World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
In that regard, NACA commemorated the day, educating the public about HIV/AIDS. Many gathered to remember those who were infected and died of this disease as well as remembering all Batswana living positively with HIV. President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi on that day called for intensified efforts to end the scourge of HIV / AIDS. In his keynote speech on the 2018 World AIDS Day in Mochudi village, about 60 km from the capital Gaborone, Masisi said that sufficiency obviously undermines the progress made in the fight against HIV / AIDS.
“There are so many things we can be grateful for, but there is no doubt that complacency has been hinted at in the Southern African countries’ efforts to fight the endemic disease,” Masisi said. “The courage we once showed is slowly fading away, and now is the time to revitalize our programs and energize our individual capabilities to end this scourge,” said Masisi. With a national HIV prevalence rate estimated at 18.5 percent, Botswana ranks third in the world for its AIDS prevalence rate, after Swaziland and Lesotho, its counterparts in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
In addition, the national HIV incidence rate is about 1.35 percent. The number of new HIV infections in a country with a population of just over 2 million people would fluctuate between 10,000 cases and 14,000 cases per year. According to Masisi, the situation has worsened with a recent rise in the number of new HIV infections, especially among young people. For Masisi, the only indicator that would show the country moving in the right direction would be the registration of zero new contamination.
To this end, Masisi called on Batswana to spend time as individuals to introspect and participate in the fight against AIDS so that the country can once again become a country without HIV. Recently when he was in talks with UN Team and Geneva Based Diplomats, he said, "I have implored my government and Batswana to re-prioritize HIV as one of our key focus areas, calling for renewed energy and impetus. Botswana stands ready to sprint the last mile to epidemic control.”
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.