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Scramble for Francistown West divides BCP

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The worm has turned within the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) at the Francistown West constituency after Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and BCP leadership allegedly endorsed an agreement to swap constituencies such that the BCP gets Maun West and BMD gets Francistown. This deal will allow BCP President Dumelang Saleshando to contest for a parliamentary seat in Maun while the BMD has offered Francistown West to Botswana People’s Party (BPP). However, some members of BCP are allegedly engaged in secret meetings with a view to cross the floor to the BPP in order to position themselves for the 2019 general elections. According to the deal, BMD will hand over the constituency to BPP once the negotiations are done leaving disgruntled and dejected faces at BCP. Those who spoke anonymously were furious that the constituency is their stronghold and that they were likely to win in the following general elections having won it twice through Vain Mamela and Habaodi Hubona.

They are dead worried that BPP has never worked hard in the constituency hence they strongly believe that for the opposition to win the constituency one of their own must jump ship and bail out their companions if they indeed want to win the next general elections. Speaking to The Midweek Sun over the weekend, BMD chairperson Nehemiah Modubule reiterated his party’s stance to hand over the constituency to BPP even though he refused to reveal what they will benefit in return. This publication has it on good record that before an official announcement can be made, some BCP members who were earmarked to contest the party’s primaries for the constituency are ready to cross the floor to BPP in order to be considered for nomination.

A BCP prominent member said that BPP currently has no suitable candidate to win the constituency from the ruling party hence their collective decision to cross over and assist the ailing party with a strong and credible candidate who can compete for honours. “As it is, BPP was caught off-guard and it will take them a long time to find the right candidate to contest at the constituency whilst on the other hand, it will be very easy for someone from BCP to win the constituency since they have been on the ground for a very long time knowing very well that the constituency rightfully belongs to them under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituency allocation deal,” the source said. Meanwhile, BPP President Motlatsi Molapisi admitted that he was aware of the current developments but will only make an official comment once the deal is finalised and there is an official note to that effect from BMD. The BCP members swear they will have none of it, and have labelled their leadership a dictatorship for wanting to hand over their constituency without consulting the foot soldiers.

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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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JUST PROPAGANDA

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Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has refuted claims that she is under the radar of the Financial Intelligence Agency. Dr Venson-Moitoi who pulled out of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race at the eleventh hour, was last week reported to have had her accounts frozen because she was being investigated by FIA.

It was alleged that the freezing of the accounts would have a negative bearing on her campaign as she could not access her funds. Responding to enquiries on the issue during a media briefing in Kang Village, Dr Venson-Moitoi said the allegations were far from the truth.

According to the former cabinet minister, all her accounts were clean and she was accessing her funds without any challenge. “The person who was saying all those things was lying. My accounts are clean as we speak. I was never confronted by FIA or anyone. As far as I know I am not under any investigations,” she said.

Linked to that, it had emerged that Dr Venson-Moitoi’s campaign was being funded from outside the country especially by the some rich families in South Africa. Reports then suggested that her source of funding was blocked through the intervention of FIA, and that even her accounts were frozen. She dismissed the reports as propaganda that was perhaps spread to soil her campaign.

“I am clean. This is why I am never mentioned in missing funds from National Petroleum Fund or those of Capital Management Botswana,” said the Serowe South Member of Parliament. Last month Dr Venson-Moitoi had reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi that she was not happy that she is being followed around the country by security agents.

Magosi dismissed the claims on grounds that his organisation is not the only one that uses private motor vehicles.

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