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Masilo back in court this week

Keletso Thobega

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Murder accused Thabo Masilo returns to court this week for submission of extenuation. In December last year the Lobatse High Court found him guilty of the 2012 murder of Tshepang Motlhabane who had just completed her form five at St. Joseph’s College.

During the ruling, Justice Abednigo Tafa said evidence indicated that the murder was premeditated. “The accused stabbed the deceased three times. If it was indeed self-defence as he claims he would not have stabbed her three times. It is without a doubt that the accused had come to the house with the intention to commit a crime,” he said.

Masilo had claimed that the deceased was his girlfriend and they had a lovers’ tiff when he demanded back his money and a cellphone he had borrowed her.

Following the ruling, Masilo’s lawyer Kgosi Ngakaagae then asked for date for submissions on extenuation, where they would present three witnesses. Masilo is already serving 15 years in jail for robbery and rape.

Meanwhile, Bakang Seretse, who is also represented by Ngakaagae, will return to court next week to hear the ruling in his money laundering case as his fight to reclaim his assets continues. Last week Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe of the Court of Appeal reserved ruling to February 15 in the matter following Seretse’s challenge to DPP over the order that put his house in Extension 11 over judicial restraint.

In another twist, Sadique Kebonang’s mother Jeanette Mooketsi had also approached the Court of Appeal to be returned her Mercedes Benz, which was seized by DPP as part of the items put under judicial restraint in the NPF legal case. Both her twin sons, Sadique and High Court Judge Zein Kebonang, are implicated in the NPF scandal largely by association for now, as the case continues in court.

Justice Gaongalelwe threw out Mooketsi’s urgent application on Friday again, saying that Mooketsi’s arguments, presented through her lawyer, Unoda Mack, on why the car should be released to her were not convincing enough. Mooketsi had claimed she needed the car as she had to travel to South Africa to seek medical attention.

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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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