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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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‘Give us water’ campaign ups the ante

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WHITHER THE WATER: The water tanks in Molepolole have not been of any help to the residents

The ‘Give us water” campaign at Molepolole is gaining momentum. The group made up of the young and old is determined to fight for a basic need of life that has over the years proved scarce in the village – water.

The residents have gone thirsty for many years and to date, the situation remains the same. The taps have completely dried up and they survive by buying water on a daily basis.
Early last year, the people of Molepolole felt enough was enough and even petitioned Water Utilities Corporation (WUC).

According to the campaign’s Publicity Secretary Oreeditse Nyatso, WUC then responded to say that it was aware of the situation in Molepolole and would normalise things in the near future. However, that has not happened and they continue to suffer.

Seeing that things were stagnant, the campaign committee appealed to the community during the festive season to make suggestions on how best to find solutions. “Bakwena have grown impatient and it was evident during the meeting that they go to work dirty, they drink almost any drop, clean or not, to try and quench their thirst,” he said. Nyatso told this publication that the Molepolole people have lost confidence in WUC.

They were even angered by the WUC press release on the 30th of December 2018 which attributed the water challenges to power cuts. They are disappointed that the blame has now being pinned on Botswana Power Corporationn (BPC) when they have been struggling for the longest period.

Given the current situation, Molepolole is said to be planning to ask the government to bring back the Department of Water Affairs. They believe WUC has failed Molepolole dismally since it took over from Department of Water Affairs in 2011.

Another meeting with all stakeholders is slated for 26th January 2019. Meanwhile, WUC has assured residents via a press release a fortnight ago that they are working around the clock to restore the situation.

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‘It breaks my heart to see my child sick’

Keletso Thobega

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A CRY FOR HELP: Young mother Lesedi Pilane is appealing for help as she seeks to get her child healed. The liver transplant will cost P400 000

A Mochudi mother of a baby with liver disease is praying day and night for her child to get a liver transplant. A sick child is every mother’s nightmare. All one can do is hope for the best. This is the situation that 23-year old Lesedi Pilane finds herself in. Pretty with beady bright eyes and soft features, the soft-spoken mother is heartbroken by the pain and anguish that her child Rorisang Nathan Pilane endures.

Rorisang is in the progressive stage of liver disease and needs an urgent liver transplant. When Pilane spoke to The Midweek Sun yesterday, she had just returned from a check-up at Princess Marina hospital. Mother and child are currently at Deborah Retief Memorial hospital in Mochudi where baby Rorisang has been admitted since 1 January 2019. Pilane and baby have been in and out of hospital for the past few months since Rorisang was diagnosed with biliary artesia (liver disease) at three months old.

Biliary artesia is defined as a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants and is characterised by obliteration or discontinuity of the extrahepatic biliary system, resulting in obstruction to bile flow. This progressive liver problem is a chronic disease that often becomes evident shortly after birth with signs of yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice). Bile eventually builds up in the liver and damages it, leading to scarring as well as loss of liver function and tissue.

The unemployed Pilane seems overwhelmed by the situation and admits that it has been a tall order to come to terms with living with and taking care of an ill child. Pilane is however taking it all in her stride. After her child was born, she did not suspect that anything was wrong. They went for the usual six weeks check-up after birth and the nurses also gave them a clean bill of health.
“I only realised that something was wrong when the baby’s eyes started turning yellow and his urine was also dark yellow. His tummy was also stiff and slightly swollen. I found this strange and that is when I went back to the clinic.”

That is when Pilane was given a referral to Princess Marina Hospital where they confirmed that Rorisang has biliary artestia. Pilane went to register Rorisang at the transplant unit.
At four months old a Kasai operation (surgical treatments performed on children with biliary artesia) was done on Rorisang but it was not successful. They told her that operations of this nature are often done when a child is two months and below. “At Princess Marina hospital, I was told that his liver was already damaged so he needs a liver transplant. I was even told that the situation was so dire that he would live up to a year and a half.”

She did not receive any assistance. She was informed that the doctors were attending a workshop in India. After some time she was contacted and told that she could be his living donor if a donor is not found. “We did tests and everything seemed to be going well. They told me that they had taken the blood samples to a lab in South Africa but never heard from them again.” Pilane says that they were admitted at Princess Marina hospital in March last year.

In April an operation was done on Rorisang to drain bile from the liver. Rorisang was given medication to support his liver but she says it is not working as his situation is still deteriorating.
Pilane was informed that a liver transplant in India costs P400, 000 and P1.3 million in South Africa. Pilane, who is unemployed, survives off the generosity of family members, who she says have been supportive.

She says it is difficult to leave him with anyone else. “He does not cry or complain when he is sick so it is difficult for those who do not know to take care of him. I know that once he sleeps often or looks drawn then it means that he is not feeling well.” Of late, baby Rorisang has not been eating well. “He only drinks milk. He has now lost a lot of weight. Dieticians have recommended him diets and ordered him some foods but he refuses to eat and if you force him to, he actually vomits,” his mother says.

Oddly, a few months ago, baby Rorisang could gain a kilogramme per day. The doctors told his mother that this was because of water accumulation and explained that it was not good as it would compress the organs such as the lungs and make him struggle to breathe. “They said we could lose him before the operation so they suggested that he be medically tapped in order to reduce the water.” Baby Rorisang still faces medical challenges right now.

His eyes, private parts and legs are swollen but his size has reduced since the tapping. Pilane says that she is unsure what the current state is with the liver transplant. “I was told that government only funds one liver transplant patient per year. My particulars are with them so I do not know whether they will assist me.”

On Monday, Pilane was contacted and asked to come to Princess Marina Hospital for a blood test and cross match. She is praying for a breakthrough for her child and in the meantime she takes each day as it comes. “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I am stressed. I have put all my faith in God.” At the time of going to print, Pilane was still waiting for a response regarding the possibility of a liver transplant.  She has also received request to assist from a few people and has already sought assistance to get a trust fund account opened for Rorisang.

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