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Ndaba’s party will be called Botswana Peoples’ Movement

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The Ndaba Gaolathe-led faction of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is on the verge of registering a new party, this publication has learnt. One of the names which will be submitted to the Registrar of Societies is the Botswana Peoples’ Movement (BPM). “Almost everything is in place now.

Even the constitution of the party is ready. What remains is for the party to be registered,” said a BMD member who belongs to the faction commenting on condition of anonymity. Asked whether there is a need for a new party when the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is working on reconciling the Gaolathe-led and Sidney Pilane-led factions, the source said that the steps that have been taken so far in the direction of the formation of the new party were informed by lack of trust in the UDC. “Some people in our faction do not trust the UDC to handle the matter expeditiously and professionally,” revealed the source who noted that, in the opposition cooperation talks, the UDC leadership has shown a bias towards the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) at the expense of especially Gaolathe and his faction.

“The UDC may either delay the reconciliation process or mishandle the whole thing to collapse the BMD so that the constituencies awarded to us are then given to the BCP,” he continued. The source also added, it is imperative to form the party so that if the reconciliation process fails leaving only the court option, the Gaolathe-led faction will coalesce into a fully-fledged party with its own identity and possibly then affiliate to the UDC. It is alleged that in the formation of the new party, Gaolathe and company are being encouraged by, not only members of the faction but by disgruntled members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and those of some opposition parties.

“The Barataphathi faction will not reconcile with their party. They intend to prevent Mokgweetsi Masisi from becoming the next President. They are pressuring Gaolathe to form the party which they will then join. If the situation allows it, the party will then join the UDC,” explained the insider. He said that several BDP Councillors and Members of Parliament (MPs) are ready to join the party. “If things go their way, the party will not join the UDC because they may not be allowed to contest unchallenged even if they are incumbent.

The UDC has got its own people but with the new party they have a better chance of contesting,” said the source. He revealed that a section of the Botswana National Front (BNF) activists who are not happy with Duma Boko’s leadership of both the BNF and UDC, will break away and join the new party. “As for the Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP), some in the leadership are ready for its dissolution. Its members, if things go according to plan, will become some of the founding members of the new party,” said the source who indicated that should the UDC not solve the BMD impasse by end of this month, all the processes to register and announce it will be put in motion immediately. Secretary General of the faction, Phenyo Butale, was cagey about the allegation.

“That is baseless speculation. Our focus is on the reconciliation efforts by the UDC,” was all he could say. He however admitted that he is aware of the allegation that his faction is registering a party. At a press conference in Francistown recently, president of the UDC, Duma Boko said he was not aware of the plans by the BMD-Gaolathe faction to form a party. The UDC is currently in mediation efforts between the Gaolathe led and the Sidney Pilane-led BMD factions.

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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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