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Former Botswana President Ian Khama caused a stir during his recent Oxford Union address when he attacked the West and especially USA President Donald Trump.

Khama, who has in the past attacked Trump for encouraging poaching by overturning a ban on the import of hunting trophies, took another swipe at the US president, saying:”I do not know how Donald Trump got elected.

He is the worst president the US has ever had. I believe deep down that Donald Trump is a racist, in issues both at home and abroad,” Khama is quoted saying via a post of his speech by Oxford Union on Twitter.

The statement did not sit well with a majority of citizens who see his actions as complete sabotage of President Mokgweetsi Masisi who has recently been trying to lure US universities to invest in Botswana’s education.

Local commentators say while Masisi was in London to mend fences broken by Khama – who never fired such salvos during his tenure as president – the former president was himself undoing what Masisi was trying to repair.

In his statement, Khama is quoted further by an Oxford Union tweet to have said that countries in the West portray themselves as watchdogs of democracy and human rights “but when it comes to trade they conviniently forget.”

As for China, which Masisi visited recently to strengthen economic cooperation, Khama is quoted as having suggested that the Chinese were out to take advantage of Africa. “The Chinese attitude to investment is ‘this is Africa, let’s take advantage,’” he is quoted saying, adding that “we are not set up to employ Chinese people, but to employ our own people.”

This too has been seen as a direct attempt to undo what Masisi is planning.However, Director of Public Relations, Research and Information in the Ministry of International Affairs and Coopeation, Tebelelo Boang, said that although he could not answer for the Office of the Former President, Botswana’s foreign policy position towards China “remains unchanged” since President Masisi’s recent state visit to the Asian powerhouse.

“It is a strategic partnership built on mutual understanding,” said Boang, who recently transferred to head office from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Different commentators who saw the Oxford Union’s tweet were not amused but concurred that Khama’s sentiments are a deliberate ploy to embarrass Masisi who is trying hard to secure business deals with China.

They said it is not surprising for Khama to throw a jab at Masisi abroad as he continues to punch him on home soil.

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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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