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I can’t sell my soul – Khan

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Amidst the pomp and fanfare that saw former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Secretary General Kentse Rammidi being welcomed back into the ruling party yesterday, insinuations filtered that Botswana National Front (BNF) Member of Parliament for Molepolole North, Mohammed Khan was one of the other big fish to be welcomed into the party some weeks to come. But Khan has refuted the rife allegations that he is about to join Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Information reaching this publication is that the BDP was using their Treasurer Satar Dada to recruit the long-time BNF stalwart.

Dada could not be reached for comment on the matter, but Khan told The Midweek Sun in a telephone interview that he was aware of the talk of his defection, adding that since his early days at BNF, he has always been said to be headed to the ruling party only for such allegations to die a natural death. “This has become an old story since time and again, I am rumoured to be on my way to another political home. I should state on record that I am a BNF member and will remain so until such a time that I will make an arrangement,” he said. Despite this, a source close to him said that it is a question of time before Khan defects to the ruling party since there is a “catch” on the other side of the fence.

There has been talk about the BDP-recruited opposition politicians being targeted because they have been seen to need financial aid that the ruling party is said to be promising to provide. BDP President Mokgweetsi Masisi however dismissed insinuations of financial incentives to the recruited politicians, saying there has been no money given or promised the new members and those expected to join as weeks go by. After the late Isaac Davids was welcomed into the party last year, social media went viral with clips of ‘In the matter between’ notices that involved the MP, with attendant speculation he was to be aided through his financial troubles by the ruling party. Similarly, social media yesterday was flooded with clips that suggested Rammidi also needed financial aid with some piece of land he owns that the National Development Bank has allegedly attached for sale.

At the press conference called to welcome Rammidi and others, Masisi said there was no such ‘penny’ extended to the newly-recruited. BNF Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa also refuted the claims of Khan’s defection, saying he had not received any correspondence from Khan that he is quitting the party. Khan himself was adamant that whatever his circumstances, he can never sell his soul. He expressed empathy for some of the situations that could cause some members of the opposition to join the BDP, saying some people find themselves cornered into debts with nowhere else to run. “I am not about to do so. In any case, I don’t find the BDP attractive to join because they do not have internal democracy. While there you have to toe the party line,” he said Khan added that if he were to join the BDP or any other party, he would have first gone to his voters to let them know of his intentions and why he was doing so. “I got into parliament through a voting disc, voted in by people. I have to respect them enough to go back and let them know if I want to move away, for whatever reason,” he said as he shot down speculation of his defection as baseless.

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega

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Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka

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NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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