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“Send him to prison”

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It has been more than four years since Neelo Kgosikwena, 51, of Moshupa, lost her two daughters after their sister’s ex-boyfriend torched the house they were sleeping in.

The mother was also inside when the incident happened. Last week, during re-examination before Gaborone High Court Judge, Justice Sigh Walia, Kgosikwena burst into tears as she could not contain herself when she saw the accused, Gaone Molwalefe, a former science teacher at Mookami Junior School in Kanye.
Molwalefe denied ever torching the family or the house on that fateful night. He told Justice Walia that there was no bad blood between him and his ex-girlfriend, Kealeboga Siwane, who has since got married.

“We stayed together at my place at one point. On that day, we even went together to her mother’s house in Moshupa to fix the roofing of her house and bought her food items,” he said, stressing that there was no tension between them.He said that on that fateful early September 27, 2012 night, “My car caught fire and I didn’t know where it came from.” Kgosikwena says Molwalefe and her daughter have a child of whom they shared custody. She said that when the accused and her daughter came together with the child on that afternoon, she asked them to fix part of her house that had been destroyed by the rain, and that they had come with Molwalefe’s cousin, who willingly assisted.

“After that, he left with his cousin, showing no signs of anger,” she said. She revealed that her daughter was then a nurse in Kanye where Molwalefe also worked, hence he gave her a ride with the child to Moshupa. She said their relationship had ended three months before, and that parents were involved in the decision. Kgosikwena told court that at around midnight, she heard voices in the other room and went to enquire what was going on. On arrival, she was told that the accused person said he came for his child and by that time her other deceased child had taken the child to the neighbours. When the accused realised that she was calling the police, he took off in his car, she said.

At around 3am she heard the sound of a car and its lights penetrated through her room. She woke up to see who it was, only to see Molwalefe holding a screw driver, fiddling the door with it. She also saw something like a small cylinder in front of him, connected to something like a gun.

Upon gaining entrance into the house, the accused allegedly ‘pulled the trigger’ of that cylinder, leaving the old woman burning, and she screamed her children’s names. “He splashed petrol everywhere, and used something that looked like a gun to torch my house,” she said. Two of her daughters were severely burnt and they died a month apart – October and November 2012. Molwalefe’s ex-girlfriend, says her mother, jumped out of the window and went to call neigbours. The fire destroyed property worth over P13, 000.

Kgosikwena is aggrieved that since the incident in 2012, the accused was remanded for a short period and has been granted bail since then. “He deserves to be in prison. He killed my children, and he nearly killed me,” she said, tears swelling in her eyes. Prosecutor Bantekanye Dikago told The Midweek Sun that they were going to file final submissions on February 7, while defence counsel Kole Kole will file his on February 21, and await a date for judgment. The accused person is facing two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and arson.

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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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