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BOMU descends into full-scale war

Keletso Thobega

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KICKED OUT: BOMU President Pagson Ntsie

A storm is brewing at Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) following a ruling that Pagson Ntsie is not a legitimate chairperson for the music body. The Registrar of Societies passed the ruling this week.

Arbitration award documents between Phemelo Lesokwane and others as applicants and BOMU as the respondents indicate that the 2017 AGM was not properly constituted as per Article 8.4.1: that the said AGM did not form a quorum and that the election of the current Executive Committee is declared invalid and therefore set aside.The council ruled that an interim committee be set up, chaired by the Patron (Taolo Moshaga) and assisted by three members from the respondents’ side and three members from the applicants’ side, to facilitate preparation for the next elections; and that the interim committee should work on the amendment of the constitution in consultation with BOMU membership for submission at the next AGM.

The award also stipulates that the interim committee is charged with the responsibility of arranging for a properly constituted AGM to be held by the second week of July or second week of August 2019, to elect the new Executive Committee which shall take over from the interim committee. It further states that the interim committee shall, subsequent to the elections, prepare a detailed report and submit it to the Council before end of September 2019, adding that going forward, BOMU should comply with Societies Act and follow its constitution.

Lastly, the council assumed the advisory and arbitration role in order to ensure that both parties are heard. The respondents were given 30 days in which to appeal to the High Court. The arbitration council included chairperson Festina Bakwena as well as Joseph Orebotse, Ogomoditse Matsila, Mosweu Simane, Joseph Dikgomo, Master Matlhaope, Mavis Itseng, Kebonye Moepeng and Felistus Motimedi.

Lesokwane came to The Midweek Sun offices this week and claimed that some executive members of BOMU did not want him because he always questioned the manner in which affairs were conducted. “There were instances where the Constitution was not abided by and there were no meetings from district chapters, among other issues.” Lesokwane further claimed that Ntsie took money from individuals and companies under the BOMU name. “He has brought BOMU into disrepute,” he said. He produced a letter addressed to Ntsie in February 2016, from BOMU, which among others says that Ntsie should recuse himself. Part of the letter reads:

“In view of the significant contributions by yourself towards the association’s activities, we have received unclassified excuses from yourself; the bulk of it came immediately after the just ended 7th annual BOMU awards.” The letter further states: “Already, one lawsuit is pending relating to refund from one supplier and monthly rental cheque awaiting your signature, with more likely to follow as we are busy looking for potential sponsors.”

Lesokwane said that in 2013 he was part of the executive committee but in a previous conversation, Ntsie had told this reporter that Lesokwane was suspended from BOMU for five years, which meant his suspension is set to lapse in 2021. Lesokwane conceded that while he had once been suspended, the BOMU constitution indicated that a member could be suspended for not more than 18 months.

He said in 2015, the then chairperson Phempheretlhe Pheto had written him a letter informing him that his suspension had been lifted. Lesokwane said he was loathed because he often questioned financial management in the organisation. “There was once an incident where Ntsie had travelled to Francistown for presidential awards competitions when he had P20, 000 per diem.” He said he was surprised when workers who had helped were paid with cheques. “I raised this matter with then chairperson Alfredo Mos but instead of calling a meeting I was kicked out. I was surprised to learn that I had been suspended.” Lesokwane said he queried the way BOMU was managed with Registrar of Societies and was advised to write to the arbitration council, which he did.

The case was first heard last December and then early this year, while judgment was handed down yesterday. He said that when legally perusing information on BOMU, he had established that the organisation did not file returns among other shocking revelations. Lesokwane said that all he wanted was for BOMU to be legitimate and that all affairs should be done by the book. “Pagson has a day job at GTC as a lecturer or something like that. He should focus on that and leave BOMU for people who have experience in the music industry,” he said. He added: “I am happy that I have liberated BOMU and the music industry from capture. Most artists did not take BOMU seriously because of the type of management in place.” While he had previously spoken to this reporter about sexual harassment claims levelled against Lesokwane, when contacted for comment regarding the BOMU scandal two hours later, Ntsie suddenly did not pick calls and blue-ticked Whatsapp messages.

He later sent the number of Keotshepile Motseoanageng, also known as Berry Heart, and wrote via Whatsapp: “She is now my publicist on such matters.” Motseoanageng said she would convene a meeting today (Wednesday morning) to share certain documents. When asked what the documents contained she responded: “You will see.” She would not be drawn into commenting further saying: “I will call a meeting tomorrow. I hope you don’t have a cut off time,” she said. Continued efforts to get Ntsie to comment failed as he did not answer calls nor respond to SMSes.

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

The MidweekSun Admin

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University of Botswana students are bracing themselves for the Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. Contenders are fighting tooth and nail to appease the electorate. Three camps are in contention to fill the 13 council positions.

Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) Moono-wa-Baithuti has the onerous task of defending all the 13 seats which they hauled at the last elections of 2018. “As Moono wa Baithuti, we have lots of achievements. We are on the verge of getting the student bar open, so we need to go back and fix what we started,” said UDC’s Tumelo Legase who is vying for the position of Vice President.

He said they have advocated for student empowerment policies and are also proposing a third arm of student representation. “We have the SRC and the Judiciary, what we need is the student Parliament so that we have a large number of leaders who can independently attend to problems across the university.” The dark horse in this race is the University of Botswana’s Alliance for Progressive (AP) which will take another leap of faith despite their loss in the previous election.

They are rejuvenated and redefined. Candidate for Vice President Karabo Bokwe said central to their mandate is making the welfare of the student community a priority. “We want to help eradicate school policies that border on oppression, and through new polices call for initiatives that come with enterprenuership benefits to students.”

AP candidate for Information and Publicity, a first year Criminal Justice student Gracious Selelo said they are more united than other parties even at national level. “We don’t have internal squabbles within our party, we are more focused and can deliver our mandate easily,” she noted.

However the ruling party’s BDP GS-26 will come with all guns blazing after an embarrassing defeat in the previous elections. Preparations have been made and the GS-26 is looking to take the elections by storm.

According to their Presidential Candidate Boniface Seane, they come with the message of hope that addresses the current status quo at the University.“The university is not functioning so we drew three policies that embrace inclusiveness. We want to lead collectively with the students, through the student body meetings which the previous SRCs have failed to do. “We will consult with the students with no discrimination.”

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Healthcare system to improve

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The Health ministry has developed a seven-point programme to guide the country in improving the healthcare system, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Rabashemi Madigele.

“The seven priority areas will serve as a roadmap and a guardian angel towards improving the overall healthcare system and increasing access to health care while fighting the burden of disease that confronts us,” said Madigele at Masa Square Hotel on Tuesday.

The focal areas include decentralisation; Universal Health Coverage, Tertiary Care, Strategic leveraging on the Private sector; Supply Chain; Research as well as Staff welfare and accountability.
Point-one of the seven priority areas according to Dr Madigele is about empowering the District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) and transforming them into fully fledged Regional Health Authorities.

“In this case, they will be rationalised from 27 to 18 and have the authority to hire A and B Scales, promote up to C1 and manage micro procurement,” he said. Point two is about improving the quality of healthcare services. “The main causes of mortality and their risk factors in Botswana are Primary Health Care issues,” Dr Madigele said.

He added that “Our efforts for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage should thus focus on: Prevention; Comprehensive screening; Early treatment; and Surveillance at the community.”
This he said, would require revamped grassroots efforts in which adequate numbers of community health workers through partnerships with the non-governmental sector will be deployed as necessary.

According to Dr Madigele, the top five causes of death in Botswana in 2017 were HIV/AIDS, Ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and Diabetes. He said compared to 2007, NCDs among these had increased in burden by an average of 34%. The top five risk factors related to these causes of mortality were unsafe sex; poor diet; high blood pressure; alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

Improving the quality of care, Madigele said will also include the safety and security of patients; attitudes of staff as experienced by patients; time taken in queues either before seeing a health worker or receiving medication and the availability of drugs.

Meanwhile, the health minister revealed that the commissioning of Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is ongoing with the facility scheduled for opening on April 24th. “This will be a phased approach commencing with some services including paediatric oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology and endocrinology, diagnostic radiology, laboratory services and pharmacy”.

A phased commissioning of SKMTH will reduce overdependence on South Africa for referrals, reduce costs and also institutionalise provision of super specialist services within Botswana.

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