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Encourage tomorrow’s leaders to test

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Imagine if we were to live in a nation without young people. Though they are future leaders, what are we doing to ensure that the youth live long and healthy lives?

This week, I would like to discuss how we as a nation can ensure a healthy future for our young people by supporting them to test for HIV and begin treatment when they test HIV-positive. Botswana is doing a great job in providing free HIV testing and treatment in every district, enabling us to achieve the Global UNAIDS 90-90-90 Goals by 2020. These goals are that 90 percent of people living with HIV should be diagnosed; 90 percent of diagnosed people should be on anti-retroviral treatment, and 90 percent people in treatment should maintain viral suppression.

In June 2016, former President Ian Khama introduced the Treat All initiative, which allows any citizen who tests HIV positive to immediately enrol on treatment. This initiative is also being implemented in many other countries where it is called Test and Treat, or Universal Treatment. Treat All gives us the best out of life.

Those who are diagnosed with HIV these days can benefit immediately, unlike before when someone had to wait for their CD4 count to decline below 350 before accessing treatment (this decline showed that their immune system was being damaged and often would lead to serious illness). With Treat All, one is able to stay healthy and fit, and can continue doing all of their daily activities.

With Treat All, being HIV positive does not mean you will be ill, or lose weight, or have other visible symptoms. Treat All also preserves good health by reducing chances of getting opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis. When someone is newly diagnosed with HIV, they often struggle with the decision to disclose their status to others.

I don’t believe that everyone who has HIV must “go public” and tell the world about their status, but it is important that everyone accepts themselves as a first step. We are living in an era where many people know their HIV status, but some have avoided testing and do not know their status. In order to help these people who need to find the courage to test and accept themselves, I have joined this new initiative called the Treat All Champions.

As a Treat All Champion, I am here as the backbone of the youth who are either infected or affected by HIV. My mission is to reach those who haven’t tested before, or who have stopped testing regularly. I will also be supporting those who need to begin treatment and achieve viral suppression.

It is painful to see some who can’t enjoy the benefits of treatment just because they haven’t accepted themselves and are stigmatizing themselves. Ignorance is killing our ability to understand many things. We still have people in the health sector, health care workers and patients, who still lack important information on HIV-related issues.

I believe as a nation, we can do better to improve health literacy, and HIV treatment literacy, but it is also important that everyone strives to educate themselves about health issues. If I can do it, you can do it. It’s upon us, the youth, to take full charge of our future – we are tomorrow’s leaders. The future of this country is determined by us, so let’s wise up and do the right thing. Let’s not only focus on the country’s future, but our own, too.  Let’s take full responsibility for it. Together we can make it.

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VACANCY: President of the UDC

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Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Advocate Sidney Pilane says Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) does not have a President.

He revealed this week that UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko was given the leadership of the coalition on a temporary arrangement. Advocate Pilane who was addressing the media this week, following the expulsion of his party from the UDC stated that in the buildup to 2014 general elections it was agreed that Advocate Boko should be presidential candidate for UDC, an arrangement that ended at the time when the UDC lost the 2014 general elections.

“It was decided that Botswana National Front (BNF) should be given the presidency so that Advocate Boko could be our presidential candidate. The late Gomolemo Motswaledi of BMD was to be his running mate. We made this arrangement in preparation to taking over state power.

So, all that has passed, we contested and lost so it is all in the past,” said the BMD leader. He stated that constitutionally, the UDC has no president because the president has to be elected during the UDC elective congress. Advocate Pilane pointed out that UDC according to the Constitution should hold its congress every three (3) years.

He stated that even all the members of UDC National Executive Committee have to be elected at the congress and as it stands, “there is no president or Vice Presidents because they were not voted into those positions.”

Advocate Pilane said instead of building the UDC brand their colleagues at Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front have resorted to petty issues. He told the media that the leadership of the two parties have taught their members to insult BMD leadership and its members on social media and any other forum.

He had no kind words for the BCP, calling the party a divisive party that thrives on insults and divisive tendencies. He said the BCP leadership had encouraged its foot soldiers to use social media to insult him and members of the BMD.

According to Advocate Pilane, these are some of the things that have made the two parties remain in opposition for far too long without even coming close to toppling the ruling party. He described them as dishonest people who will plunge the country into chaos and that is why Batswana do not want to give them power.

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VIDEO: A Gaborone hotel Prophet caught in the act

Yvonne Mooka

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In a matter that closely resembles that of a South African Cabinet Minister, Melusi Gigaba’s masturbating video clip, a visiting Zimbabwean Prophet, Ronald El Melchizedek of Altar of Grace this week denied that he has been sending nudes to church sisters and demanding same from them.

In fact, the ‘man of God’ has earned himself the name, ‘Botswana’s Omotoso’ by girls that allege he has sexually exploited them. Pastor Timothy Omotoso is a Nigerian clergyman accused of sexually exploiting over 30 young girls from his church in South Africa.

“He is an Omotoso and even though they hide it at his church, some of us have received messages from him asking for our nudes. Actually, he has asked for my nudes several times,” says one church sister.

The Midweek Sun has gotten hold of a 34 seconds video clip of the youthful prophet playing with his manhood. Looking like he is in a hotel room, the man stands fully naked in a muted video that, depicts him speaking and teasing the recipient. In a standing position, he starts off by caressing his manhood, giving it a close up and ends up lying on the bed, facing up.

At least three young women say they received the video from the prophet and that he usually asks for nudes from them. One of them actually says he has been pestering her, demanding to have sex with her. “He likes to send me messages of how horny he is for me. But again, he likes asking for nudes from women.

Even married women at his church have fallen victims of his sexual harassment. I left the church because he disgusted me by doing such things yet calling himself a man of God,” she says.

The woman however says that Melchizedek, a Zimbabwean who holds services at Gaborone Hotel when he is in the country, is a man of accurate prophecies. “He moves mightily in the prophetic but he likes harassing church sisters. It is known in his church. He is married but controlled by the spirit of lust,” she says.

The Prophet responds
Melchidezek told The Midweek Sun that he was aware of the video of him doing the rounds through WhatsApp, but was quick to label the whole thing a scam.“Yes we are aware. Those are scammers from Benin who hacked into my wife’s Facebook account and phone and stole our videos and pictures. So they wanted to blackmail us and we refused, that is why they are doing that.

It is just an effort to harm the work of God but God is in control,” he told The Midweek Sun. He would not be drawn into responding to, or even discussing the allegations levelled against him by church sisters, but instead gave this reporter a mobile number of a person he said was his wife.

The said woman confirmed that the video was posted by scammers. “That was done by scammers. We have reported them to Benin police,” she said. She however would not give the name of the police station nor go into further details.

This incident follows on last week’s revelations reported by this publication, where several girls spoke anonymously about pastors, prophets and ‘men of God’who were using them sexually in church. Many were uncomfortable to reveal their names, forcing this paper to also conceal the identies of the accused churches and pastors involved in the dirty acts in the name of God.

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