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The perils of parenting a special needs child

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Leadership & Business Coach Hannah Lecha spends much of her time reaching out to parents of children with disabilities. She knows how overwhelming it can be because after all, she is raising a daughter who is epileptic. “About six years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with meningitis just before she turned 3 years old. “Our lives have never been the same, ever since. Three years post the meningitis diagnosis she was further diagnosed with epilepsy.

She has since regressed in her speech, language skills, auditory processing skills and exhibits a whole array of other developmental delays,” shares Lecha. She adds that parenting a disabled child usually involves a great deal of patience and can be very time-consuming. No one makes a plan to parent a special needs child. “The child simply arrives and the day she does is heart-rending and life as you know it is redefined for you,” she says.

The Maun based mother laments feelings of doubt and hopelessness at what the future has in store for her daughter. Her struggles launched her into the role of Executive Director of the Hannah Lecha Foundation. The organisation empowers and conducts training so parents know of available resources to help their children grow. This includes knowledge of public laws and individualised education plans to target a child’s specific needs.

Recently she partnered with Ambrose Trust to host a workshop titled: ‘Giving your special needs child a chance to thrive,’ at the University of Botswana. She explains, “These parents need a level of support that is difficult to give if you haven’t been in their shoes. The understanding that was shared during the workshop was very powerful. “It was especially helpful because these parents are very isolated and despite information that may be available, still end up feeling as if their struggles are unique and represent their failures as parents”.

Furthermore, she says that parents often find themselves wrapped in the struggle of raising special needs children and strive to do everything they can to support them. “We love them unconditionally and protect them at every turn. Sometimes, in the midst of this love and protection, we end up limiting our children and affecting their development,” she said. In the meantime, programmes for those with developmental disabilities remain fragile.

Medical aids specifically, she says, need to be held to task to offer more support to children with special needs. “I have had to open two medical aid schemes just so I can up the cover for my daughter, still it’s not enough”.While children with special needs do not come with manuals, Lecha says the best thing a parent can do is to accept the reality of their child’s condition and not hide them, they should allow themselves to grieve and finally learn and implement some tools to empower themselves and their children to thrive against all odds.

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VACANCY: President of the UDC

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Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Advocate Sidney Pilane says Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) does not have a President.

He revealed this week that UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko was given the leadership of the coalition on a temporary arrangement. Advocate Pilane who was addressing the media this week, following the expulsion of his party from the UDC stated that in the buildup to 2014 general elections it was agreed that Advocate Boko should be presidential candidate for UDC, an arrangement that ended at the time when the UDC lost the 2014 general elections.

“It was decided that Botswana National Front (BNF) should be given the presidency so that Advocate Boko could be our presidential candidate. The late Gomolemo Motswaledi of BMD was to be his running mate. We made this arrangement in preparation to taking over state power.

So, all that has passed, we contested and lost so it is all in the past,” said the BMD leader. He stated that constitutionally, the UDC has no president because the president has to be elected during the UDC elective congress. Advocate Pilane pointed out that UDC according to the Constitution should hold its congress every three (3) years.

He stated that even all the members of UDC National Executive Committee have to be elected at the congress and as it stands, “there is no president or Vice Presidents because they were not voted into those positions.”

Advocate Pilane said instead of building the UDC brand their colleagues at Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front have resorted to petty issues. He told the media that the leadership of the two parties have taught their members to insult BMD leadership and its members on social media and any other forum.

He had no kind words for the BCP, calling the party a divisive party that thrives on insults and divisive tendencies. He said the BCP leadership had encouraged its foot soldiers to use social media to insult him and members of the BMD.

According to Advocate Pilane, these are some of the things that have made the two parties remain in opposition for far too long without even coming close to toppling the ruling party. He described them as dishonest people who will plunge the country into chaos and that is why Batswana do not want to give them power.

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VIDEO: A Gaborone hotel Prophet caught in the act

Yvonne Mooka

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In a matter that closely resembles that of a South African Cabinet Minister, Melusi Gigaba’s masturbating video clip, a visiting Zimbabwean Prophet, Ronald El Melchizedek of Altar of Grace this week denied that he has been sending nudes to church sisters and demanding same from them.

In fact, the ‘man of God’ has earned himself the name, ‘Botswana’s Omotoso’ by girls that allege he has sexually exploited them. Pastor Timothy Omotoso is a Nigerian clergyman accused of sexually exploiting over 30 young girls from his church in South Africa.

“He is an Omotoso and even though they hide it at his church, some of us have received messages from him asking for our nudes. Actually, he has asked for my nudes several times,” says one church sister.

The Midweek Sun has gotten hold of a 34 seconds video clip of the youthful prophet playing with his manhood. Looking like he is in a hotel room, the man stands fully naked in a muted video that, depicts him speaking and teasing the recipient. In a standing position, he starts off by caressing his manhood, giving it a close up and ends up lying on the bed, facing up.

At least three young women say they received the video from the prophet and that he usually asks for nudes from them. One of them actually says he has been pestering her, demanding to have sex with her. “He likes to send me messages of how horny he is for me. But again, he likes asking for nudes from women.

Even married women at his church have fallen victims of his sexual harassment. I left the church because he disgusted me by doing such things yet calling himself a man of God,” she says.

The woman however says that Melchizedek, a Zimbabwean who holds services at Gaborone Hotel when he is in the country, is a man of accurate prophecies. “He moves mightily in the prophetic but he likes harassing church sisters. It is known in his church. He is married but controlled by the spirit of lust,” she says.

The Prophet responds
Melchidezek told The Midweek Sun that he was aware of the video of him doing the rounds through WhatsApp, but was quick to label the whole thing a scam.“Yes we are aware. Those are scammers from Benin who hacked into my wife’s Facebook account and phone and stole our videos and pictures. So they wanted to blackmail us and we refused, that is why they are doing that.

It is just an effort to harm the work of God but God is in control,” he told The Midweek Sun. He would not be drawn into responding to, or even discussing the allegations levelled against him by church sisters, but instead gave this reporter a mobile number of a person he said was his wife.

The said woman confirmed that the video was posted by scammers. “That was done by scammers. We have reported them to Benin police,” she said. She however would not give the name of the police station nor go into further details.

This incident follows on last week’s revelations reported by this publication, where several girls spoke anonymously about pastors, prophets and ‘men of God’who were using them sexually in church. Many were uncomfortable to reveal their names, forcing this paper to also conceal the identies of the accused churches and pastors involved in the dirty acts in the name of God.

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