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Boko warns of a surprise outcome on BMD fracas resolutions



The leader of the opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) who doubles as the President of the opposition coalition of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko, has dared journalists and political activists during a press conference on Saturday that UDC will rise to the occasion with a surprise outcome in the current scenario of infightings at the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).

His sentiments follow hard on recent news that the warring factions at BMD might end up with a new political party being formed. Already, some political skeptics have said that it will take a steep mountain climb to reconcile the two BMD warring factions. A source who was present at the BMD resolution discussions in Francistown confided to The MidweekSun that Boko’s migraine lies in the fact that the Sydney Pilane-led BMD faction will never accept a re-run or a special congress under any circumstances, whereas the Ndaba Gaolatlhe faction is calling for fresh elections before reconciliation.

To support the source’s allegation, BMD’s national chairman under Pilane faction Nehemiah Modubule has informed this publication that they will never have a congress re-run as theirs was constitutional. The source continued that another thorn in their flesh is Botswana People’s Party (BPP) who seem to be hell bent on having the UDC support the Ndaba-led BMD faction and disregard the Pilane faction.

“This places Boko and Saleshando between a hard place and a rock to make a choice. BPP also regards Saleshando as a gate crusher since they haven’t signed any memorandum of association with UDC, something which irks BPP to the core as they feel side-lined, hence their decision to bed the Ndaba BMD faction,” the source said. Surprisingly, Boko was quick to point out that news making rounds that UDC is in disarray is nothing to be scared of as people have not seen anything yet at UDC.

He said that the UDC has recovered enough from its headache hence their decision to finally hold a resolution meeting on BMD fracas. “I have to make the following observations. In the last weeks, news headlines alleged that UDC was in disarray. Now I have to inform you journalists, activists and all you smiling faces that carry hope and inspire courage that the story lines attempted to paint a very gloomy picture concerning the UDC, and I wondered in which planet they live since the UDC I inhabit is alive and well; and it is also vibrant and I won’t repeat it again as you will bear witness when activities unfold to show the nation that the party is alive,” Boko said.

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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



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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