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Gov’t backs down on controversial health policy

The Government has withdrawn the Savingram on removal from medical cover for self-inflicted harm which it had directed to all District Health Management Teams (DHMT) to implement.

The Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Phillip Makgalemele told Selebi Phikwe DHMT staff on Tuesday that Government has withdrawn the savingram following concerns raised from various sectors of the society. The policy has since been suspended to allow Government to consult all stakeholders before the policy could be re-introduced. The policy in question sought to exclude medical cover to people who got injured at alcohol related activities including those associated with suicide and lung cancer which they referred to as self-inflicted injuries.

 “Because we value consultation, we have withdrawn the savingram to allow for consultations with all stakeholders,” he said. The Assistant Minister was addressing staff at the Selebi Phikwe DHMT as part of his familiarisation tour of his new ministry’s facilities. In the last Cabinet Reshuffle, Makgalemele was moved from the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration as Assistant Minister to the Ministry of Health and Wellness in the same capacity.

At this meeting, Makgalelemele heard various challenges that the health facilities experience from different departments. The Head of the Selebi Phikwe DHMT, Dr. Joseph Shama revealed that Selebi Phikwe Government Hospital is overwhelmed with workload since the closure of BCL. He noted that the majority of patients suffer from Non-Communicable Diseases.     

Apart from workload due to an increase of patients the hospital receives, shortage of staff especially in speciality areas such as Physiotherapy also lead to the heavy workload. Other problems the DHMT experiences is shortage of accommodation, lack of uniform and Personal Protective Clothing (PPE) among other challenges.

The Assistant Minister encouraged the staff members to rise above their challenges and thrive to do the best notwithstanding available challenges. He shared with the staff members the Government’s Ten Point Agenda which was developed to improve service delivery within the public service.

The Ten Point Agenda complements the public service charter which sets out the basic principles of public service by which officers are guided for effect service delivery. Like the public charter principles, Makgalelemele encouraged the staff members to use the ten point agenda to guide them both in their relations with each other as colleagues and their dealings with the customers which they serve.

One of the ten points is “respect to all customers at all times” which he said must be the basis of all interaction with the patients which will lead to the officers “maintaining professionalism” when providing the healthcare service. He emphasised that when the ten points agenda is effectively implemented and all public servants strive to apply the principles, service delivery will be realised despite the challenges.

Makgalemele also explained that the ministry has realised that health service providers often make patients wait very long hours under the excuse that “the system is down.” He explained that a decision has been taken that in an event the Government Accounting and Business System (GABS) is not working, waiting period for the system to normalise must not exceed 30 minutes.  “When the 30 minutes waiting period elapses, service must continue to be given manually. Patients must not be left to wait longer than necessary just because the system is down,” he said.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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