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Khama barred from using BDF facilities

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander, Lieutenant General Placid Diratsagae Segokgo has written to former President Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama notifying him that he can no longer be allowed to use the Firing Ranges, Obstacle Cause and Animal Parks facilities at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks (SSKB) in Mogoditshane.

In a letter dated 14th June, 2019 the BDF Commander said: “Your Excellency, it has come to our attention that you continue to use the BDF Obstacle Cause at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks in Mogoditshane. Sir in keeping with the BDF policy to all retired members of the BDF and the general members of the public I write to inform you that this facility together with other facilities such as the Firing Ranges, and Animal Park shall no longer be available to yourself except with the express invitation of the BDF.”

Former President Khama is the former Commander of the armed forces and has served the army for more than 20 years before joining politics, nine of which he was the commander. Khama had enjoyed access to Botswana Defence Force facilities as the Vice President including flying the military aircrafts. The then President Festus Mogae came to his defence saying he [Khama] is a qualified Pilot and arrangements were made for him to continue using the aircrafts.

Khama then ascended to the Presidency on 1st April 2008 and he continued to access the BDF facilities at SSKB without any problems. Upon leaving Office of the President a year ago, former President Ian Khama said prior arrangements were made so that he continue to access the Obstacle Causes once a week to train for his fitness but said he never accessed both the Firing Ranges and the Animal Park ever since he left office.

 “I notified both President Masisi and BDF Commander Placid Segokgo and it was agreed,” Khama told WeekendPost this week. Khama said he was shocked by the letter from the BDF Commander. “I wonder why it took him one year and two months to realise that. I have never visited the Animal Park or the Firing Ranges since I left office. I only visit the Obstacle Cause once a week to do my routine exercise,” he said.  Khama also said to his surprise these facilities are open to the general public and wonders why he is being singled out.

 “With my position as former president and commander of the armed forces, Patron of BDF Retired Officers, Patron of the Football team BDF XI I have a history with the Barracks,” he said. Khama said he has no doubts this has political connotations with regard to the recent political landscape in the country. The former President for the first time this year, he was not invited to the Fallen Heroes Day Commemoration in honour of massacre of soldiers at Lesoma village which took place while he was the deputy commander of the BDF.

Khama was quoted saying: “The way this kind of decision was taken, is very unusual. I would have been invited as former Commander of the army to participate in that event.” He said his routine exercises at BDF does not in anyhow interfere with the works of soldiers at the barracks. Khama said he trains alone and he is not at any risks but admit anything can happen.  “If they are concerned about my safety then they did not mention it in the letter. Besides why would they worry now while I have been doing this as a sitting President, why now,” Khama sked rhetorically.  

The former President said through his Private Secretary, he wrote back to the Commander Segokgo to correct some of the misconceptions in his letter. Asked what action he will take Khama said, “In the letter it is clear they don’t want me there so I will stop.” In 2013 during his presidency Khama was scratched by a leopard on the face a bit. Khama's attacker was at the Botswana Defense Force Animal Awareness Park, which the Khama himself established in 1989 when he was a Lieutenant General in command of Botswana's armed forces.

He began the park to teach wild animal behaviour to soldiers who were being deployed to fight poachers killing rhinos and elephants. The park, which has been opened to the public and is a favourite outing for school children, now holds lions and leopards, crocodiles and snakes, monkeys, baboons and zebras.   

Ian Khama was appointed as a brigadier general at age 24 in April 1977 during Sir Seretse Khama's Presidency, hence Deputy Commander to late former Vice President Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, later serving as BDF Commander from 1989 until becoming Vice President in 1998. He then become the President of Botswana on 1st April 2008 leaving office in April 2018.

Upon leaving Office former President Ian Khama he had a fallout with his successor Mokgweetsi Masisi which led to him leaving the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to help form the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). Several attempts were made to reconcile the two men but the fallout escalated and the relationship became irreparable.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

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 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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