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PPP weeps again

Yvonne Mooka

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Former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Tonota South Member of Parliament Pono Moatlhodi was at it again last Saturday when he cried in front of multitudes gathered at Semotswane Primary School.

It was prize giving ceremony for pupils and PPP, as Moatlhodi is affectionately known, was among the invited dignitaries. The guest speaker at the event was Tonota resident Gosaitse Lemeku, a 31 year-old who grew up poor and raised single-handedly by his mother. Lemeku said his family was the laughing stock of the village with a dilapidated house that was closed with a dustbin as they had no money to buy a decent door. His mother could not afford to buy him school uniform and other items required at school. “I was the poorest among the rest at school. My mother was not working and life was hard, but I was determined to excel and change her situation,” he said.

All the while, Moatlhodi was listening attentively. The young man would then pause and become emotional as he spoke about how PPP played a major role in his life. He said that the former MP managed to convince social workers that he qualified for welfare support.

‘’They had rejected me saying my mother was alive and active and that she should work, but you see this man here, he went all out to ensure they enrol me under their programme. They listened to him. Rre Moatlhodi also bought me a school cup branded my name, and food basket whenever he visited me at school. He also gave me P300 to look for tertiary institution after my Cambridge,” said the Limkokwing University BSc in Information Technology graduate.

At this time, PPP had moved from his chair and knelt down as if praying with folded hands. As Lemeku continued to express gratitude, PPP who could no longer control his tears from rolling down his cheeks stood up and went and hugged him. He would then go back to his seat and continued crying.

In a later interview with The Midweek Sun, Moatlhodi spoke fondly of Lemeku. “He has always been a hard worker and highly determined with a positive mindset. He is a serious visionary and I see him taking this nation far. Even though his upbringing and family background were tough, he never let anything deter him from achieving his dreams. I get emotional thinking about him,” he said, adding that he convinced social workers to help him with school uniform and food basket.

Moatlhodi is famous for crying easily. He wept openly as his uncle Joseph Montsho was chased away from a Botswana Democratic Party meeting in 2008. In 2015, he cried when he explained the struggle the residents of Jamataka endured to attain village status in 2001.

Lemeku owns an IT company called Lemeku Trackers Technology which deals with ICT solutions and general supplies. He also runs Gosa Motors which sells cars and Mind Space, a construction company. He has adopted several schools in Tonota and assists with sponsorship during events. Meanwhile, Lemeku advised students to keep working hard and to focus on their studies. He called on parents to take active participation in their children’s education. Obakeng Sengwaketse of ‘Se tengsediba’ hit entertained the guests.

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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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