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Malawian Judge sues SADC for P4million

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A Malawian high court judge, Charles Mkandawire who was formerly employed by SADC as the Registrar of the SADC Tribunal is suing the SADC for terminating his employment contract last year.

Mkandawire demands at least P3.9m and his lawsuit is said to have been an agenda item at the just-ended SADC audit committee ordinary meeting which was held in Gaborone from 16 – 20 November. Documents seen  by this publication show that the Audit committee is also invited to note that due to the suspension of the SADC Tribunal, Mkandawire was advised that his employment would terminate once the review of the role of the SADC Tribunal was completed which took place on August 2014.

The Audit Committee is also invited to note that on June 26, 2015 Mkandawire initiated court proceedings claiming that SADC should pay him a total of P3, 990, 000.00 being the salaries and allowances for what he considers to be the remaining period of his employment contract. The documents further invited the Audit Committee to note that the Secretariat has already instructed the outsourced lawyer to oppose Mkandawire’s claim on the grounds that SADC enjoys absolute immunity from legal process in the domestic courts of SADC Member States, and Mkandawire knew that the lifespan of his contract renewal/extension would depend on the finalisation of the review of the role of the SADC Tribunal.

This is not the only lawsuit alleged that appeared on the last week’s agenda item. Others are Republic of Tanzania versus one R.G. Mathews. The Audit Committee is invited to note that the criminal trial prosecuted at the instance of the Republic of Tanzania for alleged theft or misappropriation of funds at a Project which was based in Tanzania is still ongoing and not yet concluded.

The Audit Committee is also invited to note that there will be no legal costs to the SADC Secretariat at the end of the case as this is a criminal matter prosecuted at the instance of the Republic of Tanzania.

Kazadi versus SADC Secretariat
The Audit Committee is invited to note that the case in which a former employee is challenging the Secretariat for a contract renewal is still pending in the Industrial Court of Botswana and is awaiting allocation of a hearing date by the Court. The Audit Committee is also invited to note that the employee is claiming compensation that is equal to the value of his contract had it been renewed.

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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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