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Unemployment rears its ugly face

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An investigation into high proportions of unemployment in the second city of Francistown by the Midweek Sun has unearthed the different faces of joblessness faced by youth.

Tshiamo Morobosi (Bachelor of Arts Mass Communication, Curtin University of Technology in Australia): “The situation of unemployment in this country is a serious concern as it breeds fraudsters who in the long run will become a thorn on the side government. Due to unemployment graduates of information technology (IT) have now resorted to cyber fraud as they use the skills they have acquired at school to rob people including the government.”

He added that most of the unemployed graduates and school drop-outs are from poor families and they get involved in crime out of desperation rather than choice. Youths are involved in criminal acts such as human trafficking, cash fraud and illicit drugs, he says.

Asked how he is surviving without a job, Morobosi said that he is using the knowledge he acquired abroad to make ends meet by helping mass media communication companies in the city on a temporary basis. “Re tshela ka di piece job ntate go kwakwaletse,” he said.

Anonymous* is a University of Botswana graduate and a confessed drug lord. He is the only child armed with a degree in his family. He was compelled by unemployment to push drugs for other drug lords until he became one of them.

“I have a Bachelor’s degree in humanities and a post graduate degree in education. After my graduation more than a decade ago, I realised that there are no teaching vacancies in this country. I was embarrassed to continue depending on my elderly mother who survived on Ipelegeng. A friend of mine from the university paid me a visit. He was driving a fancy car but was not working. He introduced me to the trafficking of Marijuana from Swaziland across South Africa into Botswana,” he revealed.

He said that although the business of illegal drug trafficking is risky he has been able to evade arrest because the police assist the culprits for a fee. ‘I have since become a drug lord and I am making money as I have also realised that even some top security officers are drug mafias. This makes our circle unbreakable.

Drugs destroy lives but we can’t just let ourselves and our children starve due to unemployment. Our graduate sisters have also been turned into sex toys. If they can’t find a job definitely they will find criminals and sugar daddies loaded with cash to support them through the rough patch of joblessness,’’ he said.

In fact even some jobless female graduates have also resorted to peddling drugs more especially cocaine, marijuana, mandrax and many others which are easy to conceal.

Mmasabata Thuso who completed her Form 5 in 2012 but could not qualify for government sponsorship did not wallow in sorrow and self-pity when face with joblessness. She decided to secretly understudy her elder sister who was a graduate in Beauty therapy and specialising in manicure.

“I noticed that my sister was always busy shaping and colouring toes and finger nails for a living and since I had nothing to do by then, I engrossed myself into studying some of her books and learning the basic aspects of shaping and decorating nails. After a very short period, I was good at the trade that most of my peers started bothering me to open a mini nail shop. I obliged and moved into town where I am currently eking out a living from nails. I have also started saving some money so that I can enroll at one of the local institutions to study for a certificate in beauty therapy with the aim of opening my own beauty and massaging spar,” she said.

Thuso’s advice to the youth is to find what they are good at doing and focus their attention on it in order to beat the stubborn monster that is unemployment.

 

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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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