President Lt Gen Ian Khama has overlooked two of Botswana’s most recognisable politicians since independence; Daniel Kwelagobe and Dr Kenneth Koma in the Presidential Honours held on the eve of the country‘s 5o the independence anniversary.
Khama conferred presidential honours upon 76 living and dead individuals who have contributed immensely in the formative years of Botswana. Khama honoured former presidents and their First Ladies, former Vice Presidents, First Cabinet, and First Members of Parliament (1965-1969).
Khama also honoured; first members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, members of Legislative Council, which drafted the country’ constitution. Among those who were in the Legislative Council include Leetile Raditladi, Motsamai Mpho, Kgalemang Motsete and other chiefs were part of the council.
Other pioneers, who did not fall within the above categories, were also honoured. Dr Gaositwe Chiepe, the country first female MP and first female cabinet minister was honoured. Archibald Mogwe, a long time Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) veteran who was in the civil service at the time of independence, and became MP in 1974 was also honoured. The same token was extended to Kebatlamang Morake, BDP’s founding Executive Secretary.
Moleleki Mokama, the first Motswana to qualify as a lawyer, and the first citizen to become the Attorney General was also honoured. Simon Hirschfeld, the longest serving Police Commissioner in the world was honoured as well. Hirschfeld was the first citizen to Botswana Police commissioner, a post which he for 24 uninterrupted years from 1971.
Professor Thoma Tlou, a historian, and first Motswana to be Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana (UB) was also honoured.
The honouring of these individuals saw Khama also acknowledging the contribution of a significant number of veterans in the opposition. Among them; KT Motsete who was Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) politician and also the composer of National Anthem, Kgosi Bathoen who belonged to the first crop of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi but later joined Botswana National Front (BNF) as its President.
Those honoured also in the opposition included Philp Matente, the country first Leader of Opposition, Kenneth Nkwa and Thari Motlhagodi, who were first opposition MPs alongside Matante under BPP ticket.
Of the honoured MPs of the first parliament, only three are surviving; Obed Chilume, Gaerolwe Kwerepe and Kenneth Nkhwa. Masire is also part of inaugural parliament.
However, the honouring of the 76 raised eye brows, with Kwelagobe and Koma not finding themselves with the honoured individuals. Kwelagobe is the country’s longest serving MP, having been elected in nine consecutive general elections. DK, as popularly known was an MP from 1969-2014, becoming the only MP and minister to have served under the administration of the four presidents.
Kwelagobe is also the youngest person to be elected MP and to become a cabinet minister. He was only 25 years when he was recruited by founding President Sir Seretse Khama from the civil service to represent BDP in one of Molepolole constituencies.
Kwelagobe is also BDP’s longest serving secretary general, having ascended to the position in 1980, when Masire become party president after Khama’s demise. Prior to that, DK served as Deputy Secretary General. DK held that post until 2007, and have been known to be the most influential man in the BDP since Khama’s death.
Kwelagobe and Khama have been rivals in the factions of the BDP and the two never went along. In the run up to 2009 Kanye Congress, the most divisive congress in the history of the party, Khama and Kwelagobe exchanged words publicly, with the former calling the latter an ailing man and stated that he was not ready to work with.
DK supported Motswaledi, in landmark court battle in 2009, in which Khama’s powers were challenged after he suspended Motswaledi ahead of general elections. More recently, DK supported Dr Margaret Nasha, fall out with Khama, which resulted in her not returning to parliament as Speaker of the National Assembly.
Koma, whom is generally regarded as the father of opposition politics in Botswana, was also omitted. Koma founded BNF in 1965 following the first general elections. The party would go on for the next decades to be the most influential opposition party in Botswana. Since formation, the BNF is the only opposition party which has managed to have representation in parliament after each and every general election.
BNF’s watershed moment was in 1994, under the leadership of Koma in which it won an unprecedented 13 seats in parliament, a development which meant the party was on the verge of winning power, needing only 8 seats in the next general elections to condemn BDP out of power.
Koma became MP in 1984, defeating Botswana’s Vice President, Peter Mmusi for Gaborone South parliamentary seat. He has always been credited with offering alternative policies to the ruling BDP which some of them were later adopted by the party. Among those regarded as his brainchild are the introduction of; old age pension, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), formation of Directorate On Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and public protector’s office, the Ombudsman.
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.
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.
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.