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70 year old Monageng continues to defy HIV

“For Batswana, seeing is believing,” these are the words of Stanley Monageng, a retired nurse who founded the Thusang Bana Centre in Ratotobolo ward in Molepolole to help fight the HIV epidemic.

Like a true commando Monageng has from the onset been more than determined to raid the stigma associated with HIV, he is counted among the first Batswana that went public about their HIV status and his intension was to save lives. A champion of HIV, Monageng started treatment almost two decades ago. Since he tested positive he embarked on a mission and conducted workshops and public lectures around the country to teach people about HIV.

In the Kweneng region, Monageng is a well known man, who is celebrated for his charitable works and causes for HIV/AIDS.  He has gone on record to share with the public that his reckless behaviour led to him contracting the virus. Born in Molepolole Monageng started treatment in 2000 and is looking forward to celebrating his 71st birthday this year. The beginning of this month saw the survivor embarking in a historic walk, starting from Molepolole to Gaborone to show how healthy and strong a person living with HIV can be if they are on treatment. This was aimed at bringing attention to the importance of HIV testing and the benefits of getting on HIV treatment quickly through Botswana’s “Treat All” program.

The walk was supported by U.S. Embassy Gaborone, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and is supporting the provision of voluntary HIV testing and counselling during the Treat All Awareness Walk through USAID’s Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) project. The walk made stops in multiple locations on its way to its final destination in Gaborone: offering health education, testing and counselling services to hundreds of people in Molepolole, Mahetwe, Lentsweletau, Kopong, Mmatsetla, Metsimotlhabe, and Mogoditshane.

Having completed a number of similar long-distance walking campaigns over the years, Monageng has concluded that the best way to promote HIV testing and treatment is to show the community how active and healthy he is. As a result of Botswana’s Treat All policy, which was launched in June 2016, Batswana do not have to wait for their immune system to be weakened by HIV (measured by CD4 count) before starting treatment. Instead, they can begin treatment immediately upon being diagnosed with HIV, which maximizes the chance to live a long, healthy life.

The media and the public welcomed the walkers as they finished at the Gaborone Civic Centre at 1100 hrs on Monday, July 10th. An official ceremony was convened thereafter with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, NACA, and PEPFAR, and wellness resources including confidential HIV testing, condoms, and pamphlets. The Walk began at the Thusang Bana Centre in Molepolole by its director Monageng and the Honourable MP for Kweneng East Mohamed Khan on July 1st.

But love need not be a hard find. Monageng shared that he is currently dating someone who is HIV negative and theirs is love in the air and they hardly have differences. He shared that he usually hears of stories of marriage breakups because one partner tested positive saying that should not be the case. Monageng’s story is a sad reality; this is a man who has been through hell because of his HIV status. He was forced to retire his job as a nurse because of the stigma that came from his workplace.

Despite the circumstances he rose above the great pyramids of Egypt, he was more than determined to soldier on. Meanwhile the US Embassy has revealed through its ambassador Earl Miller that it is contributing P 480 million this year to support Treat All in Botswana. Through Treat All, anyone infected with HIV should begin antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. 

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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