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“I’ll kill you young woman”

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Male senior prison warder threatens colleague

Theere is an ongoing investigating in a matter in which a senior warder at Serowe Prisons has allegedly threatened to kill his colleague on Sunday morning.

According to details leaked by an inside source, Assistant Superintendent Ishmael Raphutshi uttered the threat on Assistant Superintendent Oreeditse Japane’s life on the 8th in a heated argument.

The Voice learnt that Japane who was on duty had reprimanded an inmate for not wearing his football kit and demanded that he did before he could join other inmates for a game of soccer.

“At that moment Raphutshi who was off duty but is senior to Japane arrived and issued contrary command to the inmate allowing him to play without wearing the kit. Japane refused to yield and insisted that the prisoner should wear a playing kit before she could release him to play,” said an inside source.

The Voice was reliably informed that at that moment Raphutshi quipped, “Why do you want a prisoner to suffer simply because of our differences. Today o tsile go nketsi,” (today you are going to know me) to which Japane responded by asking her senior, “E le gore wena o mang?” (Who are you)?

This response according to the source, infuriated Raphutshi so much that he immediately charged at his subordinate in front of an amused inmate and declared. “Ke ta go bolaa ngwanyana ke wena.” ” I’ll kill you young woman.”

Japane then reported the matter to the police and it’s currently still under investigation.

The Voice has further been informed that there’s no harmony between the four top ranking officials at Serowe Prisons. Apparently Japane is the only female amongst the four men.

NOT YIELDING: Japane

“They have isolated her and are all not on talking terms with her. There’s a Senior Superintendent, a Superintendent and three Assistant Superintendents including her and she’s alone among men who despise her,” the source revealed.

The Voice has learnt that last year an intervention was sought from the Regional Office in Francistown but the matter could not be resolved.

“Warders are concerned with this toxic environment and want the management to be transferred to other posts,” a source said.

Speaking to The Voice on Wednesday No. 2 District Officer Commanding Paul Oketsang confirmed that the matter was reported to them by Japane.

“We looked at the issue and resolved that as members of the disciplined forces there is a code of conduct they should follow and advised that the matter should be resolved within the Prisons Service,” Oketsang said.

“As Serowe Police we are not investigating the matter, it will be held by the internal processes at Prison,” he said.

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ATN advocates for tobacco ban

A call to stop the sales to tobacco products during the state of public emergency to save lives from COVID-19: Anti Tobacco Network, Botswana

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The Anti Tobacco Network Botswana (ATN, Botswana) recognizes that tobacco use is an immediate threat to  the control of COVID-19 spread, and calls on Government to stop the sales to tobacco products during the state of public emergency to save lives.

We note  and commend the Government for approving a regulation prohibiting the importation into Botswana of tobacco or tobacco-related products during the state of public emergency.

This action is indeed a testament of the cardinal recognition by the Government and confirmation to the whole nation  that tobacco and tobacco related products such as  e-cigarettes, hubbly bubbly, (Shisha), vapes are non-essential commodities and that tobacco is a non-essential business that cannot be allowed to continue during the state of public emergency. 

ATN Botswana however, urges the Government  as a matter of urgency to issue further regulation to suspend all  sale of tobacco and tobacco related products during the  COVID-19 pandemic period.

Such a ban will reduce easy access to tobacco products and therefore save lives of many people.

People who smoke or use other tobacco products should be assisted to quit in our health facilities.

Our urgent call to ban the sale of tobacco products during this time of public emergency is informed by scientific evidence that smoking damages human lungs and other body organs.

Smoking also destroys the immune system hence weakening a smoker’s responsiveness to infections.

As COVID -19 is primarily a disease affecting the respiratory system, smokers are therefore more vulnerable to developing severe COVID-19 which may result in prolonged hospitalization under life support machines in intensive care units (ICU) or death. Persons with long standing chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are also susceptible to severe COVID -19.

There is compelling evidence from previous studies that smokers are twice more likely than non-smokers to contract influenza and have more severe symptoms.

While smokers were also noted to have higher mortality in the previous Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak, emerging data from patients hospitalized with severe  COVID-19 show higher percentages of current and former smokers among patients that have needed ICU support, mechanical ventilation or those that have died.

The findings show that a higher percentage of smokers are among the severe cases.

We argue that tobacco products are not essential commodities and their sales must therefore be banned.

Allowing tobacco sales will expose smokers to COVID-19 who will repeatedly be going to the shops to purchase tobacco products.

In addition, Government should completely ban the sale and use of the hubbly Bubbly (Shisha) which is usually smoked in groups using shared mouth pieces that are a channel for transmission of COVID -19 and other respiratory diseases including tuberculosis.

During such smoking sessions, it is practically impossible to maintain social distance to avoid transmission of COVID -19 as well.

It must be remembered that the sharing of tobacco products by its users pose the danger of  spreading COVID-19 through contaminated saliva.

Several countries in Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Gambia have banned sale of use of shisha.

Recently, 17 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region have banned hubbly Bubbly (Shisha) as a measure to control spread of COVID -19.

South Africa banned the sale of tobacco products during its 21-day lockdown.

Botswana can join these countries, to further solidify its stance that tobacco is not an essential commodity and preventing its use can save lives.

We further call on the Government  to strictly enforce the provisions of section 13 of the Control of Smoking Act which bans the advertisement of tobacco products by the tobacco industry. 

ATN Botswana has noted with concern that recently, there has been an upsurge in advertisement, especially banners posted by irresponsible companies or individuals that boldly advertise and promote tobacco products in the face of COVID-19 and in full disregard of existing law prohibition of advertising and promotion of tobacco products in Botswana.

Such adverts even inviting  people to smoke shops when the Government of Botswana is urging people to keep physical distance, will negatively affect the effort to fight COVID-19 and also defeat other efforts by government to reduce tobacco use which is a known leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

By Professor Bontle Mbongwe, Executive Director, Anti Tobacco Network

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Francistown’s peaceful night

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On the first day of the 28 days of extreme social distancing, the city of Francistown has experienced one of the most peaceful nights in a long time.

Officer Commanding Number 15 District Senior Superintendent Kabo Badirwang told The Voice in an interview that despite a few isolated incidents the night went on with no worries.

The top cop said stopping the sale of alcohol two weeks ago was a stroke of genius that will go a long way in the combat against Covid-19.

Badirwang said they were worried last night as at around 10pm, they could still see long queues at Automated Teller Machines and some quick shops.
“We announced at around 11:30 that people should be getting ready to go home and what we saw was absolute cooperation. By 12 midnight, the streets were quiet. It was an absolute pleasure to see,” Badirwang said.

He said in an isolated incident they came across three ladies who arrived on a late bus at the Francistown bus rank. “They were heading to areas around Somerset, but as you know there was no public transport. They however finally managed to get a lift and were allowed to proceed to their destination.”

Badirwang said even troublesome locations such as Coloured and Bluetown were very quite at night. “People in Francistown have headed the message and this in turn make our task easy,” he added.

He however noted that while the Francistown nights go on peacefully, it is during the day that they experience challenges with people who still feel they have a right to walk wherever they want.
“We do receive reports of people who are not observing the health tips and social distancing. Those will be dealt with. I’m hopeful that in the coming days, people will understand what this is all about,” he said.

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