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The day Masisi rues

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As the continuing feud between current and former heads of state rages on, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi says he regrets that he led the Botswana Democratic Party Members of Parliament in amending the President’s Pensions and Retirement Act in 2017.

Now Dr Masisi regrets the decisions he made when as Vice President he convinced his fellow MPs to rally behind the amendment. “We created a problem by amending this Act. “I am the only one qualified to speak about it because then I was leading the pack as Leader of the House and Vice President,” Dr Masisi told BDP South West regional elective congress in Moshupa recently.

The president stated that he has even raised the issue at the BDP Parliamentary Caucus meeting. He said it is time they become honest. He told the congress that this matter is a national issue because it is national resources they are talking about. He pointed out that they can no longer tolerate dishonesty. “We dropped the ball when we amended the Act. Former President the late Sir Ketumile Masire stayed for two (2) years without being availed a house by government,” he revealed.

Among other benefits the controversial Act now allows Dr Khama to use any government mode of transport of his choice, seek employment elsewhere while still getting 80% of his salary as housing allowance.

His regret comes at a time when his predecessor Dr Ian Khama is now a beneficiary of the amendment while at the same time they are entangled in a protracted standoff, which often ends in their engaging in public spats. What seems to have also annoyed Dr Masisi is that he is convinced that the former president has a hand in the challenge against his (Dr Masisi’s) presidency. Dr Masisi will defend his seat against former minister Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi as BDP President during an extraordinary congress later this year.

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Basarwa’s indigenous knowledge could be used in fire fights

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Two hundred delegates from countries that include Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia and Namibia have converged in Maun village for the 7th National Fire Management Conference.

The event taking place on May 14th-16th is held under the theme: ‘Fire Management – A key to sustainable livelihoods.’ Its objectives are to promote implementation of the fire management strategy, facilitate information sharing amongst key stakeholders, as well as promote collaborative partnerships in fire management.

One partnership that has proven to be beneficial is that of government of Botswana and the Australian government. The relationship was born following the deadly fires that claimed the lives of 13 people, and forced the government to seek help outside.

This year, Botswana, which deals with ravaging veldt fires annually, is now looking into exploring knowledge from indigenous tribes when it comes to dealing with fire. Head of Technical Support Services at Department of Forestry and Range Resources, Gabagomotse Mafoko told a media conference that indigenous rangers from Kimberly and Australia will share stories about Traditional Fire management.

He explained that they were also looking into tapping into the knowledge of local tribes. Mafoko shared that the climatic conditions of Botswana and Australia are almost the same, hence this knowledge is vital.

“Indigenous tribes have been fighting fires for years with less emissions. Take for example, the Aborigines of Australia have been doing it, and we want to tap into their knowledge. Locally, the San have been using fire for decades with little damage to the environment,” he explained.

The Botswana and Australian government have a longstanding relationship in the fire management areas. The relationship dates back to 2008. And through it, over 5000 people have been trained in Fire Management Strategy, as well donations of used and refurbished fire equipment units.

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KBL returns Kickstart funding initiative

Koobonye Ramokopelwa

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Kgalagadi Breweries Limited will start inviting applications for its revamped Kickstart initiative which funds youth aged between 18 and 30 years, The Midweek Sun has learnt.

Today, the company which produces soft drinks and clear beer was expected to take the media on a tour of some of kickstart beneficiaries in Gaborone. Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo is expected to officially launch the revised initiative this afternoon at the KBL’s Broadhurst offices. The program was suspended a few years ago due to lack of funds, among other reasons.

Before the program was put on ice, it had benefited over 70 small medium enterprises with funding, mentoring and market access assistance. Speaking to the press last year, KBL Managing Director, Beauchamp, said P1, 5 million has been set aside for this program on annual basis.

“We plan to invest in 15 new businesses every year,” he said at a press briefing which also announced a price reduction for its alcohol brands such as St Louis, Castel Lite and Black Label.

Successful applicants will receive about P200, 000 grants to execute their business ideas. Beauchamp stated that they have been able to reintroduce Kickstart from ‘freed capital’ as a result of the recent reduction in Alcohol Levy from 55 percent to 35 percent by the President Mokgweetsi Masisi regime.

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