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Tight battle for Nata/Gweta

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The battle for Nata/Gweta constituency at Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) ahead of the August primary elections will make history in the sense that it will be the first of its kind where seven parliamentary candidates will try their luck to oust the current seating Member of Parliament (MP), who in this case is Polson Majaga.

Among the candidates is the former area Member of Parliament Oliphant Mfa who was toppled by Reiner Makosha in 2004. Mfa is currently a specially-elected councillor for the Central District Council. Other candidates include Ditiro Majadibodu, Lawrence Ookeditse, Mabunga Gadibolaye, Mbanga Mbanga and Makosha who will be making a second attempt to go to Parliament in 2019.

Ookeditse, a former employee at the youth, sports and culture ministry is said to have hit the ground running going on familiarisation tours where he also hosts musical shows to lure the youth to his side. Recently, he staged some shows from Lepashe area to Nata. Known by the moniker Stallion, Ookeditse can only cause an upset if he focuses his attention on the idle youth in the constituency. Compared to the incumbent, Ookeditse has a mammoth task before the primaries since he has not penetrated other areas in the constituency including Manxotae, Sepako and other villages.

And a probe by The Midweek Sun in the constituency clearly reflects that Ookeditse is not as popular as many think, and he will need to up his game against Majaga who appears to be a darling among voters. Meanwhile, it has also emerged that it will be a very tough task to oust Majaga who is a people’s man in the area as he is able to bring himself down on earth by sharing even cartons of Chibuku and other forms of the waters of immorality with voters. Among the cattle herdsmen in the area, he also commands a lot of respect as his name puts a smile on any face.

Another candidate who should not be counted out of the race is Majadibodu who represented Botswana Congress Party (BCP) during the past general elections where he suffered a blow from Majaga. Now that he is at BDP, it remains to be seen whether he will use his popularity in the constituency to lure those who voted for him to his side. In 2014, Majaga defeated him by a margin of 470 votes, which makes him one of the heavy weights in the race. The former Director of Education Galebolayi who resigned from his job last week Monday is a closed book for Nata/Gweta residents and will have to prove his worth when the primary election campaigns start. Mbanga who is a seating councillor will also use those who voted for him and many others in an attempt to replace Majaga.

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

The MidweekSun Admin

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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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