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They were deeply in love

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When Mpho Teseletso saw Stephen Ramoshabati Mokgalagadi and his girlfriend Daisy Mogojwe this past Saturday night at the bars in Block 6, he did not know that in a few hours he would be seeing their bodies burnt.

At least that is what he tells The Midweek Sun reporter YVONNE MOOKA and photographer BOTSANG MOITOI. The horrific death of the youthful couple has left the nation reeling in shock.
According to Teseletso, Mokgalagadi and his girlfriend were an inseparable pair that enjoyed their beer. He says Mokgalagadi was a respectful mechanic who was loved by all for his friendly character. “They were very much in love and wherever he was, they were always together. Teseletso’s face turned pale as he spoke about seeing the couple after a few hours, burnt to ashes in their one-roomed house. “I saw them happy together and I also saw them dead beyond recognition. It’s so sad,” he says.

Upon arrival at the scene on Sunday morning when the incident was reported, The Midweek Sun crew found people gathered in front of the yard. Gaborone West Police officers and fire men were moving up and down to remove the burnt bodies. It was quite tense. People were restricted from entering the yard where the bodies lay inside the house. Smoke was still smouldering. Unfortunately, entry was restricted to the police and firemen only. “We cannot allow you to come inside the yard because this is still a fresh incident and very sensitive,” said G. West Police Station Commander Supt. Onious Madziba. He said the incident was reported to them around 6am on Sunday but would not divulge any further details as they were still trying to identify the deceased and to locate their families.

They were in love

The Midweek Sun was back at the scene on Monday where neighbours spoke about the couple. Contrary to the conflict and suicide theories that some suggested, a neighbour, Lorraine Baitshoki, dismissed all as not plausible, saying the two were deep in love, and that she saw them every day happy and drinking together. Even on Saturday, she saw them drinking in front of their house with a man who stays in their rented two and half house. The Midweek Sun learned that the couple was staying in Mogojwe’s house that she inherited from her late mother.

She was working for Ipelegeng while Mokgalagadi was a mechanic. “It looked like they had money that day because they had been drinking since Friday. On Saturday, they were drinking in front of their house with their tenant,” she says.

She caught wind of a horrible odour around 5am and did not know where it was coming from. She woke up, went outside to find out where it could be coming from. “I was met by their tenant breaking their door. Their house roof was on fire. He was shouting that people have burnt inside the house. And he rushed to fetch water trying to put off the flames on Mogojwe’s body, who was lying lifeless behind the door, with no hands and legs on her,” she said. She then phoned the police and fire department.

Baitshoki’s take is that the couple was over-drenched in alcohol, and may have left the candle burning. Her suspicion is that the burning candle was near the cylinder gas, which fuelled the fire. “I think they were killed by the strong smoke. From the look of things, the man had tried to escape through the window but couldn’t. He was in a worse state as with him it was only bones left,” she said.

By Monday, the smoke from the house could still be felt in the air. People still came to see for themselves. There was a small gas cylinder, some water bottles and everything inside was literally burnt.
Superintendent Madziba told The Midweek Sun on Tuesday that Mogojwe was 36 and Mokgalagadi, 41. The former was from Metsibotlhabe and the boyfriend from Mahalapye. He said that the fire department had taken samples to investigate the cause of the fire. The police boss advised people to be careful when using candles. “Don’t place it near risky house items as they may catch the flame. And put it off before going to bed,” he said.

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U=U campaign packaging a headache for BHP, Ministry

Rachel Raditsebe

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TRICKY AFFAIR: Dr Joseph Makhema is still cautious on the matter of declaring the Undetectable to be Untransmittable

While there is no denying the proven science that an HIV positive person whose HIV viral load cannot be detected cannot transmit it to an HIV negative person, it is how that message is packaged and delivered to the public that is proving to be a difficulty.

This is according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) Dr Joseph Makhema.Internationally, the Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) campaign, has gained ground as scientific consensus has united around the concept that being undetectable means being unable to transmit HIV. The campaign has been endorsed by more than 350 HIV organisations from 34 countries, including leading scientific and medical organisations such as the International AIDS Society (IAS), UNAIDS, and the British HIV Association (BHIVA).

By taking HIV treatment consistently and on time, the HIV virus in the blood (also known as viral load) and other bodily fluids gets to undetectable levels. The drugs work by controlling the replication of HIV in the body by reducing the virus’ ability to make copies of itself.

“The drugs slow down the damage that the virus does to the immune system and allow people to live long, productive lives like everyone else without succumbing to the disease. These drugs are tremendously valuable in giving an excellent quality of life and preventing HIV transmission. There is absolutely no doubt that HIV treatment has revolutionised AIDS,” Dr Makhema explained.

However, he said for now BHP and the Health Ministry are still looking at the context and messaging of U=U and how to package it for the public. This, he explained is because, there are situations whether of illness, for example if someone has flu, they can get an exacerbation of viral rebound.

Or somebody gets a gastro intestinal disorder and they have diarrhoea or vomiting, they cannot keep the medication in their system. This would mean they are not fully able to keep the virus fully supressed and they can rebound.

“So we really don’t know at this point in time, we really need to have research done so that we are able to know how we are going to package and share the U=U messaging with the general public,” stated Dr Makhema.

According to Dr Makhema, the only time he would ever give anyone the go ahead to have unprotected sex is only if there was a test where before each sexual act, a person can check their viral load.
Until then he insists on condom use even with the other HIV prevention tools currently available like Safe Male Circumcision and more recently, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

“While we have got the tools to not only end the fear of HIV, but to end it as an epidemic, it’s important how we package that information so that our people really understand how they work,” Dr Makhema said.

Citing the condom as an example, Dr Makhema said that new infections are still high even though condoms are cheap, readily available and have been proven to be over 99 percent effective if used correctly at not only preventing HIV infection but also other sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Overall, Dr Makhema said there was need for clear guidance on how individuals should be advised on using “treatment as prevention” as a safer sex option and this should be combined with renewed efforts to encourage condom use.

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Know your Candidate

BNF’s prodigal son, Koosaletse is back

The MidweekSun Admin

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ASPIRING MP: Otlaadisa Koosaletse

As 2019 is a year of the country’s General Elections, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) aspiring parliamentary candidate for Kanye North Constituency, Otlaadisa Koosaletse advises Batswana to be serious with their votes and vote legislators who will represent them well.
Koosaletse will be contesting for the area with the Botswana Democratic Party candidate, Thapelo Letsholo. The Midweek Sun reporter, Onneile Setlalekgosi interviewed the UDC candidate.

Q. Good Day Rre Koosaletse. Kindly share your political background.
A. I started politics at a very young age around the1970’s. I became instrumental in forming Botswana National Front (BNF) youth chapter which was called Botswana Youth Federation in 1976-1977 in Lobatse.
My breakthrough in politics was in 1994, when there were problems within the BNF. I ran for position of area MP under the opposition ticket and won comfortably. When BNF split in 1998 I left with others to form Botswana Congress Party. In 2001 I was elected second president of the BCP, which I led for four years.

Q. Why did you decide to stand for Kanye North Constituency?
A. One of the reasons I stood for the constituency is that I have a general belief that the whole area has been neglected by the ruling party for a long period. The culture of side-lining developments has triggered me to stand for the constituency.

Q. You are contesting to be a legislator representing Kanye North. In your view what are the duties of an area MP and what should your constituents expect from your representation?
A. Duties of the area MP involve being able to live closer to the constituents so that you are able to address their problems. There is an issue of developments and distribution of services, it is sad that there’s special economic zones and there is none in the area I am representing.
Special economic zones can foster and nurture developments which can create jobs. I will ensure that the area gets a fair share budget of the developments. Kanye North has no access roads, Moshana, Lekgoloboto, Ntlhantlhe and other surrounding areas are not connected to the clinics or schools, and the role of the area MP is to fully represent constituents in all aspects.

Q. What are the national priority issues you would want to take to parliament?
A.Issue of corruption, if we do not fight corruption in this country, we will end up being like any other republic that were once rich but now poor. I believe in the levelling of the playing field in politics, I think it is time that Botswana joins other 14 SADC countries which have political party funding.
It is sad that Botswana with its economy and Zambia are the only two countries in SADC without political party funding and that deprives people of good representation from their MPs because of financial instability if it does not happen, it will end up in whoever being financially stable going to parliament even when they are not right candidates.
The other priority is agro-based, that is our produce from the field. I do not believe in food security, I believe in food self-sufficiency, Batswana should be able to produce their own food.

Q. There has been an outcry from the Kanye community that they need a hospital. Do you think Kanye needs a hospital and if so why?
A. Yes, Kanye needs a new hospital. The old hospital (Kanye Adventist Day Hospital) has no room for expansion and it cannot accommodate the growing Kanye population anymore.
Even if the government can pump money into the hospital, there is no way it can ever expand due to many buildings near it. My contention is to fight for a district hospital if it happens that I win during the upcoming elections.

Q. What is your view on corruption and institutions put in place to fight it?
A. Corruption has been rampant in the country. Agencies put in place to fight corruption are now after petty issues such as arresting people for similar vehicle number plates, than focusing on fighting bigger issues of corruption such as economic crime.

Q. There has been a general problem of youth unemployment, how are you prepared to address it?
A. Unemployment is a very serious issue, but our economy is a jobless economy. The way to fight youth unemployment is not a way to throw a carrot at the youths and say they can all do tenders. I do not think enough has been done to help the youth. Even the shopping complexes are not youth friendly as they are expensive to rent.
Things have to be changed first. The economy does not cater for the youth. There are many graduates and skilled people and Botswana is not fully known in exporting skilled labour to other countries. Youth are exploited in such a way that at times multitudes of the youths compete for one tender job, which only generates revenue for the government by buying the tenders.  But I am going to address it seriously if I get to parliament.

Q. Education results have been declining throughout the country, how are you going to address the low pass rate in your area?
A. It is very serious that at this time we still have declining standards in Education results, by now the country should have learnt from the past mistakes which I believe will bring good results in Education.
I will ensure Education is taken seriously within the village, parents should be able to understand academic strength of children and make sure they offer them support where possible.

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