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President Masire’s grandson, Eno, speaks politics, patriotism and relationship with Ndaba Gaolathe

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When he took to the podium and spoke at the funeral of his grandfather, former president Sir Ketumile Masire, Eno Mwaba undoubtedly caused most people to sit up and listen. Poised and articulate in the Queen’s language, he belied confidence and proved to be quite the storyteller; he held the spellbound attentive audience captive as he regaled them with anecdotes about his relationship with Masire. A few hours later, he was “trending” on social media. Here was this cute young guy who is #bae goals – confident, handsome, well-read, well-travelled and educated.

The Eno tagging and swooning went on for a few days thereafter. Nearly six months after the funeral, this reporter finally caught up with him after a bit of a chase. First things first: What does ‘Eno’ mean, I ask. He says that he was told that it means ‘listen.’ Strangely, he insists that whatever it means, that it is a Setswana name. During his speech at Masire’s funeral, Mwamba, who is still based overseas, insinuated that he would like to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather as well as his mother, Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwaba and be active in leadership. His response is well-calculated and intelligent. “Botswana politics is something I have grown up with all my life. Dinner table conversations were always dominated by current political affairs.

I believe there is simply no denying that politics is in my blood, so I shall definitely be active. It’s every citizen’s responsibility to be politically engaged, and ensure they hold their leaders accountable for their actions,” he says. He waxes philosophically when asked whether he would follow in the footsteps of his grandfather. “Sir Ketumile Masire was a gentleman, a statesman, a God-fearing man and a humble man. His virtues and values helped build the infrastructure, and environment conducive for economic prosperity, hence Botswana was the fastest growing economy in the 1980’s during his presidency. “What a legacy, and one I certainly do look up to for inspiration. His memory and legacy is what motivates me to work so hard!

I am extremely proud of him, so I will ensure that my life is one that does his legacy justice, and permits other people to feel similar pride in me,” he says. Mwamba points out that he is a keen networker who has engaged most of our local politicians and other top brass. In fact, he says Alliance for Progressives leader Ndaba Gaolathe is his mentor and a family friend. “We are close. I respect him, and love engaging with him.” Mwamba is patriotic and says Botswana has potential to grow, provided we keep on par with global changes.

“Economies of the past are being rendered redundant through various technological advances; just look at what the digital camera did to Kodak? “Therefore if Botswana is to compete, we need to ensure our people are technologically engaged. We are landlocked, so our manufacturing and exporting industries will always have a subtle dependency upon our international relations. Technology is the future, and such advantages in this space, is where we will advance into excellence.” Mwamba says that he is a proud Motswana and the one thing he appreciates about Batswana is that they are loving people. He comes from an interesting lineage of leadership (Sir Ketumile Masire) and what important lessons has he learnt from him? He responds: “My grandfather once said to me, that the definition of prime minister draws its origin from the Latin phrase primus inter pares, which basically means first among equals. He went on to explain how the term minister in the biblical sense, basically equates to servant.

“Therefore one should see prime minister, as the first servant, as all leaders are servants to their people. This was the first lesson, over what it means to lead. You are there to serve and not be served.” Mwamba visits Botswana regularly but is currently growing professionally working in the biggest financial centre in the world. “But my wealth and investments are in Botswana.” While he currently works in London, he intends to further his studies in America, and travel more. “We live in an increasingly globalised world, and international exposure particularly at the highest levels, is something I feel leaders of the future will need to meaningfully engage with this interconnected global village we live in today.” Mwamba is cagey and doesn’t want to divulge much on whether he is rooting for any political position and prefers to keep everyone guessing.

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

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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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