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UDC calls for sombre intervention against COVID-19 by Government

Moeti Mohwasa

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has articulated that Government needs to stand on its toes in order to fully combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released by the party’s communications unit, UDC has said that it is common knowledge that the capacity of the health system in Botswana is quite limited, emphasising that this therefore means it will not be adequate in the face of a full COVID-19 attack similar to that experienced by other countries.

UDC urged that it is crucial that the COVID-19 strategy team ensures that the capacity that resides in the private health sector and Batswana in the diaspora are mobilised and used maximally in the fight against COVID-19.

“Private health practitioners and their clinics should be put on alert. They should be made part of the equation. Health Professionals and others in the diaspora should be mobilised and engaged to the extent possible,” said the party.

In accentuating this, the UDC emphasised that the health workers who are prepared to come home and join the fight on the ground should be fully assisted by the government. “Modern communication technology should be used to make use of the knowledge, expertise and experience of those who cannot be physically here but can avail their time to help with planning, execution and analysis from where they are,” they party contended.

UDC stressed that it is evident that the entire COVID-19 health and economic response requires better planning than what has been thus far, so that stakeholders know their role in the response to the pandemic.

On the 17th April Ministry of Health and Wellness had issued that in an effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic they will effect Monday 20th April they will begin community testing for COVID-19 in five districts being the Greater Gaborone, Greater Francistown, Gantsi, Ngami and Chobe.

However, this was later on narrowed to targeted community testing in the form of making a follow up on contacts that have already tested positive for COVID-19.In response to this, the UDC said: “we are concerned that the targeted community based Covid-19 testing that was scheduled to commence this week based on a random sample of 20, 000 has been postponed, ostensibly to focus on contact tracing.”

The UDC labelled this as yet another failure to plan by government, arguing that, “the Nation cannot afford this.” “Community testing and contact tracing are both absolutely crucial for informing the COVID-19 containment strategy and should run concurrently rather that sequentially. The delay in community testing means that locating the geographical footprint of the pandemic will be delayed, at a high cost to the nation in terms of both the spread of the disease and the economic costs.”

They further recommended that priority to testing must go to all health workers and social workers, national and local leaders dealing with the permits, including the police and the army, those going back to work and teachers.

Moreover, the UDC stressed that in the planning for the COVID-19 responses the government must recognise that it is still necessary to make sure that other diseases and health conditions continue to be attended to.

Diseases like cancer, acute trauma, tuberculosis, malaria and health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes should not be under-resourced as this could make COVID-19 more lethal, the opposition party contended. The UDC also urged the government to make damning effort in ensuring that the frontline workers are provided with Personal Protective Clothing (PPE’s) including facial masks.

“The experience of other countries shows that the mandatory wearing of facial barriers/masks in public reduces the spread of Covid-19. In fact it even controls the spread of ordinary flu,” they said.
UDC said they highly recommend the use of face masks as a containment effort as the virus is new and is still unknown therefore it is prudent to prioritise prevention.

“The pursuit of a strategy of developing herd immunity, whilst well founded in science, has produced tragic results in the UK. Head immunity is a well-known epidemiological phenomenon. It has been used to manage diseases like measles. However not enough is known about Covid-19. Botswana cannot risk a bold pursuit of herd immunity.”

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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
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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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