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Israel fires up Batswana students into horticulture

Irene Shone

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INSPIRED: The students were welcomed back home

35 Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) students arrived last week Friday from a one year attachment at Kinneret Academic College in Israel.

The programme exposes students to advanced technology in agriculture, research in the field as well as extension or practical work. Beaming with optimism, they exalted the virtues of agriculture in an interview with The Midweek Sun saying it can generate revenue for Botswana and reduce the food import bill if given the proper attention it deserves.

Olebogeng Matlhodi a student of BA Science in Food, Science and Technology plans to share the knowledge she gathered as well as produce something at national level. “Agriculture is advanced that side and people live good lives out of it. They take it very seriously and it is one of the top jobs one can go into.” She learnt about irrigation to produce food throughout the seasons and not depending on rain-fed agriculture as is the norm here.

Matlhodi, 23, was based in a carrot factory and learnt about taking care of carrots and packaging them. Jerry Sebowe who is pursuing BA Science in Agricultural Mechanisation worked in a tomato factory. He is adamant that Botswana will no longer import tomatoes if government can support them to practise what they learnt in Israel. “I was based at Berko Farm and the farm specialises in cucumber, basilica and tomato crops according to their seasons.

“I have learnt a lot about greenhouse, irrigation and tunnels use, which is what I want to share with local farmers and teach them about tomato care,” he said. Acting Vice Chancellor at BUAN Prof Shalaulani Nsoso said they want to ready their students through the programme to practice Commercial Agriculture. “Israel is an added advantage to our students because of the similar climatic conditions,” he said. The third group is expected to leave on Saturday for a similar programme. Transformation Coordinator at BUAN Dr Mataba Tapela is convinced that the advanced technology used in Israel will enable their students to strive to reach the same level in the field one day.

He noted that the students also got relevant information on dairy, high value crops, production, value addition, associated enterprises as well as marketing, which he believes would benefit the country at large. The university has 2 hectares of land within its premises and expect students to utilise the skills and knowledge that they got in Israel to produce crops.

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Matsheka sues Bandleng mokoko 250k for defamation

Keletso Thobega

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Lobatse Member of Parliament aspirant Thapelo Matsheka has slapped Tefo Seetso of Woodhall in Lobatse with a P250, 000 lawsuit.

A few weeks ago, a video of Seetso tearing down posters bearing the picture of Matsheka at the Woodhall shops in Lobatse trended on social media. In the video, Seetso can be heard cussing what he refers to as corrupt politicians. The lawsuit letter, which this publication is in possession of, reads in part:

“Apart from the undoubtedly slanderous statement you uttered of and concerning him, taken within prevailing political atmosphere of election campaigning, the added import of your utterances is that our client: is corrupt, lacks moral fibre and is not fit to be elected member of parliament or to hold any public office.” The letter further states that Matsheka’s instructions are that his name has been smeared and that it would be almost impossible to repair the damage occasioned to him having regard to the wide coverage of the video clip.

“By the sheer size of Facebook subscribers both locally and internationally, and the prevailing election period during which particular attention to political campaigns and candidates is heightened, it is not hard to fathom the effect your slanderous actions have had and will continue to have on our client’s dignity as an ordinary member of the public and also as an aspirant to political office.”
The letter also stipulates that Seetso remove and delete the video clip from all social media platforms. He is also asked to publish an unconditional apology and retraction of the said defamatory recording.

In an interview Seetso told The Midweek Sun that he was still looking for a lawyer. He said he had torn down the posters and recorded the video “to get attention.” He said it was his freedom of expression. He also argued that he had not mentioned Matsheka’s name, who he said wanted to use him as a scapegoat, should he lose elections.

“The way things are, should he lose, he would claim that I contributed to his loss through defaming him as he claims. If at all he has a good name, then it would not be easily tarnished. He should just focus on his campaign,” he said.

He said he was still thinking about whether he would apologise or not. He also queried how Matsheka and his lawyers had reached the amount demanded. Seetso, who was once aligned with the BDP but was never a registered member, confirmed that he would be standing as an independent council candidate in Woodhall.

He said he had abandoned BDP because they were reluctant to register him. “I tried but failed. I think there are people within the party structures who saw me as a threat,” he said. Whatever the case, it is a punishable offence to destroy anyone’s political campaign material. IEC spokesperson Osupile Maroba, who said the Matsheka-Seetso case was the first of its kind, said anyone found guilty would dance to the music.

He made reference to the Electoral Act. He said if someone was reported to them, they would assist them and they would be handed over to the police who enforce laws. “If someone is incriminated in defacing political campaign material, they will be charged. As the IEC we do not enforce the laws but we are willing to assist with the procedure of bringing someone to book.” (Visit The Midweek Sun facebook page to see the video in question).

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A welcome snitch

Yvonne Mooka

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CELLPHONE TRACKER: Tebogo Aaron says criminals have labelled him a snitch for helping the police track people’s stolen property

Tebogo Aaron works hand-in-hand with Botswana Police Service to track down missing and stolen cellphones.

In an interview with The Midweek Sun, the 38-year-old man from Mahalapye says that on average, he traces between 25 and 50 mobile phones per day. He runs a store called Gadgets + Collectables, with two branches in Airport Junction and Phakakane’s Acacia mall.

Even though he sells a variety of gadgets, among them cellphones, Bluetooth speakers, laptops, it is the business of cellphone tracking that has given him a niche in the market. The Business Management and IT graduate says that his cellphone tracking business makes him stand out. “We are now in the era of cellphones. Almost every person has a cellphone and again, people steal them at a high rate,” he says.

Aaron provides police with leads, allowing them to do recoveries. He helps people who come with a police affidavit. “I have attracted hate from thugs thinking I’m a snitch,” he laughs.
But how long does it take for him to track down a cellphone? He says that the gadget becomes traceable the moment a sim card gets inserted inside.

His observation is that people have a tendency of buying stolen gadgets something he says is risky as one ends up charged by the police for buying a stolen item.
“Thugs steal phones with the intention to sell them, not to keep them. They want fast cash,” he says. And he says that thieves would go to an extent of creating fake Facebook pages to sell their stolen cellphones.

“Immediately after selling them, they delete the social media accounts while the buyer is left with it. People must take precaution,” he says. One of the people who have benefited from Aaron’s service, Lerato Lepang says her phone and wallet were snatched from her on June 4 in Molepolole.

“I reported with the police. A week later I heard of Gadgets + Collectables and decided to give it a shot. I went to the store on July 13 with a police affidavit as well as my phone details.“Five days later I received a call from them saying they had details of someone who had my phone,” she says. Another person Masego Mokgwatlheng says Aaron managed to recover her phone after a month in June.

She had forgotten it in a cab and traces showed that the cab driver had sold it to a Zimbabwean man. “I am now using my phone. It was made easier because I had a police affidavit,” she says. In addition to cellphone tracking, Aaron also tracks lost or stolen pets, bicycles and luggage. He has five employees.

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