Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas in Africa

One for the road...

With 33.8 road deaths per 100 000 inhabitants, Botswana has one of the highest road fatalities ratios in the world. Only last week, 17 people died in traffic accidents. Up to 1 December, the total number of road deaths for 2011 was 424, compared to 343 in the same period last year.
And the Festive Season is yet to start...

World AIDS Day 2011

President Ian Khama has warned that as a developing country Botswana does not have the capacity to extend free ARVs to everybody forever.
In a speech in Moshupa to mark World Aids day Khama spelled out that the only alternative is for the country to focus its efforts of the prevention of new infections.
He also pointed out that the country spends tremendous amounts of money to keep people on the treatment programme and meeting the needs of orphans.
The budget allocation this year is 981millionPula with ARVs alone accounting for 185 million Pula, while the Orphan Care program accounts for 290 million Pula.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Herd instinct

On 15 November, the rumour that a woman in a yard in Boseja had partly turned into a snake, spread through Maun like wildfire. Hundreds of people were moving to the woman's compound and taxi's had a filed day. Traffci in the area was jammed and people outside the yard demanded entrance as they 'had the right' to go and look at the snake woman. People were throwing stones and threatening to burn the house down so that the woman would have to come out. At last, someone alerted the police, who came to restore order. The crowd was so determined that the police had to use force to disperse the people. Later on, people complained the had been injured because the police had beaten them. The woman in question was an innocent elderly lady who remained mainly indoors. Incidents like these show that people are typical herd animals. Once the herd instinct sets in, there is no more individual thinking and behaviour and the mob rules. Quite scary actually...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Fuel prices up again

Fuel prices are going up again. As from midnight, 10 November, petrol is to be increased by 40 thebe per litre and diesel by 51 thebe. The price of paraffin is also to be increased by 50 thebe. I'm considering buying a cart and some donkeys...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Road needs re-surfacing after short period

The road to the new Letsholathebe II Memorial Hospital has been stripped of its asphalt surface. After having been in use for only a few years, and after constantly developing new potholes, it has been decided to re-surface the road. It would be advisable that when tenders are given out for projects like these, serious follow-up and quality control during the project and upon completion would be carried out. The present situation is embarrassing for all parties involved and a serious inconvenience to the public using the hospital. Another important question: who is going to foot the bill for this operation?

Booze Bus

The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) recently donated one of their "booze buses" to the Maun Police. These buses are fully equipped to catch drivers under the influence of alcohol where they should be caught: on the road.

Greece, the Euro and the EU

The European Debt Crisis, as it is dubbed, remains a reason for serious concern. Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy and the third largest economy in Europe, Italy, also has a serious debt problem and a sluggish economic growth.

Maun water - the continuing story...

Despite regular promises, the water situation in Maun, especially in Boseja ward, remains a serious concern.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Exit the "King of Kings"

The self-proclaimed 'King of Kings' of Africa, Muammar al Gaddafi, in absolute power of Libya since 1969, is no more. He died in his home town of Sirte on 20 October, after trying to flee while the Libyan 'rebels' took Sirte. The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear to date. The Trans National Council says Gaddafi was killed in the cross-fire between rebels and loyalists. Gaddafi's death marks the 'completion' of the Libyan revolution, which started in February this year. For Libyans, the most difficult part of the revolution now lies ahead: building up a democratic society after 42 years of dictatorship.

Runway 08

It has been announced that runway 08 on the renovated and extended Maun International Airport will soon be operational.

Wildfire season

It's that time of year again. Veldfires are raging over several parts of the country.

Lake Ngami

Lake Ngami is filled with water it hasn't seen for decades. This obviously attracts a lot of people wihing to see the lake in its full glory. Thousands of birds from many different species are also attracted by the vast body of water and many of them are nesting on the lake. A concern is that a relatively large number of people launch their boats and even jetskis on the lake, causing concern as especially the faster vessels would disturb nesting birds.

Rivers, roads, crocs and water

The cartoons above are inter-related and tell a story about recent events in Maun.The 'culvert bridge' near Sitatunga has recently completely collapsed, causing a new flash flood in the Nxutego river. This again caused hundreds of crocodiles to e washed into the Thamalakane river downstream.The road leading to Sehitwa, Ghanzi and Shakawe has been order for quite some time as a result by this.As a cherry on the cake, the Kunyere water pipeline was washed out as well, aggravating the already serious water crisis in Maun. Crocs had a field day though, until the Department of Wildlife and National Parks started culling the escapees.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Amantle takes gold.

Amantle Montsho from Maun, Botswana on Monday secured Botswana's first ever athletics world championships  gold medal on the 400m in South Korea. She beat US three time 200m champion Allyson Felix on the line in a time of 49.56 seconds.
A great achievement for an athlete from a small country with limited training facilities.

Crocs in Thamalakane river re-captured

Crocodiles, escaped from the Sitatunga croc farm, are slowly being re-captured from the Thamalakane river in Maun, Botswana..

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Exit Muammar al Quaddafi

The Sitatunga Crocodile Invasion

Julius Malema is at it again...

Candle in the wind

European debt crisis

Maun 48 hour power cut

Flood season in Maun

Africa the Beautiful

Greece financial crisis

Kgosi Tawana quits BDP

DSK trial

World Environment Day 2011

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Terminator Governator Sperminator

During his initial campaign for governor, allegations of sexual and personal misconduct were raised against Arnold Schwarzenegger, dubbed "Gropegate". Three of the six women who came forward, claimed he had grabbed their breasts, a fourth said he placed his hand under her skirt on her buttock. A fifth woman claimed Schwarzenegger tried to take off her bathing suit in a hotel elevator, and the last said he pulled her onto his lap and asked her about a sex act. Schwarzenegger admitted that he has "behaved badly sometimes" and apologized.
On May 16, 2011, the Los Angelos Times revealed that Schwarzenegger had fathered a son more than fourteen years earlier with an employee in their household. "After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued to The Times. What Schwarzenegger failed to mention was that he confessed to his wife of 25 years, a niece of President John F. Kennedy,. only after she confronted him with the information, after confirming what she had suspected about the child, in an earlier confrontation with the housekeeper.

Botswana civil service strike escalates

A few  comments on the ongoing public service strike and recent escalations resulting from it. I do not want to dwell much on whether or not the strike was justifiable to begin with. One observation on this though. In Botswana, public sector workers constitute about 40% of the total workforce. This 40% earns more than 54% of total salaries paid in the country. This implies that, on average, public sector workers are 15% better off than employees in the private sector. At the same time, the economy is trying to recover from the worldwide economic crisis caused by economic mismanagement in the West.
This being the case, public sector workers were disgruntled regarding their salaries. Negotiations on salary increments between government and unions broke down and the strike was a fact. So far so good, as everything happened within the framework of the legislation of the country. Government and unions continued failing to come to an understanding. Was there a genuine effort on both sides?  Were salary increments the only issue or was there a political agenda behind the strike as well? The strike took longer than expected, the courts ruled that certain sectors of striking workers had to return to work and the people probably hardest hit by the strike were those often referred to as our ‘future leaders’. Especially Form 3 and 5 students, who are very close to writing their crucial final examinations, were victims of the situation. Finally, their frustration and anger, possibly combined with some incitement by utterly irresponsible elements, finally led to the recent tragic events in Molepolole and elsewhere. Events that are so much unlike Botswana. Events that are in the news worldwide and have an extremely detrimental effect on our international image and on the perception of our investment climate.
The way forward? Government and unions will have to finally sit down seriously with a constructive and willing mind-set and resolve the issue in a reasonable and mutually acceptable manner. Further polarisation will obviously prove completely counter-productive. Moreover, opposition parties should refrain from further misusing the situation for their selfish, cheap and short-term political gain. Students, no matter how understandably frustrated, should behave instead of turning into a vandalising and looting mob. And if allegations that some teachers were responsible for inciting and instigating the student riots are true, those responsible are not worthy of the profession and should be severely dealt with.

Bin Laden assassinated in Pakistan

A nearly decade-long manhunt for the mastermind of the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil ended north of Pakistan's capital Monday as American commandos killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a pre-dawn firefight.
The Saudi exile had been the world's most wanted man since the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people. News of his death, announced by President Barack Obama shortly before midnight Sunday Eastern time, drew cheering crowds to the streets of New York and the gates of the White House.
Bin Laden's identity was confirmed by a DNA test and his remains were disposed off at sea. No picture of his remains have been released. Relations between the USA and Pakistan cooled after the event. The USA operated completely uni-laterally without informing Pakistani authorities. A lot of questions have been raised on how Bin Laden managed to hide for years in a city not far from the Pakistani capital, a city with a prominent military academy for that matter.
With Obama's approval ratings in the USA at an all-time low before the assassination, it came at an extremely convenient time for the US preident.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Stalemate in Libya

Just a month after the United Nation Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 and the subsequent successful imposition of a no-fly-zone over Libya, the situation seems to have developed into a military stalemate.
Even without fighter aircraft, forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi have consolidated their positions in central and western Libya. Ill-equipped and largely untrained opposition forces are desperately defending Misrata, the only rebel-held city in the west of the country, which is relentlessly shelled by pro-Gaddafi forces.
Meanwhile, the US has withdrawn their fighter jets from the international air campaign in the country. With Obama’s approval ratings at an all-time low, the president seems to want to make the point that the US does not need to take the lead in every international military operation that does not directly involve vital US interests. Apart from that, Obama wants to concentrate on the domestic US agenda, on which he is building his re-election effort, and the very last thing he needs is another Iraq or Afghanistan.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Dutch mall shooting

On 09 April a 24 year old Dutchman entered a busy shopping mall in Alphen, the Netherlands - took out an automatic weapon and randomly fired over a 100 rounds around him. He then shot himself in the head. Six other people died on the spot.

These are stories we expect to come from the USA, where anyone over 18 can buy a shotgun or rifle.
The Netherlands have tough firearms regulations. The young man was member of a shooting club and was licensed to posses 3 firearms, but only single-shot arms.  Furthermore, he had been in contact with the judiciary as a teenager and was known to have been suicidal in the past. The question now is: why had his license not been revoked?

Monday, 11 April 2011

Public Service strike looms...

Negotiations to come to an understanding concerning public service payments adjustments seem to have arrived at a deadlock. Unions demand a 16% rise - government has offered 2%, 'an insult' according to the unions. A full public service strike is scheduled to take off on 18 April.

 Meanwhile, with 40% of total workforce in the public sector (and 54% of total wages paid), Botswana's public service sector is too large, weighing down the economy and, in some areas, directly competing with the private sector and inhibiting it in its development.

Friday, 8 April 2011

"Our dear son....."

Muammar al Gaddafi writes a letter to Barack Obama regarding the Libya crisis, telling him that "despite of what had happened, Obama would always remain his son" and wishing him good luck in the upcoming presidential elections.Obviously, he also asked for an end to the NATO strikes against Libyan troops. Meanwhile, the situation in Libya seems to be going stalemate.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A guiding light

Dozens upon dozens of street lights are being installed in Boseja ward, Maun. At first thought a welcome and necessary development. Many people bring forward some setbacks as well though. Firstly, the budget of North West District Council has been cut by 47%. Was this really a high-priority project? Secondly, in this time of electricity being a scarce commodity, in which residents have to deal with regular power-cuts, was this the right timing? Further, the poor state of maintenance of existing street lights elsewhere in town does not bode well for the future of the new ones. Lastly, the positioning very close to the road and Maun driving promises to be a bad combination. In fact, the first of the new light posts was already knocked over in the evening of 31 March.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Zebras qualify for Africa Cup of Nations 2012

The Botswana Zebras are the first team to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), joining the hosts, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Botswana has never before qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations since its inception in 1957.

The Zebras beat Chad 0 - 1 (Jerome Ramatlhakwane - 52nd minute) in N’Djamena yesterday, thereby securing a place in the 2012 event. In group K, it is now up to Tunisia and Malawi to battle it out for the second ticket in group K.
The Zebras maintain their unbeaten status in group K and beat 2004 AFCON champions Tunisia both at home and away. Well done Zebras!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Cops 'n' robbers

This week, 2 Maun police constabels appeared before the Maun Magistrate Court, charged with office breaking and theft. They are alleged to have broken into North West District Council revenue offices last year and having stolen  BWP522 948 in cash.
For years, inhabitants of Maun have been complaining about the corruption among officers in the Police Services. If it now turns out that some members of the Service are nothing but common thieves, it will become more difficult to treat officers with respect the next time we run into a speed trap.

Monday, 21 March 2011


After having pushed the UN and the West for over a week to intervene and impose a no-fly zone in Libya, the Arab League, within 24 hours of the first allied strikes on Libya, now condemn the actions as not what they had in mind. What did they think imposing a no-fly zone entailed? Delivering a copy of UNSC 1973 to Gadaffi and politely ask him to ground his air force?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Libya ceasefire

The comments in the cartoon below were all made (either by Gadaffi himself or his foreign minister and notorious terror mastermind, Moussa Kousa) within 24 hours after the UN Security Council resolved to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

Hours after the UN resolution became public, Muammar al Gadaffi reacted with threatening to attack passenger traffic over the Mediterranean. Soon later, his foreign minister declared a complete ceasefire in the country - as "Libya takes great interest in protecting civilians".

Meanwhile, Friday and Saturday reports from Libya inform us that shelling in rebel-held cities of Benghazi and Ajdabiya continues.
If he ever had any, the "Donald Duck of North Africa" is losing credibility extremely quickly...

Friday, 18 March 2011

UN Security Council resolves to impose no-fly zone over Libya

After a strong request by the Arab League, supported by Britain, France and Lebanon, the U.N. Security Council on Thursday paved the way for international air strikes against Muammar al Gadaffi's forces, voting to authorise military action to protect civilians and impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

The vote was 10-0 with five countries abstaining, being Russia and China (which have veto power in the council), along with India, Germany and Brazil.
With so many other long-time dictatorial and oppressive regimes around the world, which however are not major oil producers, the motivation behind this step is questionable at least…

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Japanese Trojan horse

Many scientists, including 'green' ones, believe nuclear energy is the only real alternative once petroleum and natural gas resources run out. The vulnerability of nuclear power to natural disasters, such as illustrated in Japan, makes one wonder...

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day 2011

Happy Women's Day to all mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives on this day!
Unfortunately, there are millions upon millions of women around the world who, for a variety of reasons (political, religious, cultural, economic), are not at all in a position to celebrate their femininity today.
A lot remains to be done...

Monday, 7 March 2011

North West District Councillors have extended lunch.

A full council meeting of the North West District Council in Maun had to be adjourned because too few councillors returned from lunch to form a quorum. They later blamed the Secretary of the meeting for not counting himself when ascertaining whether or not there was a quorum.
Very professional gentlemen! You are making those who elected you proud...