This billboard is attracting huge attention in central Gaborone as the country battles crime. Now, Maun residents also want a similar billboard to be erected here, particularly after numerous robberies of businesses and homes in the town over the past few months. A suggestion has been made in the Maun Bulletin Board that residents should contribute towards a similar structure.
ECO-TOURISM PARK REJECTED BY RESIDENTS
The proposed Maun Eco-Tourism Park (METP) project is being viewed with caution, if not outright suspicion that it has already been finalised by the authorities.
Last Thursday, at the main Maun kgotla, the presenters of the project were bluntly told to give the community time to peruse the documents and consult on the matter.
The presentations were being made by the North West District Council (NWDC)'s physical planning unit and the project consultants, Services for GeoInformation (SGI). The following day another stakeholders' meeting was held at Maun Lodge and attended by councillors, land board officials, farmers and tourism sector representatives and members of the community.
The proposed METP is part of the reviewed Maun Development Plan 1997-2021. Though initially the park was not part of the plan, it was incorporated into it following the adoption of the Okavango Development Management Plan (ODMP). The proposed 80,000 hectare is to be located within the NG35, south of the buffalo fence covering an area roughly between Matlapaneng and Shorobe. The proposed project appears to have some components of a community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) venture. According to the consultants, the project will be owned by the community in that the local authorities (tribal community, NWDC and Tawana Land Board) will be shareholders.
These partners are to register a proprietary limited company that will raise funds from financial institutions for the project.
It envisages the construction of a predatory animals' research institute, a wildlife orphanage, a 60-bed hotel and several guest houses. The infrastructure development costs for the project are estimated at P323-million.
However, the multi-million Pula project comes with high socio-economic costs to the local people in the area.
The consequences include realignment and construction of a new Buffalo Fence and the removal of all residents and livestock from the fenced area. The general feeling is that the realignment of the buffalo fence in effect translates into the expansion of the Moremi Game Reserve south-east wards.
The Ngami Times has learnt that the existing buffalo fence on the north of the proposed area, that is currently the buffer zone for the reserve, will be removed, yet the consultants talk of the proposed new fenced area keeping out dangerous animals that includes lions, elephants, and buffalo.
One of the participants at the Friday meeting, Moaparankwe Mpho, charged that the proposed realignment of the fence to the southern fringes of the proposed will be akin to dangerously exposing the already battered farming community to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
Problematic also is the proposed relocation of residents and livestock from the area. The exercise will affect 78 households with 900 cattle, 627 goats and 221 donkeys, according to the consultants.
By the consultants' own admission, the area is basically an enclave for exiles from the harsh socio-economic climate of the main neighbouring villages, primarily Maun. According to the consultants residents comprise mainly elderly people with an age average of 52 years and with low educational levels who survive on natural resources such as reed and grass for basic commodities. They also own ploughing fields each with an average size of two acres.
It is therefore little wonder that all meetings held in the region to date have opposed the plan. At kgotla meetings held at Matlapaneng, Shorobe, Matsaudi, Boro, Quxao, Morutsha, Daunara and Ditshiping the communities have opposed the plan.
Their main arguments were that the government seems to give priority to tourism and wildlife over local communities' needs as indicative in the proposed plan that appears indifferent to the fact that livestock and molapo farming are the key components to their livelihoods.
The consultants acknowledged that from all kgotla meetings they addressed, only one person spoke in favour of the proposed park, citing youth employment and exploration of alternatives to agricultural programmes as the reasons. Paradoxically, however, when the consultants solicited people's perceptions on various components of the tourism and wildlife sector they came up with interesting results. For instance, 81% viewed wildlife parks in general in a positive light, yet 76% did not want the proposed Maun Eco-Tourism Park. The 24% who were in support of its establishment were found to be people living closer to the buffalo fence and comprised mekoro poolers who benefit directly from tourism. Regarding the perception on CBNRM, the overwhelming 78% viewed them positively. At last Friday's stakeholders' meeting, the consultants highlighted the principles of eco-tourism as involving the communities, building environmental and cultural awareness, and providing financial benefits for both conservation and the local people. As the debate rages on, the stakeholders will undoubtedly be revisiting the eco-tourism principles for guidance.
State urged to cut red tape
KASANE - The president of the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), Alex Monchusi, has called on the government to remove bureaucratic red tape and simplify its regulatory climate.
He identified this as one of the factors that hinder Botswana's international competitiveness.
Speaking during the opening of the annual HATAB conference in Kasane last Saturday, Monchusi decried a situation where tourism operators' “frequent visits to government offices, with their ubiquitous queues, eat up the most scarce resource of the business community – which is time!”
He called for the creation of an environment that would allow tourism operators to spend more of their time on business opportunities rather than government compliance.
Monchusi said the strive for positive global competitiveness can be achieved by harnessing the fruits of technology such as its extensive use in the processing and payment of all business transactions that include trade and tourism licences, payments for bed levy, training levy, tax returns, tax payment and vehicle licenses.
He also appealed to government to make the issuing of work and residence permits to expatriates stable and predictable as “tourism and other sectors of the economy still require the importation of skills”.
He emphasised the fact that “firms need to move employees to their subsidiaries across the globe including Botswana. We can't become competitive if we make those companies less competitive”. Monchusi also deplored the certification of documents which he feels weighs down on the business community - “Every year tour operators have to compile the same set of information and move from one government office to the other, ‘certifying' it all over again in the name of compliance. This is expensive and raises the costs of doing business especially for business based in remote areas”.
He also appealed to government to improve on operating regulations, especially the granting of tourist visas. He, however, commended Parliament for reviewing the Town and Coutry Planning Act, which will now make the process of applying for planning permissions simpler and shorter as they will be handled locally.
“But I note that whereas we as a country are always able to come up with good policies and laws, our greatest undoing seems to be implementation,” he said before appealing to government “to speed up the drawing up of the necessary regulations and operationalise the new Act in the shortest possible time. Please let us not wait another two years for this to happen.”
The conference that was held under the theme “Tourism: A key to sustainable development and promotion,” was attended by Tshekedi Khama, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, and Nonofo Molefhi, Minister of Transport and Communications.
Botswana is among the Top 10 destinations for adventure tourism in the developing world, according to the Adventure Tourism Development Index and the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) is the recepient of the 2010 World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC)'s Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Stewardship Award in recognition for excellence in sustainable and equitable tourism policy and practices in the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site.
Tanzania on offensive against poaching
Tanzania – to where many hunters from northern Botswana are relocating because of Botswana's decision to end trophy hunting - is taking steps to combat the rise in elephant and rhinoceros poaching by deploying army personnel and camera-equipped drones to engage in anti-poaching operations.
According to the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, poaching has drastically reduced the elephant population to fewer than 70 000 in 2012 from about 109 000 in 2009.
Amid outcries from lawmakers about the increase in poaching, the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Sued Kagasheki, told the Tanzania parliament on Thursday that President Jakaya Kikwete had authorised the deployment of army units for anti-poaching operations.
This is the second time the military has helped against poaching. In 1989, “Operation Uhai” helped the elephant population rebound after it reached a low of about 30 000, when it had been about 110 000 in 1976.
Opposition MP Peter Msigwa said he supports the president's decision to send in troops to ward off poachers, but said the government should have taken this action five years ago - countries should unite to stop the worldwide trade in “dirty tusks”, he said, as this fast-growing illicit trade comes at the expense of Tanzania's natural resources.
Tanzania National Parks spokesperson Pascal Shelutete said the park service will use drones — small, pilotless, remote-controlled aircraft equipped with cameras — to monitor who enters the parks.
“It is a kind of improved closed-circuit television camera, which will facilitate monitoring all parks 24 hours a day,” Shelutete said, adding that the cameras are connected to computers via satellite.
Similar projects have been implemented around the world. The World Wildlife Fund has a fleet of pilotless planes, which have helped protect Nepal's elephants, rhinoceros and tigers. In addition, projects in other African wildlife reserves are aided by the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), which helps fund the acquisition of drones for conservationist efforts. “We are fighting a war against well-armed and informed poachers,” the IAPF said on its website. “In the context of reducing poaching in dangerous environments, [unmanned aerial vehicles] provide a broad-reaching, safer and more cost-effective solution, allowing rangers to monitor a much greater mass of land whilst reducing their own exposure to dangerous and armed poachers.”
Police arrest 31 over P400m Belgium diamond heist
Police have arrested 31 people in Belgium, France and Switzerland over the heist of $50 million (P400 million) in diamonds from Brussels airport in February, Belgian prosecutors said on Wednesday. One suspect was arrested in France and eight in Switzerland on Tuesday while 24 were rounded up after a raid near Brussels early on Wednesday. As well as a large amount of diamonds, police recovered cash and luxury cars during the operation in Belgium. A Frenchman who is believed to have been one of the actual robbers at the airport was arrested in France, while six to eight people were detained in Geneva, and 24 in and around Brussels. Police did not indicate what the other suspects' roles might have been.Ppolice say they have proof that diamonds found in Switzerland were part of the brazen Febuary 18 robbery that ranks among the biggest diamond heists of recent times. It was the first breakthrough in a robbery that many had started comparing to an “Ocean's Eleven”-type Hollywood script for its clinically clean execution during which no one was injured.On a cold winter evening, the diamonds had been loaded on a plane bound for Zurich when robbers, dressed in dark police clothing and hoods, drove through a hole they had cut in the airport fence in two black cars with blue police lights flashing. They drove onto the tarmac, approached the plane, brandished machine-guns, offloaded the diamonds, then made their getaway in an operation that barely took five minutes. Later that night, investigators found the charred remains of a van most likely used in the heist, but little else.The stolen parcels contained both rough and polished stones. The trail ran dry until the surprise announcement on Wednesday.
Litigation a leading challenge for local media
By Bright Kholi
Francistown: The safety of journalists has been singled out as an important issue that still begs for attention from authorities, and coupled with commercial intimidation of litigation has become the biggest challenge in securing freedom of expression in Botswana.
This came out strongly at the World Press Freedom Day commemorations held in Francistown last week.
On the eve of the commemorations on May 3, the Media Institute of Southern Africa-MISA Botswana hosted a panel discussion under the theme: ‘Safety of journalists, impunity and safety offline.'
Journalists attending the event noted with concern how they continue to be harassed and attacked in line of their duty. They decried their security especially in courts and other public areas and said the situation was not made any better by the police who also harass the media, citing instances where photo-journalists have suffered at the hands of law enforcement agencies.
Panellists were of the view that there was a need to come up with legislature that protects journalists. One of the panellists Morgan Moseki, who is a lawyer, noted that the extent to which local journalist are unsafe will show once something goes wrong with the economy and there is a major corruption expose. He said that will be the climax as the media will become endangered.
To avoid litigation Moseki said there was need for journalists to strive for excellence by always sticking to facts.
Police assistant commissioner Christopher Mbulawa told the journalists that the constitution protects the media the same way it protects every citizen. He called on the media to report any harassment by police officers, adding nobody was above the law.
He said journalists should stop whining and stand up to the challenge of their profession which has its challenges. He, however, said that the police will never compromise issues of security for journalists.
Guest speaker, Francistown High Court Judge Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe noted that while state of the media in Botswana is generally free, a lot can be done by the media in avoiding a situation where what is reported today is not the source of litigation the next day.
“The situation is avoidable if, resources permitting, in house training and continuous journalistic training can be undertaken. I think there are people out there who can empower newspaper reporters on how to separate facts from comments on those facts, in the same newspaper article,” he said. In its statement, the Press Council of Botswana said “intimidation in the form of threats of litigation has become the new weapon against a media seen as attempting to assert its oversight role to the consternation of the ruling class, which actually run and own the apparatus of government.
“As we speak all the major publications in this country have been threatened with some of the highest demands of compensation in the history of this country. Therefore the threat to litigate until the cows come home remains an axe wielded by the new defenders of elitist interests,” it said in a statement.
The Editors Forum in its statement said on account of growing levels of intolerance, many people, not just the journalists would readily agree that instead of growing, the space occupied by freedom of expression in Botswana is diminishing on many fronts. “As a specific group, journalists have a clear duty to jealously guard the gains made towards freedom of expression over the years. Of course this is tall order,” it said. “One crucial way to achieve that is by continuously striving to do our work through observing the confines of the ethics we have set ourselves. Botswana Editors Forum calls on the journalists to strive to report their stories accurately, honestly and ethically.” It further called journalists to embrace training opportunities as they go a long way in ensuring that they fulfil the ever growing public perceptions.
Training of journalists important
University of Botswana Department of Media Studies lecturer, Ms Nonofo Mankhi emphasised that media practice needed professionals who are able to adapt and change continuously.She stressed that this called for heavy investment in in-service training for journalists to keep pace with changes that were happening in society as it evolved.”There is need for the media in Botswana to change their methods of training and communicating with their consumers. The media should also understand the needs of consumers,” she said. She also observed that there was disconnection between news producers and consumers as the media houses continued churning out news that did not add value to consumers.Again, she indicated that almost every media house had a slogan, but rarely checked if they met their consumers' demands. On other issues, she expressed concern about the level of media training in Botswana and highlighted that journalism schools were following different paths.Consequently, she added that there was lack of communication between media training institutions on what they were teaching aspiring journalists. In some instances, she said some of the people who teach media in the tertiary education sector knew very little about the profession. “This lack of convergence on media training leads to lower standards and poorly trained journalism graduates,” she added. She gave the example of the University of Botswana where she said some journalism graduates from the media department were already teaching journalism in other institutions before practising the craft or undergoing training to be media mentors. Currently, she explained that UB produced students to be practising journalists thus they were not yet ready to train other journalists. She also decried the fact that it seemed as if noone was doing the checks to ensure that relevant media trainers were employed to teach journalism students in some tertiary institutions.Ms Mankhi also challenged media houses to give honest feedback to media training institutions on the quality of their students.In addition, she stressed that an English language pass should be a pre-requisite for any student who wanted to study journalism as was currently the case at the University of Botswana. On the issue of editors, she noted that an editor was like a school principal who knew the workings of the education system and had taught before.An editor, she highlighted, should be someone who had practised journalism and was good at their craft.She expressed concern that the advent of inexperienced editors was a contributing factor to poor journalism standards in the country.Furthermore, she noted that being a long serving employee did not qualify one to be appointed an editor if they were never good reporters.“Tertiary institutions which offer media studies should set standards for students, while newsrooms should be engaged in continuous in-house training to improve the quality of stories published,” she added.
Health system neglect is criminal
It is a given that our health system lacks quality management structure, systems, standards and dedicated personnel - a situation which has unfortunately led to drug shortages, an acute shortage of skilled workers, overcrowding, poor staff motivation and low productivity.
But that should not be used as an excuse for failure to deliver the fundamentals of health care services to the communities. It is inexcusable that a woman patient should have to wait for months on end to be scanned for either womb infections or cervical cancer, or for sufferers of diabetes, high blood pressure or some such ailments to be given paracetomol or panado instead of appropriate medication.
This is not only unethical but also criminal.
Despite pledges given some years ago to transform our health system of slightly more than 700 health facilities into a world-class one, the situation on the ground points to a system ravaged by neglect. This is not the way our much-touted middle-income country should be conducting its health care business.
The situation is depressing to say the least.
Take the instance of our hospitals where basic commodities such as toilet paper are considered a luxury. Across the country it has become the norm for admitted patients to bring along their own bedding as most hospitals do not have enough blankets and sheets.
It has also become an acceptable practice, in most medical establishments, to find patients on ward floors on mats that pass for mattresses. This is in direct contradiction to what we have been taught about the health facilities being paragons of hygiene.
In the past few years these problems have only worsened with the Ministry of Health's top officials, hospital and clinic administrators all hiding behind the all too familiar public service refrain of “no funds due to global economic recession.” Yet we are well aware that the Health ministry, together with the Education ministry, is allocated a lion's share of the national budget in comparison with other ministries.
Could it be that the centralisation of such budgets and resources, together with its attendant authority hampers health delivery? But that could not be the whole answer.
For instance, in the recent past we have been made to believe that the Central Medical Stores has established eight outlets in Maun, Kasane, Gantsi, Letlhakane, Serowe, Francistown, Hukuntsi and Tsabong.
Technically then there is no reason why Ngamiland health facilities, and others in the other areas, should be experiencing drug shortages. Could it be due to a poor governmental logistical system? If so, health authorities should say so.
Perhaps it is time for the Health ministry to outsource this service by tapping into an efficient logistical system deployed by retailers such as Spar or Choppies who are capable of moving millions of commodities, most of them highly perishable and sensitive, to their networks.
Corruption appears to be raising its head everywhere one looks. Teachers, foreign presidents, politicians and so on are all involved in getting money they do not deserve.
It's a reminder that we live in a sick community of nations that foreigners have blatantly used their money to buy their way into landing a big jet at a South African air base even though the request was denied and a mighty row has since ensued.
Can you imagine if that had happened in Botswana? Would it be regarded as just another incident and be swept under the carpet or would the private media here dare to take the bull by the horns and expose such a development?
Shuffle asks this question as last week we celebrated World Press Freedom Day. The usual stirring speeches were made by representatives of the private media, judiciary and university lecturers. Of course, the government media looked on as, if they had opened their mouths, they would not be in a job today.
Even politicians make mistakes . . . President Ian Khama received two stitches to his face after being clawed by a cheetah 10 days ago. The Gaborone weekly “Sunday Standard” reported that the incident occurred at a Botswana Defence Force barracks, quoting government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay as saying it was a “freak accident, but not an attack”. According to the French news agency, AFP, the cheetah was being fed close to where Khama was standing and somehow managed to get its claw to the president's face. The President was not admitted to hospital. According to a posting on the Internet, the incident occurred when he visited the Botswana Defence Force Animal Awareness Park which was established in 1989 in response to the proliferation of the poaching in the Chobe and Ngamiland regions. The military was then called in to assist the situation which was then getting out of control, with some animals species such as rhino and others threatened to extinction. The military personnel were at the time not experienced with animals so the park was therefore introduced with the idea of teaching soldiers about animal behaviour and to remove the fear for such predatory animals during patrols. The question now, of course, is will training be intensified due to the renewed proliferation of poaching following Khama's decision to end trophy hunting in favour of photographic safaris and conservation. This brings to mind several stories about cheetahs, leopards and lions – among other wild animals – which have attacked humans who got too close to the animals, whether in the open or in cages. It just goes to show that one has to be on one's guard at all times to avoid nasty incidents such as this. We have all heard of foolhardy tourists trying to pat lions in the wild – as if the animals are their household pets – and of children being killed by hyena and other predators. Hunters, too, have had to fight off attacks from animals they have wounded. We can be thankful that the President got off so lightly.
Some useless information – Shuffle's favourite bird - the Woodland Kingfisher – is still in our trees, weeks after most people thought they had migrated back to their usual habitats near the equator. This must have something to do with climate change! The Woodland Kingfisher is widely distributed in tropical Africa south of the Sahara and is essentially resident within 8° of the equator, but northern and southern populations are migratory, moving into the equatorial zone in the dry season. It is a common species of a variety of wooded habitats with some trees, especially acacias, including around human habitation. Although it is a “kingfisher”, it prefers drier habitats in more traditional woodland and can be far from water. Woodland Kingfishers mostly migrate at night. ** With Mother's Day on Sunday, here are a few gems that mothers would never say: 1. “How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far back?” 2. “Let me smell that shirt — Yeah, it's good for another week” 3. “Go ahead and keep that stray dog. I'll be glad to feed and walk him every day” 4. “I don't have a tissue with me . . . just use your sleeve” 5. “Don't bother wearing a jacket - the wind-chill is bound to improve”
Things that go bang in the night
The last time night-shift policemen at Maun police station were awake to strange goings-on outside their offices a car was set on fire to hide evidence of an accident. Now, hearing a huge bang, the coppers came racing out of the offices at 2am the other day to see two apparently inebriated gentlemen trying to steal a damaged red BMW parked next to the cop shop. It turns out that the Saturday night bang was caused when a tow rope snapped and the BMW careered into a curb.
Needless to say the two would-be – an Asian and a Mauritian – had been on a binge at a local night club and decided to help themselves to the car using their Landcruiser to pull it away in the dead of night.
Of course, it goes without saying that the two were taken into custody.
Keep those woolies and blankets handy
Experts have predicted a colder winter than last year. Meteorological Services director Thabang Botshoma says forecasted temperatures until July showed an increased likelihood of normal to above normal temperatures over the eastern parts of the country. Botshoba added that other parts of the country were likely to experience slightly below normal temperatures. “Normal maximum temperatures for this season range between 26ÚC over the south and 28ÚC over the north, while normal minimum temperatures range between 8ÚC and 12ÚC over the south and north respectively,” he said. Botswana's weather patterns were changing given the tendency of the onset of rains starting very late in November and abruptly ending in late January - “The result is that we tend to experience extreme weather conditions of large amounts of rain within a short period of time resulting in flooding,” he added. Climate change, he said, was a continual factor throughout because there were incidents of heavy hail storms damaging property. There were also unprecedented rises in temperatures that had caused drastic changes in climate. “There has been an increase in the number of heat waves over the country covering most areas,” he said and added Batswana should not be surprised at the current fluctuations in temperatures as they would continue until this month when winter becomes more defined in most areas.
China wants to be Botswana's ‘friend'
The Chinese government values its relations with Botswana and “stands ready to be Botswana's sincere friend and strong partner.” Presenting letters of credence to President Ian Khama last week, the newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Botswana, Zheng Zhuqiang, commended Botswana for playing an active role in upholding regional peace, development and promoting African integration.He said Botswana has become a role model of peaceful development in Africa because of her long term stability, sustained economic growth and progress in various social programmes. He noted that his country was cooperating with Botswana in the fields of business, health, culture and education. With regard to continued cooperation, he said: “Key areas will be on economic and social areas, which I will encourage Chinese companies to invest more in to support Botswana's economic policy.” Zheng pointed out that China and Botswana's diplomatic ties date as far back as 1975, and that the two countries have always respected each other as equals and witnessed sound growth in their friendly relations and cooperation. (BOPA)
Botswana, SA coal line link on way
The South African coal line to Richards Bay would include a Botswana link in seven years' time, Transnet Freight Rail CEO Siyabonga Gama said on Wednesday. Gama told the 12 th Coaltrans Southern Africa coal conference that the proposed connection would form part of Transnet's investment in the upcoming Waterberg coalfield in South Africa's north-west, close to the Botswana border. It would be the source of significant future tonnages of coal for both domestic consumption and export. “We'll link the Waterberg with Botswana by 2020,” he said, adding that a rail line would then couple the developing Mmamabula coalfields in Botswana to Lephalale in the heart of South Africa's Waterberg, and then pass through Thabazimbi on its way to the coal area of Oogies, in Mpumalanga, and then on to Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. The developments would be integrated through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission and the strategic infrastructure programmes it oversees, which are designed to accelerate economic development and create jobs. Railing coal from Botswana via Durban had already begun on a moderate scale - “We've moved the first few trains from Botswana to BMA,” he said, BMA being the JSE-listed Bidvest group's Bluff Mechanical Appliance, which handles two-million tons of exports a year.” South Africa's major coal-export outlet is the private-sector-owned Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), through which 68.3-million tons of coal was exported last year and which has a capacity of 91-million tons.Transnet moves more than 95-million tons of coal a year and also serves other smaller export outlets, including Navitrade Dry Bulk Terminal, also in Richards Bay, and Matola, in Mozambique, and rails large volumes domestically for State power utility Eskom and other entities. Rail was seen as integral to the success of emerging juniors and Eskom's plan to source a billion tons of coal from emerging coal miners would be a game-changer. Gama said that Transnet would be railing more than 32-million tons of coal for Eskom by 2019 and 60-million tons by 2030 as the Waterberg came into play. Rail capacity on the Richards Bay line to the RBCT would be increased to 95-million tons by 2018 and investment in the Swazi rail link would take non-coal freight off the coal line and open up more capacity for coal.
‘Hairy creature' causes panic at a school
By Basadi Morokotso
Some students at Mathiba Primary School, Sedie ward in Maun were last week Friday treated for shock at a local clinic after they became ‘weak and fainted' following the spotting of a hairy big-headed creature believed to be a ‘tokoloshe' .
The incident, in which students allegedly fought for cover after having seen the creature, is reported to have lasted for at least three hours as students suddenly became weak and fainted.
This was confirmed by the Ngamiland regional education director, Acronews Maseko, who said Standard 6 and 7 classes were the most affected.
“I am told there was a lot of screaming, hiding and running around at the school, as students panicked and struggled to find space for possible escape. As you might know, the school has double storey buildings, and the fear was that some of the confused students might have fallen from the classrooms above and injured themselves in the process. No one knew what to do as teachers were equally shocked and were therefore of no help,” he said.
The affected, according to Maseko, were treated for shock and released the same day at Sedie clinic, some hours after they had regained consciousness. He said parents were consulted and told of the incident. He further said the school's parents teachers association (PTA) executive committee has since met and has resolved to hold prayers at the school. The guidance and counselling committee is also said to be busy conducting counselling sessions.
A parent to one of the affected students said soon after the arrival of their children from a school trip in Makalamabedi some weeks back, there had been slight behavioural changes on her child, who constantly complained of seeing strange people and often being absent minded.
She said the latest development has frightened them even more, and now have fear that some demonic spell might have be cast on the innocent children. To normalise the situation, she suggested that churches should be invited to the school to join in the prayers.
Okavango to hold first diamond auction
The state-owned Okavango Diamond Company will hold a pilot sale of rough diamonds on June 26. The sale is intended to test the state-owned company's systems before ýit launches full, regular auctions in September.
Okavango will invite 50 companies to view the goods in Gaborone's Diamond Technology Park before taking part in the live auction test. Among those invited are all the companies with diamond manufacturing licences in Botswana.
Jacob Thamage, Okavango's chairman, said the participating companies were ýchosen to represent all manufacturing centres so that Okavango can receive diverse feedback from all sectors of the market.
Focus on Terrors' league triumph
By Thuso Rammidi
With Nhabe Regional Football 1 st division league having ended last weekend where Maun Terrors were crowned champions for the second season running, Times Sport, tracked the team manager, Kebonyethebe Dikgathatso and the title winning coach, Moses Kelatlhilwe for an insight on how they managed to defend their title.
The champions started their title defence badly but the experience and the teamwork displayed by both the officials and players, meant they wake from the slumber, picking up points that catapulted them to the summit of the log in the run in to the finish and maintain the spot to the end.
“Before the season started, we were informed of the possibility to fill the vacant post in the first division, when a number of teams were de-registered from Botswana Football Association,” Dikgathatso said.
“We went through a rough patch. It was a bad start and the second round was no different. We lost the first game and drew the next two. We stayed in mid-table for sometime before we started picking points and climbed the log gradually to assume pole position and eventually clinched the championship.”
How did the rise start? When the transfer window started, Terrors made their intentions to defend their title clear, as they went into the market to strengthen the squad.
“We beefed up the squad during the transfer window with two midfielders and strengthened the defence because that was where we were lacking,' said the manager.
The Maun outfit went on to sign all-rounder Kwantle Onkemetse from Gabane United, defender Mafhunga Tukalo from Nyangwe United (Kasane) and goalie, Tsheko Tsheko, from Plateau United in Kasane and another midfielder, Warona Gaboratiwe from constituency tournaments as well as Moitiredi Gaorekwe from Field Master in Letlhakane.
The addition of these players strengthened the team and Terrors became an oiled machine as a result and started to accumulate points.
“Going into the play-offs tomorrow we can manage to get promotion to the Debswana National First Division. Last year at the play-offs we were not balanced and we have now rectified that which gives us confidence that we can achieve our goal. “We managed to achieve the remarkable feat through team work, since we are not sponsored. Officials and technical team work cordially which brings results. Players are on high spirits and work towards the common goal of playing in the 1 st division,” said the manager. “Last season at this point, the log standings looked alike. We finished top followed by Gunners of Khwai and Heroes, then Delta Winds,” he said of their triumph adding that season was very difficult as competition was stronger coming from the top five teams, which happen to be in the same position as the previous one.
For his part, the team coach said that they came from the play-offs in Kasane where they failed to win promotion.
Due to some teams being deregistered after failing to pay affiliation fees, Kelatlhilwe said opportunity presented itself to them to fill in the void in the 1 st division, leading to intense pre-season preparations for high level competition.
He said his charges were already fatigued from the resultant rigorous pre-season training. The team turned the corner after the Christmas break, which afforded them some rest and recuperation, with assistance from some new signings while at the same time looking up to the experienced members of the squad to guide youngsters.
Kelatlhilwe explained that his tried and tested players played in influential role to the success of the team.
“Our most influential players, like Ronald Sebako, Tendai Katiyo and Olerato Phasogo, our captain's experience and guidance helped us reach the heights we achieved thus far. Sebako played for Prisons X1 in the Mascom Premier league before they were relegated.”
Apart from Sebako, Terrors lured another player with Premier League experience into their fold and the two gentlemen interviewed, described him as their talisman.
“ During the transfer window, we acquired the services of versatile player, Kwantle Onkemetse. He immediately offered us a different dimension to how we played and became our talisman due to his approach to the game,” his coach praised.
City, as he is nicknamed, came through developmental ranks of Uniao Flamingo Desportos, a development side of Gabane Premier League outfit Uniao Flamingo Santos.
“He made an immediate impact and became a morale boaster to the boys, as he has premier league experience. Our players enjoy playing with him,” he added.
He said City, had a limited game-time at Santos in premier league before he was released to Gabane United which he helped gain promotion through play-offs to NFD and Kelatlhilwe believes his experience in the play-offs will come in handy for Terrors.
“He is a dynamic player who can play anywhere in the field, from defence to upfront with ease. That has taught our players that if you want to make it in football, you cannot rely on one position, “said the coach, adding, “How he fitted in the team, one could tell of his experience and upbringing which can be attributed to development.”
Kelatlhilwe said it was not easy to clinch the title especially coming from the lower positions of the log. He added that because they were the defending champions, everyone wanted to beat them. However, both the team manager and the coach refused to concede that their success became a flash in the pan, stressing that it was the team effort from both the officials, technical team and the players, adding that players worked tirelessly as they are eager to play with the big boys in the National First Division.
Botswana in Group B for COSAFA
The COSAFA Cup 2013's draw ceremony that was held in Lusaka, Zambia, last Friday has seen Botswana being pitted against Swaziland on the first outing scheduled for July 7 and Lesotho on July 9 for the second tie. The two matches will be played in Kabwe while the third match against Kenya will take place on July 11 in the Zambian capital. Should Botswana qualify for the quarter finals, then the Zebras will take on the formidable Angola on July 14. The COSAFA Cup, which will be staged from July 6-20, has attracted teams from 14 Eastern and Southern Africa countries. The eight lowest seeded sides, according to the April FIFA World Rankings, were pooled into two groups of four sides each. The remaining six top seeds enter the competition in the quarterfinal stages, with hosts Zambia already paired against Mozambique in their last 8 clash. Group A is Tanzania, Namibia, Mauritius and Seychelles and is sure to be hotly contested, while Group B features Kenya as well as Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. The teams will play each other in a round-robin format, with the top sides in each pool advancing to the quarterfinals. Aside from Zambia taking on Mozambique, holders Zimbabwe will start the defence of their title with a clash against Malawi. South Africa will take on the winners of Group A, while Angola awaits victors in Group B. The opening game of the tournament will be played in Lusaka on July 6 when Tanzania takes on Mauritius. Matches will also be played in Kabwe and Kitwe. The COSAFA Cup returns for the first time since 2009 when Zimbabwe defeated Zambia 3-1 in the final.The COSAFA Cup was first played in 1997 as a regional championship for Southern African sides. Zimbabwe heads the honours list with four titles, while Zambia, South Africa and Angola have three each. They are the only countries to have won the event.
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