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Embattled BOMU needs forensic audit

Keletso Thobega



The legacy of Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) is being tampered with and founding members Duncan Senyatso and Spencer Sekwabale are turning in their graves over this. Former BOMU committee member Seabelo Modibe said this in an interview with The Midweek Sun on the backdrop of scandals besieging the music body.

Modibe stated that both Sekwabale and Senyatso had formed the music body because they had a bone to chew with government and wanted a body to communicate that music is a serious career and that artistes deserved legislation to protect them to benefit from their craft. Modibedi pointed out that the challenge with some individuals who ascended to BOMU committees and leadership was that they have no work to protect.

“They are not recorded artistes and also do not understand and love music. Rather, they want to be associated with music and look at it as a form of status and personal interests that have nothing to do with elevating the local music industry. They lack knowledge on the dynamics of the music industry and are only focused on self interest.” Modibedi said it was time to give younger people a chance at leading BOMU and rope in new faces. “Why can’t a guy like ATI or a lady like Amantle Brown be in the BOMU executive committee? They must understand issues from the front – chisel administrative know-how; venture into other areas as time goes by.

“It is time for a fresh lease of life. Those who have served should go home and welcome new faces of people not tainted by scandals. Public organisations should be run in the best interests of the people. Organisations should not be personalised.” Modibedi also noted that there should also be a fair audit at BOMU. “This should not be a witch-hunt against certain individuals but an investigation into the financial transactions over the last four committees. There have been too many allegations and they should be put to bed,” he said.

He added that BOMU was tainted by accusations that people not in the executive are signatories, or that the Union enters into partnerships without the knowledge of members and people clinging to power for ever. Meanwhile, another former BOMU committee member Phempheretlhe Pheto, who is also a recorded gospel artist, conceded that BOMU had been left in tatters because some individuals did not genuinely have the interests of artistes at heart. Pheto also pointed out that things would work well if the constitution is followed.

“We would not be dealing with such issues if the organisation’s constitution was followed.” Pheto also said that honorary members who could intervene cannot do so because there is no binding legislation to protect them. “As things stand they can only offer advice; they cannot intervene. But running BOMU should not be about putting friends and pushing personal self-interest agendas but empowering members and boosting the local music industry as a whole.”

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The MidweekSun Admin



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



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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