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MAYOR FINDS HIS PEARL

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When Gaborone Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe advertised his birthday party, ‘The Mayor’s Birthday Bash’ that was held last Saturday at My Kind of Place, Riverwalk, not many people knew what was on his mind. Perhaps, other than his famous Colgate smile as social media users call it, many were just looking for a night of dance and drinks with him. Those closest to him say he is generally bubbly and a great company.

But the mayor stunned people when he at some point went down on his knees proposing marriage to Botho Pearl Dipatane. In a video circulating on his Facebook page, he is heard asking the lucky woman whose life is about to change, “Please, I’m only asking you, will you marry me?” to the applause of the attendants, chanting YES! In an interview with The Midweek Sun, Thutlwe said that he had found his soul-mate.

He has always believed in having a family as he grew up in a nuclear family. He says he did the planning stage of the engagement without giving his fiancé a hint. He describes the soon-to-be Mrs Thutlwe as a God-fearing woman, his pillar of strength and a woman who believes in him and supports him. “She qualifies to be with me forever. As politicians, we need women who can run the race with us. We travel a lot hence we need women of prestige and honour. Women who will advise us,” he says.

However, he says that they have not yet set their wedding date as they have to engage their parents first. “I have to do things procedurally by paying lobola,” he says. For her part, Dipatane said that she was happy that Thutlwe proposed. She says that when they got back together this year May, the Mayor made his intentions clear that he wanted to make her his wife. “He was against engagement, saying he believes in a wedding,” she says. So when they went to the party venue last Saturday, she was just attending as a girlfriend with no expectations of a ring whatsoever.

But she says she had been unsettled when Thutlwe asked her to wear a silver watch and silver shoes that he bought for her. “At his party, he was restless throughout and I even took his phone as I wanted to ensure he enjoys his day,” she says. But again, she says she could not understand why the Mayor had no birthday cake and why he refused for her to buy it for him. “All along, he had been planning well,” she says.

So when the cake finally arrived and the Mayor was ushered to the podium to speak, he also took the chance to speak well of her and how she has impacted his life, and proposed. “My man is very romantic, has a good heart and he likes people. He’s a great man,” she says of him. Meanwhile, Thutlwe’s ex-girlfriend Kesego Maphakela who has a three year-old daughter with him says she wishes him all the best in both his personal and political life.

“He is a wonderful father to our daughter, and even though our relationship didn’t work, I know he is not a bad man,” she says, adding that she has also moved on with her life. Thutlwe also shared that they have a good mutual understanding regarding their daughter. “We respect each other. We have a beautiful princess together,” he says.

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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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