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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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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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JUST PROPAGANDA

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Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has refuted claims that she is under the radar of the Financial Intelligence Agency. Dr Venson-Moitoi who pulled out of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race at the eleventh hour, was last week reported to have had her accounts frozen because she was being investigated by FIA.

It was alleged that the freezing of the accounts would have a negative bearing on her campaign as she could not access her funds. Responding to enquiries on the issue during a media briefing in Kang Village, Dr Venson-Moitoi said the allegations were far from the truth.

According to the former cabinet minister, all her accounts were clean and she was accessing her funds without any challenge. “The person who was saying all those things was lying. My accounts are clean as we speak. I was never confronted by FIA or anyone. As far as I know I am not under any investigations,” she said.

Linked to that, it had emerged that Dr Venson-Moitoi’s campaign was being funded from outside the country especially by the some rich families in South Africa. Reports then suggested that her source of funding was blocked through the intervention of FIA, and that even her accounts were frozen. She dismissed the reports as propaganda that was perhaps spread to soil her campaign.

“I am clean. This is why I am never mentioned in missing funds from National Petroleum Fund or those of Capital Management Botswana,” said the Serowe South Member of Parliament. Last month Dr Venson-Moitoi had reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi that she was not happy that she is being followed around the country by security agents.

Magosi dismissed the claims on grounds that his organisation is not the only one that uses private motor vehicles.

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