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Botswana could be malaria-free by 2020 – WHO

Despite the widespread of malaria on the African continent, Botswana has emerged to be one of the six countries in Africa, which could be free of the waterborne disease by the year 2020, the WeekendPost has learnt.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report published a couple of weeks ago to mark the World Malaria Day, Botswana is among the six countries which have done excellently well towards containing malaria in four years’ time.   

One of the goals of the WHO’s 2016 -2030 programme against malaria is to wipe out the disease in at least ten countries by the end of this decade. And countries have been working hard to meet the goal.

“WHO estimates that 21 countries are in a position to achieve this goal, including six countries on the African continent, where the burden of the disease is heaviest,” the Geneva-based organization said in a statement.

According to the statement, Botswana, Algeria, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland are the African countries which could be free of the waterborne disease by the year 2020.

An excited Assistant Minister of Health, Dr. Alfred Madigele said the government of the report recently published by WHO. Dr. Madigele said the report is spot on and really explain the situation on the ground.

Dr. Madigele said Botswana has been managed to contain the waterborne disease thanks to its reactiveness towards dealing with maladies. He said Botswana kills the malaria-spreading vector at all levels.

“We do not wait for the mosquitoes to mature in order to control them. The government through the Ministries of Health and Local Government and Rural Development disinfect mosquitoes at all levels,” said the junior minister.

Dr. Madigele said the government deals with the vector at all level of the mosquito’s lifecycle from the creepy-crawly level to the adult creepy. He said this helps to lower the productive systems of the mosquitoes.       
 
Meanwhile, in South Africa the elimination of malaria is a public health objective. The country registered 11 700 cases of the disease in 2014 – down from 64 000 in 2 000 – with most diagnoses coming from areas bordering Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“Through targeted action and cross-border collaboration, South Africa has the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020,” the WHO report said.

The other countries the organization believes could achieve this objective are China, Malaysia and South Korea, eight Latin American nations (Costa Rica, Belize, El Salvador, Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and Suriname), as well as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Timor-Leste and Nepal.

Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus eradicated malaria in 2015, according to a WHO report published earlier this month. Some 214 million people suffered from malaria last year of which 438,000 died from the disease, according to the organization.

Nine out of ten deaths from the disease in 2015 came from sub-Saharan Africa, the report said.

Malaria is caused by parasites, transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and is a public health problem in more than 100 countries, inhabited by half of the world's population.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
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Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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