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No more worries for cheating spouses

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Cheating spouses together with side chicks and guys had a field day of jubilation recently when Judge Lot Moroka ruled in court that marriage wrecking laws in Botswana were archaic and outdated.

While the ruling was circumstantial, it has set a precedent to challenging the laws governing marriage in Botswana. Judge Lot Moroka last week made the landmark ruling in a case in which Phindile Mhotsha was sued for marriage wrecking by Precious Kgaje, who argued that the accused had an adulterous affair with her husband.

The plaintiff had wanted the court to evaluate the common law validity of the third party based on adultery pertaining to civil marriage. In his ruling, Moroka noted in part: “It is the quality of the citizen; his or her integrity and respect for the marital institution and not the fear of sanction that sustains tranquillity in the marriage,” adding that “it is not in all instances where one spouse commits adultery that divorce follows.” Moroka further stated that the remedy of damages against the third person is ineffectual as it leaves a critical co-prepetrator, being the married spouse, off the hook. Moroka made relevant and eye-opening points, one of them being that marriage does not end attractiveness and married people are not exempt from being attracted to other people, but argued that “the maturation of this attraction to a romantic relationship does not depend on the absence or presence of threat of sanctions presented by the action injuriarum of adultery. “In lay-man terms this means that marriage is a covenant between two individuals and a third party who is not a contracting party cannot be blamed for breaching this contract. Respect yourself enough to do the right thing and protect your marriage. The third party is invited by someone into the marriage, no one is forced to have an affair; it is a choice,” Moroka said.

Among other key issues, he also noted that the idealistic perception of marriage is that married couples should work hard to ensure that they are emotionally and physically unavailable to other people and it is not the obligation of the courts to drive fidelity in the marriage. He cited that in other situations, cases of obtaining by false pretence and extortion when the other party was demanded to pay damages were becoming rife. “Cases of marriage wrecking when one party sued but did not divorce – enjoyed spoils of compensation,” he said. In an interview with The Midweek Sun, popular life coach Kgomotso Jongman concurred that marriage was for two people and the third party was invited by someone within the marriage. “You cannot expect a third party to protect your marriage for you, that is your prerogative as a married person.” He noted that the reason adultery and infidelity were rife is because some people marry for the wrong reasons. “They then go out and look for things to complement what they lack in their marriages because they did not marry for sincere reasons such as pure love, for example,” he said. Marriage officer and pastor in the Evalengical Lutheran Church Pastor Thabiso Segatlhe reiterated that it was the responsibility of married individuals to protect their marriages.

He said that marriage is a gift that should be respected, adding that self-awareness was a critical component in exchanging vows. He pointed out that the emotional, spiritual and sexual aspects should be in synergy for a marriage to work, saying that it was the responsibility of the married parties to create an environment conducive to marital bliss. Segatlhe noted that challenges and pain were inevitable in marriage but with God, anything could be overcome. “You don’t suddenly become blind when you get married so you will notice third parties and some would pursue you but it is up to you to uphold the dignity of your marriage through self-discipline by pushing away the third party,” he said. He also stated that fidelity was possible in marriage provided both parties loved and respected each other, and were committed to their union. Segatlhe encouraged people to go for pre-marital counselling before settling down. “In pre-marital counselling, we trace both parties’ history, personality traits and characters, not to expose any negativity but for them to better understand each other better and make the right decisions,” he said. The outspoken pastor also argued that the sanctity and relevance of marriage would never be eroded regardless of the changing values in society. “Marriage is like love, it is Godly and would never go away no matter what happens. It is cemented on the values that Jesus encouraged such as honesty, true love and confession for one’s mistakes.”

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

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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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