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Red-Cross in a legal tussle

Botswana Red Cross

Red Cross Botswana has embarked on a legal battle as members drag their leader to court on allegations of constitutional violation.  Towards the end of last year, Red-Cross Secretary General, Kutlwano Mukokomani, sent out an invitation for members to express interest in the National Executive Committee, to be elected on the 30th January 2021. These members were to be endorsed by their branches first.

Maipelo Mophuting, the applicant in this matter, expressed interest in the position of the President. Nelson Rammala who is also an applicant also expressed his interest in the position of the Second Vice President. The applicants believe that they qualify in terms of the constitution of the Botswana Red Cross Society to contest for these positions.

According to the Red-Cross constitution, the Secretary General has a constitutional duty to vet aspirants and release a short list two weeks before the elections. The list was released only 10 days before the elections, both Maipelo and Rammala became aware of the list eight days before the elections. Their names were not on the list and they immediately wrote letters seeking reasons why they were excluded.

Through their attorney Gomolemo Craig Mosetlha of Craig Law Consultants the complainants filed two urgent applications to interdict the elections of the positions they wished to contest for pending the resolution of their grievance in regard to why they had been excluded.

The Respondents were represented by Bonolo Itumeleng, a Partner at Bogopa Manewe Tobedza Attorneys, Bogopa Manewe Tobedza who successfully represented the IEC in the 2019 elections petitions which challenged the validity of the 2019 Botswana General Elections in some electoral constituencies.  Both applicants emerged successful with costs and have been ordered to file an application for review or other relief no later than 7 court days from the date of the order.

In a founding affidavit, Mophuting on the 27th January 2020, received a reply from the Botswana Red-Cross Society who made her aware that she had been excluded from the elections on the basis that her submitted membership was for the Kgalagadi Division that constitutes the Kanye branch. According to the documentation of her submission time, the membership depicted was less than two years as an active member.

‘‘My attorneys will make the legal argument in respect of this point, but I would like to point out that so far as the requirements for the election of the president are concerned, the Constitution has stipulated, in an exhaustive manner, those requirements and the Division and branch reason is not one of them,’’ Mophuting said in her founding affidavit.

Mophuting and Rammala argue that they had met all the requirements to stand as candidates in the elections. However, according to the final nomination list, Gaseitsewe Motlamorago will run for the position of Presidency while Spencer Machwe will run for the Vice President 1 and 2 unopposed.

The Botswana Red Cross Society was first established in 1948, a branch of the British Red Cross. It was formally established as a National Society by an Act of Parliament and given auxiliary status to the government of Botswana in 1968. The mandate of the BRCS as stipulated in the Act is to complement Government work on Health, Social Services and Disaster Management. The Society, which is the largest humanitarian network, operates in 190 countries.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

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.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021

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.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

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.

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