tati Nickel mines. “The sudden closures threatened anti-retroviral therapy treatment and counselling services for mineworkers living with HIV/AIDS as the government failed to make alternative health care provisions. It also left over 4,700 mineworkers uncertain about their retrenchment benefits,” reads the report.
The encampment policy, which restricts refugees to the Dukwi camp, 547km from the capital Gaborone, the report says, continued to limit refugees’ freedom of movement. It says the government announced that it had revoked the refugee status of Namibians from 31 December 2015, even though Namibians who had fled conflict in the Caprivi region of Namibia in 1998 still faced persecution there. The report notes that refugees who returned to Namibia in late 2015 were convicted of charges ranging from high treason to illegally exiting Namibia. Later in January 2016, the Botswana High Court ruled that Namibian refugees should not be repatriated until a legal case brought against the revocation order had been decided. The High Court judgment was upheld on appeal in March. On death penalty, the report says Patrick Gabaakanye was executed for a murder committed in 2014. “This brought to 49 the total number of people executed since independence in 1966. Executions were conducted in secret. Families were given no notice and were denied access to the burial site,” states the report.
26 Feb 2017
Mmegi announced: “Government to transfer students from unaccredited tertiary institutions. The Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Alfred Madigele says institutions that offer unaccredited programmes after the expiry of a six month deadline will have their students transferred to those who are accredited. Madigele’s comments follow recent protests by students at Botho University and Ba Isago University against unaccredited courses offered by the institutions. Last year, New Era University College students took to the public complaining about unaccredited courses. A large number of students are presently roaming the streets without jobs, after being sponsored for and qualifying under unaccredited courses that employers do not recognize, the protesting learners said. In an interview with Mmegi, Madigele said government had since passed new regulations and given institutions six month’s notice to comply.Out of the 300 programmes currently offered by education training providers, only 64 have been fully accredited. “We have given institutions six months notice. If they don’t comply for any particular programme, the students will be taken out to other schools that offer the same course. There will be heavy fines and even imprisonment for non-compliant institutions. Accreditation is a very important matter of quality assurance.” (Summary of the original article.)
Mmegi also announced: ”Recent rains exposed our vulnerability. This year’s rainy season will be remembered for many years to come, not because of its association with a certain Dineo, but for the fact that Gaborone Dam may reach its full capacity after almost a decade of poor rainfall. The rainy season follows over half a decade of low rainfall and high temperatures that resulted in deaths of hundreds of our livestock, low harvest, strange livestock diseases, decrease in wildlife population and land degradation amongst others. This is the year that will be recorded among memorable events such as Nako ya mabele a mantshonyana, and others. However, this week’s heavy rains in the southern part of the country have exposed the weaknesses of our infrastructure in terms of roads and bridges. One example is the Nnywane Bridge that connects Lobatse and Otse, which has been in a bad
state for the last 10 years. The bridge had become so dangerous that authorities had erected 60km speed limit road signs less than 100 meters before the bridge. The Lobatse-Gaborone road is part of the A1 and a very busy road that does not only connect two towns, but is also a link between Botswana and the North West and Gauteng provinces in South Africa. Thousands of motorists use the road on a daily basis to travel between the two countries, as well as transport of tonnes of goods into Botswana and beyond. The road was built about five decades ago and obviously has been affected by changes such as widening of the river and other natural factors. The Ramotswa-Gaborone road, for which the link is the Taung Bridge, is another example of a very important road that has been neglected for many years. As you read this article, hundreds and perhaps thousands of people are still stuck in Ramotswa and cannot travel to Gaborone because of flooding. Of course the amount of rainfall we received this year is rare and only came after 15 or more years, but we can learn from them. The Nnywane Bridge should have long been repaired or replaced with a much higher bridge considering the importance of the A1 road to the country’s economy and the heavy traffic comprising of long distance haulers that use it on daily basis. We should also consider building alternative routes for many of our highways to decongest our roads as well as prepare for future disasters such as the one we are facing. The more we develop our infrastructure the more we will attract investors who will create jobs for us. Otherwise, we will remain in one position for many years when we could be moving forward at a faster rate. Today’s thought: States get to improve transportation infrastructure; that creates economic development, puts people back to work and, most important, enhances safety and improves local communities.
- Corrine Brown
25 Feb 2017
I have placed the report of 19 September 2016 on the website.
24 Feb 2017
23 Feb 2017
Entered the report of 18 September 2017 on the website.
Rain and storm went over the southern district of Botswana since Sunday. Parts of roads and bridges collapsed. From a picture of a bridge I noticed that the road surface is not sturdy. A Botswana railways goods train traveling from Mafikeng to Botswana derailed on Monday due to the heavy rains. The track was seriously damaged. The passengers were taken to the hospital, but no one was detained.
Yesterday I sent an email to the Netherlands Information Service, to ask if The Netherlands is supporting the “kill to shoot” anti-poaching policy. Information came that the answer would come within 2 days. This morning they let me know they had sent it on to the department of Economic Affairs, Public Questions Citizens Correspondence. This department answered that they had sent it on to the Agricultural Animals and Animal Welfare Department. It would take 30 days to get an answer. I explained to them it were not animals who were being shot at, but people. Their answer was, yes, they had not read the mail properly, and had now returned it to the Netherlands Information Service with the request to send it to the Home Affairs Department. I have explained that if Botswana was part of The Netherlands, that would be ok, but as it is not, I thought Foreign Affairs might be better. The answer was that Home Affairs was a typing mistake, it was Foreign Affairs.
22 Feb 2017
Sunday Standard announced: “Shoot to kill” anti-poaching policy is here to stay” according to Tshekedi Khama. The Botswana government has vowed to maintain their stance on “Shoot to Kill” policy as China joins war on anti-poaching. This was said by Minister for Environment, Wildlife and Tourism , Tshekedi Khama in an interview after receiving a donation of over a P17 million worth of anti-poaching equipment from the Chinese Embassy. Khama stated that there has been an outcry among the international communities about the shoot to kill policy, while countries fail to come on board through viable options. He stated that currently China and the Netherlands are the only two countries that have supported the anti-poaching initiatives aimed at protecting wildlife species such as elephants targeted by criminals for ivory. End of quotation.
“Shoot to kill” is not only inhumane. 1. It endangers the Bushmen who are allowed to “hunt for the pot”, but are frequently harassed, shot at and/ or arrested for doing so. 2. There are villages in Botswana where elephants destroy property and endanger people’s lives. 3. When poachers are shot dead, it cannot be discovered for whom the poachers killed the animals. Mmegi announced that former President Festus Mogae, who is also Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BIUST) Chancellor, has donated P1 million to the Chancellor’s Prize for best overall student. Mogae revealed the prize at the inaugural BIUST graduation ceremony held on Saturday. He said the prize will be administered by the BIUST vice chancellor and will be shared evenly at the price of P20.000 per occasion for 50 years.
21 Feb 2017
It looks like new scapegoats have been found for the recent unrest at the University Botswana. The Sunday Standard reports: "UB burned when vice Chancellor was away.” To make a longs story short, it was unclear who was chancellor of the university at that moment, people who might have stepped in were not allowed because of UB regulations, one person was ill and another one in South Africa. I wonder how these people are going to defend themselves. Finding other scape goats?
Mmegi announced that a man has been sentenced in court with seven strokes. What his crime had been was not clear from the long and confusing report.
20 Feb 2017
Mmegi announced that Gem Diamonds 16 February has decided to close the Ghaghoo mine in the CKGR for some time. The mine will be put under care and maintenance. This was due to depressed diamond prices. The mine employs 298 workers including contractors and according to Gem Diamond’s manager Mphusu all but between 30 and 40 workers will have their contracts terminated. In what could be an indication of a gloomy outlook for the mine, Mphusu does not see any improvement in prices of the kind of diamonds mined at Ghaghoo in the near future. “We anticipate that the mine will be closed for about two years, but if there is an improvement in diamond prices before that, the better for us,” Mphusu said. Care and maintenance are expected to cost about $3 million per year. End of quotation.
At least 30 or 40 workers will keep their job. But how many of those are Batswana, and how many of these are inhabitants of the CKGR?
19 Feb 2017
18 Feb 2017
Finished a pair of socks and sold them.
Teachers at primary and secondary schools are compulsory being trained to discover which pupils in their class use drugs. I wonder wat is going to be done with this information. Hopefully to find out why they use drugs.
17 Feb 2017
Several sources announced that President Trump had signed a visa free policy for citizens in Botswana, other countries in Africa and and Asia. It was not true.
Mmegi announced that the Minister of Tertiary Education Madigele announced that the University Botswana will reopen on 6 March. He blamed the universities for not on time complying with the required submitting of students’ academic results and registers to enable the Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF) to process allowances. “The normal process is that before a student can be given an allowance, the institution where he or she is studying should have submitted information to the (DTEF) on that student’s status at the beginning of the semester,” he said. “It would not be advisable to continue paying allowances when there is no evidence from the institutions that students are active as this can only lead to the phenomenon known as ‘ghost students’. “Unfortunately, most institutions failed to comply with this requirement and consequently students’ allowances were not paid on time. ”I vow to leave “no stone unturned to find and discipline those who are at fault”, Madigele said, End of quotation. I wonder who will be blamed by the UB and other institutions for not being able to supply the information on time.
Mmegi has learnt that the tropical cyclone Dineo will bring heavy rains up to 100 millimetres in 24 hours, as well as possible floods in the North East, Central and Gantsi districts starting on Friday, 17 February, as Dineo bursts in to the region from the Indian Ocean.
16 Feb 2017
One of the students who got arrested for stealing an overall told Mmegi that after she had been ordered off the campus she realized she had left her medication behind. With some difficulty she managed to return through a gate. She collected her medication and got arrested. As she is not allowed to eat starch because of her illness, she fainted and was taken to the hospital. She had been violated by male police officers because they did not believe she was a woman. The student’s lawyer will ask a human rights organization for advice on a follow up procedure.
15 Feb 2017
After President Ian Khama some time ago realized that kicking the ball into one’s own goal is not a good idea (depicted in a cartoon, Mmegi 16 December 2016) he now has started to play panic football. And that while there is already much unrest in Botswana. His reaction to the announcement that in 2014 the combined opposition votes could have taken over the government is that he believes otherwise. He says the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) “does not have what it takes to unseat his party.” This is an emotional conclusion and has nothing to do with statistics. No doubt he wants the best for Botswana, but in a democracy the voters decide who best can take lead and take care of the well-being of all the country’s citizens. What the Honorable President is doing is tackling the UDC by getting involved in an internal issue of this party, thus using the “divide and rule” method. Many years ago someone said: “Do not strive for high offices, but invest in gaining the knowledge to be able to hold the office.” I would like to add: “For the people already in office, continue to collect knowledge in order to stay in office.”
On another subject: How narrow minded can one get. Two students were charged in court for stealing one blue overall each from the University of Botswana, worth Pula 200 each. They were released on a combined bail of Pula 1000. The report does not mention if it has been checked whether they had really stolen it, or borrowed, been given, or that it was a misunderstanding. What a fuss, while no one appears to be taking to court the people responsible for not paying allowances to the students. The President put his boot also into this dispute. During his speech at the opening of the Botswana Democratic Party National Youth League Congress he condemned the acts by University of Botswana students. “They are ill mannered, what they did is unpatriotic. If they have concerns they can always talk to us and not destroy property,” he said. Again, he does not know what he is talking about.
The Botswana National Front stood up for the students. Hopefully the President has read their article and might now understand why the patience of the students had run out. He could show that his party is worth of ruling in Parliament again in 2019 by solving the problems at the UB, and also the food shortage and other problems of students all over the country. So they can concentrate on their study instead of the lack of study materials and their rumbling stomachs.
14 Feb 2017
One of the students who got arrested for stealing an overall told Mmegi that after she had been ordered off the campus she realized she had left her medication behind. She went back to collect it and got arrested. As she is not allowed to eat starch because of her illness, she fainted and was taken to the hospital. She had been violated by male police officers because they did not believe she was a woman. The student’s lawyer will ask a human rights organization for advice on a follow up procedure.
13 Feb 2017
Mmegi announced: “Someone must shoulder the blame for University Botswana (UB) strike. It is common cause that the UB main campus closed yesterday until further notice. The UB management instructed the students to vacate the campus by 13:00 hours, in case of failure the police would intervene with batons and tear gas. The UB strike every beginning of the year is well documented. The issue is always the same and government and the UB leadership do not learn from past experiences. The Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF) is always at the centre of this problem. And every time the students take blame. We do not condone nor encourage what took place on Wednesday afternoon when the students went on a rampage vandalising private and government property. This was after their plea to be paid their monthly allowance fell on deaf ears. They wasted valuable academic hours appealing to their elders at the DTEF and the Thabo Fako led institution to come to their rescue. Nobody helped them and they resorted to violence so that they could get attention. And the strategy worked. Like we said we do not condone violence and in this case UB management and DTEF have also violated the affected students by not paying them their allowance well on time. Violence begets violence and both the students and management violated each other in this particular case. We could not be pointing fingers if all the parties respected their obligations to stick to what is entailed in the contracts. The students are made to suffer because some people at DTEF and UB failed to perform their duties. Because of this financial hardship some students were thrown out of their rented houses in Gaborone and the peripheries. Some were forced to attend classes with empty stomachs. How they are supposed to concentrate and write exams in this state boggles the mind. Meanwhile the UB management and DTEF staff were paid their monthly salaries while the students were short-charged. We should not blame the students because the government is facing serious financial problems. That is not their issue. Today it might be UB students and tomorrow the issue will resurface at other private universities because of poor planning and thuggery on the part of DTEF. We call upon the DTEF and UB management to resolve the issue of allowance once and for all. We are tired of this issue persisting every year.
12 Feb 2017
The report of 16 September 2016 has been placed on our website.
11 Feb 2017
In case it has not been mentioned, the report of 15 September 2016 has been placed on our website.
10 Feb 2017
Mmegi announced yesterday that University of Botswana students had put up a demonstration for not receiving their monthly allowances. Last payment had been done beginning December 2016. An angry student told: “How do they expect us to pay rent and come to school on empty stomach because most of us depend on these allowances? Some of us have been kicked out of our rented houses because we did not pay rent.” The UB Student Representative Council (SRC) acting president, Dikosha Dikosha blamed the demonstrations on the university management. Dikosha explained that when the SRC was trying to resolve the allowances issue, the students were busy preparing themselves for a demonstration. He further blamed the University’s executive management. “We requested intervention from the Ministry. We asked them to address the students about their monthly allowances. We asked them to assure the students that they will get their allowances, but nothing was done,” he said. The angry students removed a piece of art on the campus, a zebra, which according to the students had been erected during the BOT50 celebrations and were a waste. They said the money could have been saved for their monthly allowances. The students later burnt the zebra in front of the school gate.
Today Mmegi announced that the university yesterday at 1 pm was closed and that students, inclusive the chairman Dikosha had been threatened by the police and arrested, and without charge released. Some students had been beaten with a sjambok. A number of students announced they had been paid their allowance. Although the Botswana Democratic Party was in sympathy with the students, having burned the zebra and the Botswana flag was an act which could not remain unpunished. The culprits who had been involved with this disrespectful way of treating national Botswana property certainly will be punished.
9 Feb 2017
8 Feb 2017
Mmegi published: Gloomy outlook for Ghaghoo mine. In the first quarter of 2017 a decision will be made about its current financial viability, as an immediate improvement of the diamond price is not in sight. During the last quarter of 2016 the price of these diamonds had gone down by 30% at the London Stock Exchange (from $ 210 per carat in 2015, to $ 142 in December 2016) while production was cut by 55%. Due to the downsizing of production at Ghaghoo, Gem Diamonds last year shed part of its 250- man full time workforce. The company had anticipated ramping up the production to around 220,000 carats a year during its 25- year mining license.
7 Feb 2017
Yesterday we received a request, which was more like a demand, to support a project in Botswana. We were already planning to do something for it, but now the fun has gone. This vague kind of begging is becoming so annoying that we have to try hard not to let it escalate. The people do not realize we are spending already a lot of time and money on aid for Botswana and that more is not possible. We are going to ignore the requests, see whether this is a solution. Finished a pair of socks and continued with the knitted cushion cover.
6 Feb 2017
Flying over the Okovango Delta in Botswana. A trip of ten days and nine nights, from € 6.695 a person. That is the price in the low season, when it is summer and there is the possibility of rain. If in heaven they do not forget to open the tap. Rain has got it’s disadvantages, but also its advantages according to the travel organization ( a lot of flowers, green grass and green trees, young animals frisking about and predators who are after them to eat them). Another advantage that I can see is that it keeps people in a job. Staff at the lodges who are with their earnings of € 44,30 till € 88,50 a month, inclusive board and lodgings, happy, as it is always more than nothing. Suppliers of food and transport for the holiday makers (plane, car and mokoro, traditional wooden or synthetic canoe.)
5 Feb 2017
The Sunday Standard announced that the government is in process of reviewing the hunting ban with the view of allowing those killing for the pot, especially the Basarwa, to do so. This was said by the minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Conservation Tshekedi Khama. This decision was made three month ago, but no one knew about it yet. Basarwa spokesperson Jumanda Gakelebone said it is either the minister is being economical with the truth or his officials have lied to him that Basarwa are enjoying some benefits after they were allowed free entry into the reserve. He argued that Basarwa are still starving with no food, less water and still forced to produce a monthly permit to enter the reserve. The minister insisted that as far as he knew some obstructions to let the Basarwa in without a permit were taken away. But maybe some groups of Basarwa had not been informed yet. He will investigate the matter and advise the relevant officers to follow the proper channels and allow Basarwa to enter the reserve freely. End of quotation.
When the minister says: “as far as I know.”, this makes his pronouncement doubtful, because he ought to know for sure it had happened. Added the fact that no one knew about the change and other sources have announced that the minister a couple of month ago insisted that the ban on hunting for own pot would not be lifted, gives reason to think that someone again has been telling a tale.
4 Feb 2017
Destitute learners in Government schools receive school uniforms and toiletries. It works like this:
The school contacts the local Social Worker if they suspect destitution with a learner. The social worker then pays a visit to the home of the specific child/children to make sure that there is a need. She/He then reports back to the Government and the children are put on a list of learners who receive the necessary items every month. It seems as if the children do not have a shortage of anything.
That is great. But what about children who do not attend school? (There is no compulsory education in Botswana.) They probably need this extra attention even more. Like Xwaa Qhoma.
3 Feb 2017
2 Feb 2017
Mmegi published: BOSETU calls for investment in quality education. Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) has challenged Government to pay for quality education if the country truly aspired for it. However, the unionists were quick to note that the reality on the ground reflected otherwise. BOSETU has decided that 25 pupils in a class should be the maximum. If larger classes are the result of there being too few classrooms, government is obliged to build more classrooms and employ more teachers. Another point is that pupils are yearly automatically progressing to a higher standard. According to the secretary this affects the quality of the education. These points have already been discussed. Most of these are policies which are under the responsibility of the cabinet. We trust that the relevant minister will pass on our points. “Most of these are policy issues that need to be dealt with at Cabinet level. We rely on the relevant minister to relay our views but there hasn’t been any progress in efforts to meet Cabinet,” he said. However, he vowed this will not impede them from advocating and lobbying for these issues. The Union president, Kwenasebele Modukanele said they expected the Minister of Education to table the Botswana Teaching Council Bill this year.
1 Feb 2017