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Prof. Mokgwathi’s UB exit certainly imminent

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The Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs at the University of Botswana Professor Martin Mokgwathi has been suspended from work. At press time, it was not immediately clear if the suspension was for his recently reported allegations of plagiarism and academic dishonesty, or for incompetence as the arm of the university that he leads is said to be inefficient.

Efforts to confirm reasons for the Tuesday morning suspension hit a snag as Director of Public Affairs Mhitshane Reetsang’s phone rang unanswered. While there has been recent allegations of plagiarism that took place last year during the orientation for the University freshmen, information gathered by this publication is that Vice Chancellor Norris could be the one who actually pulled the suspension trigger for incompetence, instead of the University Council that is also reported to have been having an issue with the UB administrator. And now sources close to the matter say Mokgwathi could soon be shown the University’s exit door.

The decorated Professor is currently on a free fall and it seems like there will be nothing to catch him. Addressing students this week, Vice Chancellor Professor Norris promised to do away with any officer deemed incompetent.

UB is expected to release a statement soon. “We have had some cases before, most perpetrators have been shown the door. Plagiarism is an academic crime so we take it very seriously at the University. We have had cases here. Some people have been suspended others have been fired over the years, but recently they have all been fired.“Recently two other individuals were accused of plagiarism and the investigations proved that they haven’t plagiarised, the process that was followed was more of victimisation than anything else but with this issue it’s a lot more different,” the source whispered.

Mokgwathi’s number also rang unanswered, but last week in an interview with The Midweek Sun he could only say the plagiarism matter was internal, before referring this reporter to the Public Affairs Director.

Mokgwathi was appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs in January 2016. He succeeded Professor Lydia Saleshando who left at the end of 2015 when her contract expired. Mokgwathi has been with the University since 1986 and boasts a wealth of experience.

He is also celebrated for crafting and establishing the Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation in 1998 for which he became Director until 2000 when he left to become Head of Department of Physical Education.

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

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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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