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Boko lied – Mangole BMD could work with AP – Pilane

Tshepo Kehemile

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Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has disparaged Umbrella for Democratic (UDC) President Duma Boko’s utterances in which he suggested that BMD must sort out their differences before thinking of retracing their steps back to the opposition coalition.

BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole told a press briefing in Gaborone recently that they have not received anything from UDC since their expulsion late last year and dismissed as “untrue,” sentiments expressed by Boko a fortnight ago. “I heard him (Boko) saying that they told us to sort ourselves out and that is when we will rejoin the Umbrella, but that is not true.“The last letter we received from UDC was the expulsion letter and that was it, so saying those sorts of things in front of the public is not right and as things stand our case is still at court as we await their response,” he said.

Mangole began his address to the press by explaining his main reasons for stepping down from his position as Chief Whip of Opposition in Parliament. “The current political development within the ranks of the opposition makes it difficult for me to continue in that position because when I assumed this post there were still tensions within the union which is one of the factors that fuelled my resignation.

“I parted ways with them amicably as we agreed, they will soon appoint someone from either Botswana Congress Party (BCP) or Botswana National Front (BNF),” said Mangole.On the other hand, BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane said, “People will always talk about our (BMD) affairs but what I can confidently say is that we are going to win our case against UDC and come the General Elections we will all be contesting under UDC ticket as we were unfairly dismissed.”

Pilane said that UDC was given 14 days to respond to their case but they have not yet said anything. He was optimistic that UDC will have nothing to respond “as we are innocent to all those accusations they said we are facing.”

Pilane reiterated that UDC will never survive without BMD in the coalition because “we are the ones who built UDC when they accumulated more seats in Parliament back in 2014.“We (BMD) know very much how to build, we were the ones who helped BNF get the seats they acquired in Parliament in 2014 as we know how to work the ground unlike them who will be just talking with no way forward.

“I am the one who brought BCP to play and they are now ganging against us to the extent of unfairly expelling us from the coalition,” he said.Quizzed about thoughts of marriage with Alliance for Progressives (AP), Pilane said, “Yes, we once held unofficial talks with AP President Ndaba Gaolathe as they are BMD members as well, maybe something could come out, who knows but we cannot divulge anything thus far.”

BMD leadership used the press conference to welcome their new members (councillors) to the party namely; Lemogang Kalaote (who was absent) and Ezekiel Mmoloke together with their followers who seemed united and ready to work under the BMD towards the General Elections.

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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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