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Log Raditlhokwa, did you tell Sir Seretse Khama?

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

On 9th February 2015, I wrote a column titled ‘Log Raditlhokwa, tell Sir Seretse Khama!’, in honour of Log Raditlhokwa, one of the greatest writers we have had, who had just departed this world.

The essence of the column, as it were, was to ask Raditlhokwa to use his journalistic skills to relay some issues related to Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s leadership to his father. Today, about three years later, as I remember Log, I ask him whether he indeed relayed the message to Ian Khama’s father, especially that his son will be stepping down as president in less than a weeks’ time. 

Log, did you, as I asked you then my brother, try to meet Sir Seretse Khama and tell him that the Botswana he left has been denigrated by his party, the party he helped found, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), with his son at the helm? If you did, I suspect he asked you what Festus Mogae and the late Sir Ketumile Masire have done to save the situation. Did you tell him that his son did not listen to them? Did you tell him that when they tried to intervene he told them that this is his time to rule and they should not try to rule from the grave?

Did you tell him that his son, in running the country, listens to such of his friends as Thapelo Olopeng and Isaac Kgosi and ignores the wisdom of party elders?  Did you tell him that his son has militarized the public service by appointing former soldiers to head government ministries, departments and parastatals?

Did you tell him that if he had known he would have, on 15th May 1970, concluded his most famous quotation by saying “…   and a nation without a leader is a lost nation?” Did you tell him that under his son’s leadership such of our virtues as consultation (therisano) were replaced by directives?

Did you tell him that under his son’s leadership only bootlickers and members of the BDP were regarded as patriots and those who raised questions were labeled as traitors and belonging to the Opposition?  Was it difficult for you to meet him? I told you that if it was difficult for you to meet him, you should have requested such elders who still remember you as the late Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe to arrange the meeting. He cannot have refused to meet you.

Did you, as I requested you to, when you met him remind him of the speech he gave at the opening of the fifth session of Botswana's third National Assembly in November 1978, when he said "Democracy, like a little plant, does not grow or develop on its own. It must be nursed and nurtured if it is to grow and flourish. It must be believed in and practiced if it is to be appreciated. And it must be fought for and defended if it is to survive."

Did you tell him that contrary to his words his son has not practiced and nurtured our democracy? Instead he choked such vanguards of our democracy as the media, trade unions and civil society?  Did you tell him that under his son’s watch this very little tree, our democracy, which he helped to plant, has been left to wither? Did you tell him that the son he so loved that he bequeathed his own name has disregarded workers and trade unions?

Did you tell him that he, through the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), finally succeeded in disbanding the Public Service Bargaining Council after rendering it meaningless for several years?  You obviously cannot have forgotten to talk about the media. Did you tell him that under his leadership the private media was purged and starved of adverts from government and parastatals, with Independent minded government journalists vilified?

I know he did not know Edgar Tsimane, but he certainly knew Outsa Mokone. Did you tell him that, for the first time after many years, the two faced charges of seditious offences and Tsimane fled the country to seek asylum in South Africa, a country which was not even a democracy when he departed. If he did not believe you, did you, as per my request, request your fellow departed rights activist, Laona Segaetsho, to confirm it? May be he would believe him since he worked for the United States Embassy.  

Did you remind him of the speech he gave in Blantyre in July 1967 when he said "I think that the trouble we now face in the world is caused mainly by the refusal to try and see another man’s point of view, to try and persuade by example — and the refusal to meet a rather passionate desire to impose your own will upon others, either by force or other means."?

Did you tell him that his son has used the personality cult and charismatic power he inherited from him to impose his will on Batswana. I trust you fear not Log, for you were not afraid to tell the truth to power when you were still alive.  Did you tell him that when his son assumed office he, without consulting Batswana, abdicated the four national principles that he as the father of our nation helped develop and instituted his own so-called four Ds?

Did you tell him that his son thought our founding principles of democracy, development, self-reliance and unity are not good enough? Did you tell him that his son’s leadership was characterized by directives and populist and economically unsustainable pet projects? Did you tell him that though some of these projects no doubt bring relief to Batswana they  are not sustainable and make Batswana unproductive and reliant on government programmes and hand-outs?

I trust you maintained the balanced reporting you often exhibited Log. Did you tell him that amidst all this his son has done some good? Did you tell him that he likes people, especially the elderly, and made it his duty to make donations to the needy and elderly? Did you tell him that though he does it in an unsustainable manner he has established such programmes as Ipelegeng, ISPAAD and back yard gardening to help the poor?

Did you tell him that he likes the youth too, and has introduced a number of initiatives to empower them though they have made little difference in combating such ills as youth unemployment? Did you tell him that his son abolished our pride, Tirelo Sechaba, and introduced the National Service Scheme, though its participants do the ‘national service’ in their own home villages?

But, did you also tell him that, though the programmes have their own challenges, he has pioneered such programmes as the National Internship Programme, Legal Aid Botswana, Traditional & Cultural Competitions, e.t.c? Did you tell him that through the latter his son has tried to make true his popular saying:  “A nation without a past is a lost nation, and a people without a past is a people without a soul”?

Did you tell him that though poverty levels remain high, his son has, throughout his tenure, prioritized poverty eradication initiatives? Did you tell him that of all the presidents, including him, he is the only one who has prioritized those living with disabilities to the extent of having them coordinated from his office?

Did you tell him that he, like him, likes the Kgotla though unlike him he disliked Parliament? Did you tell him that though he has done it in a manner that may encroach into some people’s rights and freedoms, his son has tried to instill discipline among his people? Did you tell him that his son has passed legislation to regulate operating hours for alcohol outlets and has introduced an alcohol levy, supposedly to combat alcohol abuse?  

I told you that it will sadden him, but did you tell him that as a result of his son’s poor leadership the party he helped start and build is facing a decline in electoral support, and, for the first time since independence, got less than 50% of the popular vote in 2014? Did you tell him that were it not for the Opposition’s failure to unite, his party could have lost the 2014 general elections?

I know you left before the Good hope, Moshupa West and Ngware bye elections were held, but you probably read about the results in the media. Did you tell him that in an unprecedented development his party lost all those bye elections?  I told you that given his intelligence he will know that unless his son becomes a true democrat and his party changes for the better he may, post 2018, be the leader of the Opposition in the after- life.

Tell him that he may only be rescued by the fact that the Opposition recently fractured, with a split in Gomolemo Motswaledi’s party, Botswana Movement for Democracy, giving birth to the Alliance for Progressives led by Ndaba Gaolathe, Baledzi Gaolathe’s son.  Log, I pleaded with you to meet Sir Seretse Khama before you met such people as Gomolemo Motswaledi, Dr. Kenneth Koma, Mareledi Gidi, Peter Mmusi and Paul Rantao lest his Private Secretary declines to secure an appointment for you.

I told you that though unlike his son he is a democrat and would not refuse to meet you simply because you differ with him, you need to follow protocol and meet him first as former head of state. Did you do that Log? I trust that when Sir Ketumile Masire came you did not become excited and forget the protocol. Tell him that his son lived to his word and will be stepping down from office on 1st April and will be succeeded by Mokgweetsi Masisi, Edison Masisi’s son. 

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Appendicitis: Recognising the Signs

29th March 2022

Many a times I get clients casually walking into my room and requesting to be checked for “appendix”.  Few questions down the line, it is clear they are unaware of where the appendix is or what to expect when one does have it (appendicitis). Jokingly (or maybe not) I would tell them they would possibly not be having appendicitis and laughing as hard as they are doing. On the other hand, I would be impressed that at least they know and acknowledge that appendicitis is a serious thing that they should be worried about.

So, what is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix; a thin, finger-like pouch attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. Often the inflammation can be as a result of blockage either by the faecal matter, a foreign body, infection, trauma or a tumour. Appendicitis is generally acute, with symptoms coming on over the course of a day and becoming severe rapidly. Chronic appendicitis can also occur, though rarely. In chronic cases, symptoms are less severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months. 

Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that almost always ends up in the operating theatre. Though the appendix is locally referred to as “lela la sukiri”, no one knows its exact role and it definitely does not have anything to do with sugar metabolism. Appendicitis can strike at any age, but it is mostly common from the teen years to the 30s.

Signs to look out for

If you have any of the following symptoms, go and see a Doctor immediately! Timely diagnosis and treatment are vital in acute appendicitis;

Sudden pain that starts around the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen within hours

The pain becomes constant and increases in severity (or comes back despite painkillers)

The pain worsens on coughing, sneezing, laughing, walking or deep breaths

Loss of appetite

Nausea and vomiting


Constipation or diarrhoea

Abdominal bloating/fullness


The doctor often asks questions regarding the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. This will be followed up by a physical examination in which the Doctor presses on the abdomen to check for any tenderness, and the location of the pain. With acute appendicitis, pressing on and letting go of the right lower abdomen usually elicits an excruciatingly unbearable pain. Several tests may be ordered to determine especially the severity of the illness and to rule out other causes of abdominal pain. The tests may conditions include: blood tests, a pregnancy test, urinalysis, abdominal  “How do ultrasound scans work?” ultrasound (scan), CT scan or MRI Scan.


The gold standard treatment of acute appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix known as appendectomy. Luckily, a person can live just fine without an appendix! Surgical options include laparoscopy or open surgery and the type will be decided on by the Surgeon after assessing the patient’s condition. Painkillers and antibiotics are also given intravenously usually before, during and after the surgery.


Appendicitis can cause serious complications such as;

Appendicular mass/abscessIf the appendix is inflamed or bursts, one may develop a pocket of pus around it known as an abscess. In most cases, the abscess will be treated with antibiotics and drained first by placing a tube through one’s abdominal wall into the abscess. The tube may be left in place for a few hours or days while the infection is clearing up but ultimately one would still have surgery to remove the appendix.

Peritonitis – without treatment, the appendix can rupture/burst. The risk of this rises 48–72 hours after symptoms start. A ruptured appendix spreads the infection throughout the abdomen (peritonitis). This is life threatening and requires immediate surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity.

Death – The complications of appendicitis (and appendectomy) can be life threatening, only if the diagnosis has been missed and no proper treatment has been given on time. This is rare though with the evolved medical care.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email  HYPERLINK “” or visit

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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A degree of common sense

7th February 2022

Here’s a news item from last month you may have missed. In December 2021 the University of Staffordshire announced it would be offered a degree course in pantomime! Yes, that’s right, a degree in popular festive entertainment, the Christmas panto.

We used to have one here, put on by the Capitol Players, though it seems to have fallen away in recent times, but the spectacle is still alive and well in the UK, both in local ad-dram (amateur dramatic ) societies and on the London stage and most of the major cities, these latter productions usually featuring at least one big-draw name from the world of show business with ticket prices commensurate with the star’s salary.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the pantomime format, it consists of a raucous mixture of songs and comedy all based around a well-known fairy or folk tale. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Cinderella, Jack & The Beanstalk & Dick Whittington are perennial favourites but any well-known tall tale goes. There is no set script, unlike a play, and storyline is just a peg to hang a coat of contemporary, often bawdy, gags on, in what should be a rollicking production of cross dressing – there has to be at least one pantomime dame, played by a man and always a figure of fun, and a Principal Boy, ostensibly the male lead, yet played by an attractive young woman.

As an art form it can trace its roots back to 16th century Italy and the Commedia Del’Arte which used a mélange of music, dance, acrobatics along with a cast of comic stock characters so it has a long and proud theatrical tradition but you have to wonder, does that really qualify it as a suitable subject for a university? Further, what use might any degree be that can be acquired in a single year? And last but not least, how much standing does any degree have which comes from a jumped-up polytechnic, granted university status along with many of its ilk back in 1992, for reasons best known to the government of the time? Even more worrying are the stated aims of the course.

Staffordshire University claims it is a world first and the masters course is aimed at people working inside as well as outside the industry. Students on the course, due to start in September 2022, will get practical training in the art form as well as research the discipline.

“We want to see how far we can take this,” Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Robert Marsden said. The role of pantomime in the 21st Century was also going to be examined, he said, “particularly post Me Too and Black Lives Matter”. Questions including “how do we address the gender issues, how do we tell the story of Aladdin in 2021, how do we get that balance of male/female roles?” will be asked, Prof Marsden added.

Eek! Sounds like Prof. Marsden wants to rob it of both its history and its comedic aspects – well, good luck with that! Of course that isn’t the only bizarre, obscure and frankly time and money-wasting degree course available. Staying with the performing arts there’s Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance at Bath Spa University. Sounds like fun but why on earth would a circus performer need a university degree?

Or how about a Surf Science and Technology degree at Cornwall College (part of the University of Plymouth). Where the one thing you don’t learn is….how to surf!

Then there is a  degree in Floral Design at University Centre Myerscough. No, I hadn’t heard of it either – turns out it’s a college of further education in Preston, a town that in my experience fits the old joke of ‘I went there once…..It was closed’ to a ‘T’!

Another handy (pun intended) art is that of Hand Embroidery BA (Hons), offered at the University for the Creative Arts. Or you could waste away sorry, while away, your time on a course in Animal Behaviour and Psychology. This degree at the University of Chester teaches you about the way animals think and feel. Cockroaches have personalities according to the subject specs– you couldn’t make it up.

Happily all these educational institutes may have to look to their laurels and try to justify their very existence in the near future. In plans announced this week, universities could face fines of up to £500,000 (P750m), be stripped of their right to take student loans or effectively shut down if they cannot get 60 per cent of students into a professional job under a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses. Further, at least 80 per cent of students should not drop out after the first year, and 75 per cent should graduate.

The rules, published by the Office for Students (OfS), aim to eliminate ‘low-quality’ courses by setting new standards & requiring courses to improve their rating in the TEF, the official universities ratings system. Universities not meeting the new standards will not be able to charge full annual fees of £9,250. Unconventional courses that could fall victim to the new rules could include the University of Sunderland’s BA in Fashion Journalism, where students learn essential’ skills such as catwalk reporting and the history of Chanel.  They have only a 40 per cent chance of entering highly skilled work 15 months after leaving.

At University College Birmingham, BSC Bakery and Patisserie Technology students – who learn how to ‘make artisan bread’ – have a 15 per cent chance of a professional job within 15 months. Universities minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the move, saying ‘When students go to university, they do so in the pursuit of a life-changing education, one which helps pave their path towards a highly skilled career. Any university that fails to match this ambition must be held to account.’

OfS found that at 25 universities, fewer than half of students find professional work within 15 months.  Business and management courses at the University of Bedfordshire (14.8 per cent) were among the least likely to lead to graduate-level jobs.  Asked to comment, the University of Sunderland said it always looked ‘to find ways to improve outcomes’; University College Birmingham said data on graduates and definition of ‘professional work’ was limited. I’ll bet it is! As the saying goes, ’what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’. What a pantomime!

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Why regular health checks are important!

7th February 2022

With the world still reeling from the negative impact of the Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), and the latest Omicron variant (which is responsible for the ongoing global forth wave) on everyone’s lips, we should not forget and neglect other aspects of our health.

While anyone can get infected with corona virus and become seriously ill or die at any age, studies continue to show that people aged 60 years and above, and those with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity, cancers, or mental illness are at a higher risk of developing serious illness or dying from covid-19.

It is a good habit to visit a doctor regularly, even if you feel healthy. Regular health checks can help identify any early signs of health issues or assess your risk of future illness hence prompting one to take charge and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other non-communicable diseases (even communicable) can often be picked up in their early stages, when chances for effective treatment are high.

During a health check, your doctor will take a thorough history from you regarding your medical history, your family’s history of disease, your social life and habits, including your diet, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking and drug intake. S/he will examine you including measuring your weight, blood pressure, feeling your body organs and listening to your heart and lungs amongst the rest. Depending on the assessment, your doctor will notify you how often you need to have a health check. If you have a high risk of a particular health condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent health checks from an early age.

Diet – a healthy diet improves one’s general health and wellbeing. It is recommended that we have at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. Physical activity – regular physical activity has significant health benefits on one’s body, mind & soul. It contributes to preventing and managing non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills and improves overall well-being. According to the world health organisation (WHO), people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical activity at least four days in a week. Examples of moderate physical activity include brisk walking, gentle swimming and social tennis.

Weight – maintaining a healthy weight range helps in preventing long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is also vital for one’s mental wellbeing and keeping up with normal activities of daily living. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference annually. If you are at a higher risk, you should have your weight checked more frequently and a stern management plan in place.

Alcohol – as per WHO reports, alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Healthy drinking entails taking no more than two standard drinks per drinking day with at least two alcohol-free days in a week.

Smoking –Nicotine contained in tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, many different types of cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. Every year, at least a whopping 8 million people succumb from tobacco use worldwide. Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers through second-hand smoke exposure. It is not ‘fashionable’ if it is going to cost you and your loved ones lives! If you are currently smoking, talk to your doctor and get help in quitting as soon as possible to reduce the harm.

Blood pressure: Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people – having the condition. Have your blood pressure checked annually if it is normal, you are aged under 40 and there is no family history of hypertension. You might need to have it checked more frequently if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side, or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Your doctor will be there to guide you.

Dental care – eating a low-sugar diet and cleaning and flossing the teeth regularly can reduce one’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Visit a dentist every six months for a dental examination and professional cleaning, or more frequently as per your dentist’s advice.
Blood tests – annual to five-yearly blood tests may be done to further assess or confirm risk of disease. These may include blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, kidney function, liver function, tumour markers, among other things. They may be done frequently if there is already an existing medical condition.

Cancer screening – various screening techniques can be done to detect different cancers in their early or pre-cancer stages. These include; skin inspections for any suspicious moles/spots, two-yearly mammograms for those at risk of developing breast cancer, Pap smear or the new Cervical Screening Test (CST) every five years, stool tests and colonoscopy (every five years) for those at most risk of bowel cancer, prostate cancer screening for those at risk (over 45 years of age, family history of cancers etc.). Discuss appropriate tests with your doctor.

Vaccinations – You should discuss with your doctor about the necessary routine immunisation, in particular; the Covid-19 vaccines, an annual flu shot, a five-yearly pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had one or you are immunocompromised and any other boosters that you might need.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email HYPERLINK “” or visit

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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