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Mochudi East showdown



The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is going all out to reclaim the Mochudi East constituency as Bakgatla go to the polls in a Saturday by-election.

The late Member of Parliament, Isaac Davids won the constituency in the 2014 general elections while still a member of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), but later crossed the floor to join BDP. Unfortunately he could not see his term to the end as he was murdered by his herdboys late last year. BDP has hopes on Specially-nominated Councillor Reverend Mpho Moruakgomo who will tussle with businessman Moagi Bright Molebatsi of the UDC. Also in the mix is former unionist Japhta Radibe. Over and above fielding Moruakgomo, the BDP has assembled a strong campaign team where all its ministers are camping in the constituency instead of taking what was to be their one week rest from work.

Currently, all members of cabinet are on a one week compulsory leave which they take at the end of every parliamentary session. Parliament ended on Friday and will resume in June. BDP has appointed Assistant Minister of Empowerment, Youth Sports and Culture and MP for Shoshong, Phillip Makgalemele as Campaign Manager, assisted by member of the royal family, Mmusi Kgafela who is their parliamentary hopeful for the 2019 general elections in Mochudi West. The two have been instructed to work very closely with all existing party structures. Former Minister and MP for Nkange, Edwin Jenamiso Batshu is Special Advisor for the campaign team.

The BDP kicked its aggressive campaign last week Thursday when former President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama addressed a political rally in Boseja north. Party president Mokgweetsi Masisi followed during the week. With Masisi away attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, the honours have been passed on to his Vice President and acting president, Slumber Tsogwane. Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Makgalemele said their series of aggressive campaigns will end with a star rally on Friday starting at 2 pm in Oodi where acting president Tsogwane will give a keynote address whilst former president Khama will be guest speaker. He said they have many advantages such as undivided support from the democrats in the area and support from the Davids family. “We are optimistic about our chances, we are working hard,” he said. Makgalemele concluded by saying, “We view the anticipated victory as part of the celebration for welcoming the late Isaac back to BDP as he had not formally been welcomed back.

Further, we want to give Masisi his first political present as president of the country.” For his part, Moruakgomo said it has to be him because, “I provide leadership and have proved leadership. The three years I was council chairman, this district transformed drastically and I left solid plans that need to be implemented and I need to unlock their implementation. These plans are Local economic development to energise this local economy given its proximity to Gaborone. Education, life skills for young people and requisite social and community mobilisation for enhanced community resilience – all these are my past achievements that speak not only in the district, but the entire country.

The zeal with which I confronted the HIV scourge at a very crucial moment in the development trajectory of this nation, is indicative of my abilities and capacities.” Yet the BDP also knows that the UDC, are not pushovers. Molebatsi’s campaign is led by Obakeng Matlou, the man who came second best in the UDC primary elections. Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Matlou said they had the first launch of Molebatsi this past Saturday at Notwane freedom square – launch he termed ‘very successful.’ Presiding over was UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando, with other speakers including MP for Kgatleng West, Gilbert Mangole, and Councillor Tona Mooketsi of Mosanta ward. There was women’s league member, Daisy Bathusi of BCP but representing women of UDC, with president of Botswana National Front Youth League, Vellem Heii representing the umbrella’s youth. The second launch which will be a star rally scheduled for Friday in Mmathubudukwane will be addressed by UDC president, Duma Boko.

The events of the day start with a motorcade in the river villages of Sikwane, Mmathubudukwane, Romonaka and Mololwane. “We will be going all out this week holding political rallies on every single day, including house to house campaigns,” said Matlou. Molebatsi, a former teacher and businessman, believes it has to be him because, “I am always available for Bakgatla when need arises. I know all their needs which all have failed to advocate for. Amongst the urgent needs for the constituency are a hospital, sewerage ponds, maintenance of schools, and water in Bokaa village. This is despite having a dam near and even having huge water bills. “The river villagers are not enjoying the benefits of the river passing next to their villages compared to their South African counterparts. Some institutions such as IHS in Mochudi have closed down and moved to Gaborone. The above and many more need a quality politician like me.” But then there is the matter of the Independent Candidate – Radibe. If what he says is anything to go by, then both the BDP and the UDC have some rude awakening to anticipate. Radibe says he is already assured of 10 000 votes and says he will focus on improving the state of the arts and sports in the area.

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The MidweekSun Admin



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



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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