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Batswana eating at higher cost towards polls

Batswana may have to adjust their cost of living few days before the 23 October polls after the cost of food increased by 2.50 percent in September, according to latest data from Statistics Botswana food prices rose slightly during the month under review.

The headline inflation for September 2019 increased to 3 percent from 2.9 percent in August 2019. This slight rise is due to the rise in the rate of annual change in prices for some categories of goods and services, led by ‘Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages’ which increased from 2 to 2.5 percent. Food which contributed to the spike on food inflation are: Bread & Cereals (0.6 percent), Fish (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) (0.5 percent) and Meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) (0.4 percent). Altogether, the Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages group index rose by 0.2 percent, from 102.1 to 102.4 during the period under review.

According to national data food Inflation in Botswana averaged 6.65 percent from 2002 until 2019. During the 2008 global recession food inflation reached an all-time high of 25.17 percent in October of 2008 and that was the time when the national inflation was at 12.6 percent. Last year August inflation hit an all-time low of -1.30 in August.
A trend seen towards next week polls is an increase in food prices since March 2019. In February Inflation was low at -0.2 before raising the bar slighter in March 2019. Observers believe food prices increase for the April inflation were reacting to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s announcement that public servants salaries will be increased before the Budget Speech. After this year’s Budget Speech food inflation has been going up ala uniformly it went from 1.3 in June to 1.6 in July. From July it went to 2 percent in August before hitting 2.5 in September.   

Inflation is also forecasted to continue increasing even after the elections, going up from 3.0 to 3.2 percent in November before going up another 2 percent in December 2019. On the other hand, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) averaged nearly 170 points in September 2019, unchanged from August but 3.3 percent higher than in the corresponding period last year. The organization says while in September sugar prices fell sharply, the decline was almost entirely offset by higher prices of vegetable oils and meat. The Dairy index was down only marginally, whereas that of cereals remained steady, according to FAO data.

According to Statistics Botswana, the inflation rates for regions between August 2019 and September 2019 indicated that Rural Villages increased to 2.3 percent from 2.2 percent, Cities & Towns and Urban Villages remained constant at 3.2 and 3.1 percent respectively, over the two periods. The national Consumer Price Index was 101.8 in September 2019, registering an increase of 0.1 percent from 101.7 recorded in August 2019 Index. The Cities & Towns advanced from 101.8 in August to 101.9 in September recording a rise of 0.1 percent. The Urban Villages’ Index realised an increase of 0.1 percent, moving from 101.9 in August to 102.0 in September 2019. The Rural Villages index recorded an increase of 0.1 percent advancing from 101.3 to 101.4 during the period under review.

As for Group indices, there was generally a steady movement between August 2019 and September 2019, recording changes of less than 1.0 percent. For the Furnishing, Household Equipment & Routine Maintenance group Index moved by an increase of 0.4 percent which is from 101.8 in August 2019 to 102.1 in September and this was due to the general increase in the constituent section indices. According to Statistics Botswana, the Restaurants & Hotels group Index progressed from 101.8 to 102.1 over the two period, registering a growth of 0.3 percent. This was mainly attributed to an increase in the constituent section index of Restaurants, Cafes & the Like (0.3 percent).

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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