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BDP threatens candidates with ultimatum

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Some uncompromising Botswana Democratic Party primary election candidates at Moselewapula ward in Francistown West constituency have been urged to agree on a consensus candidate amid doubts as the candidates have vowed to be separated by an election. Addressing party activists in Francistown during an internal meeting over the weekend, Party Deputy Secretary Shaw Kgathi pleaded with eight BDP members who have shown interest to contest for the ward which fell vacant after the death of former deputy mayor, Lechedzani Modenga in February, to reach a compromise.

Among those who want to try their luck for the ward are former area councillor Johnson Moremi, former deputy mayor Joyce Ndove and Misiosi Tadubana. Kgathi informed the gathering that as the party leadership they encourage candidates in by elections to always reach a compromise to let one capable person to represent the party. “Reaching a consensus will give the party ample time to campaign hence the probability of retaining the ward will be very high,” Kgathi noted. He said candidates should always put the interest of the party first. Kgathi, who is also MP for Bobirwa lamented that the eight party activists who have shown interest to contest the primary elections popularly known as Bulela Ditswe will be given up to Friday this week to have reached a compromise. If the candidates fail to reach a compromise, the party will have to hold primary elections. “Go and consult your relatives and friends, if it is possible some of you can withdraw their candidatures.

“I must tell you that you are not forced to withdraw from the race but if you strongly feel that you are not a capable candidate, please withdraw.” Kgathi cautioned the candidates that campaigning for political office is financially demanding therefore those who do not have the resources should gracefully withdraw. According to Kgathi, the candidates should liaise with the branch chairperson and the regional chairperson to ensure that the process of selecting one candidate amongst them is done in good faith. He reiterated that the party’s intention is to retain the ward by trouncing the opposition by a huge margin. On other issues, Kgathi expressed grave concern about lack of discipline within the ruling party. “Some of you have the tendency of attacking other party activists through social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp,” he cautioned. Kgathi highlighted that some party activists even have the audacity to also criticise the party leadership through social media. He noted that BDP members should learn something from opposition activists who respect their leaders despite their blunders.

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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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