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No sex, no condoms for kids – Church leaders

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Church leaders have described as irresponsible and unlawful calls for government to avail condoms in learning institutions saying that gesture will encourage students to engage in sexual activities.

Reverend Gabriel Tsoaneng of Botswana Council of Churches and Dr Kenaope Kenaope of the Seventh Day Adventist Church said this at a media conference organized by the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA) and Embassy of United States of America.

“The law says a child cannot engage in sex before they attain the age of 18 years, and therefore as the church, we cannot support something that goes against the law of this country and the Christian religion. Why should I give condoms to my 1- year-old son or daughter? We should equip our children with knowledge,” said Tsoaneng.

Dr Kenaope shared sentiments with Tsoaneng adding that SDA-owned institutions of learning do not allow for sexual relations at any stage, including student nurses in Kanye amongst others.

“You don’t even have to talk condoms for primary schools, you go to the nursing college in Kanye where I work, we do not distribute condoms to our students. By the time those young adults leave school they are no longer interested in sex before marriage because we emphasize behavior change,” Kenaope said.

National Coordinator Richard Matlhare said that NAHPA is going to engage other stakeholder sooner to map the way forward on the issue of condom distribution in schools. “This is a matter that needs more engagement and resolution by all stakeholders,” he said.

NAHPA and the US Embassy will be launching an initiative on February 16th, in Mahalapye, to engage faith based organizations and traditional healers to encourage men and children to test for HIV and enroll on AntiRetroviral Theraphy.

US Ambassador Craig Cloud said that the initiative targets faith based organizations because these organization meet face to face with the people almost on daily basis and have power to change their mindset.

“We want to change the messaging that has been coming out – from HIV Kills to messages of hope. HIV does not have to kill. We want to target men, and young men and women to get tested and tackle the problem of violence against children. We believe that working with faith-based organizations and traditional healers is the best way to do it,” Cloud said.

Matlhare added that if properly executed, the initiative will bring positive results and reduce new infections.

It has emerged that men do not test in large numbers and those who have tested HIV Positive do not adhere to the drugs.

Others, it was said, prefer to approach traditional healers than going to health facilities when they are not well.

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Politicians clash over Covid-19 meeting

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The fight against Covid-19 stepped into the periphery of partisan politics this week as the absence of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leaders sparked accusations and counter-accusations over their invitation to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s closed meeting.

UDC President, Duma Boko and party vice president, Dumelang Saleshando, were not part of the delegation that attended the three-hour long meeting.

Although Masisi stated that Boko, like other party leaders was invited, the UDC has vehemently denied the claim.

In a press release that was issued last night the UDC said. “We have noted the events that have been evolving around the Covid-19 pandemic, its a serious matter that requires all of us to work genuinely. We value and encourage national dialogue on important matters such as the fight against Covid 19. The truth is that the UDC president has not received any invitation from Office of the President and we call OP to provide proof.”

However, when the UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa was asked about calls made to him by OP, he said, ” I was asked about Boko’s whereabouts by Kaelo Molefe and I told him I was in Phikwe. I asked him to check him at his house. This morning I got another call from Professor Mpho Molomo who said he had Boko’s invitation to a meeting with President Masisi and I suggested that they go to his house, an address which is popular within the government enclave. I indicated to him that I had received a similar call from Kaelo Molefhe and he said he was with him. Kaelo knows where Boko stays having been his associate in the build-up to the 2014 General Elections. So quite frankly I doubt he would say he does not know Boko’s house. As regards Nick and Keorapetse I cannot comment on their behalf, ” explained Mohwasa last night.

Dithapelo Keorapetse too said that the OP was being playful. “Why would they contact me for DGB? They are aware of his PA, VP, Secretary General, Spokesperson and UDC NEC. These are the people from who to check him. Whoever wants the UDC President from me for official things is playing. The state has been to his house several times. How did they suddenly forget his place of abode? Even Kaelo knows Boko’s House from his UDC days, ” said Keorapetse.

The accusations did not go well with the BDP Chairman of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, who expressed concern that the UDC was turning a pandemic into a political mudsling.

He said that all efforts including calls, text, WhatsApp messages to Boko, Moeti, Keorapetse and Boko’s bodyguard were made without any success. “There is a communication trail to prove this. UDC must know when to come to the table and be patriotic on issues on national interest such as COVID-19, its very disappointing for a party calling themselves an alternative government to behave in this manner but Batswana are watching and we know they will punish them for this.”

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BPF opposes 6 months State of Emergency

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Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) president, Biggie Butale, yesterday broke ranks with other opposition leaders parties as a opposed a six-months long State of Emergency proposed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, at a closed meeting.

Although other party leaders such as the president of Botswana Movement for Democracy, Sidney Pilane, Vice president of Alliance for Progressives, Wynter Mmoltsi and Gaontebale Mokgosi of Real Alternative Party, supported Masisi’s move, BPF took a different stand. “State of Emergency must be used only in extreme circumstances and now we at BPF are not comfortable with it because once it becomes a habit, maybe in the future government may not be as kind as the current government and find an opportunity to abuse it.”

Butale however said that the meeting for all party leaders was useful and that it would go a long way in enhancing Botswana’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Masisi’s call for six months of State of Emergency follows the unrelenting global rise in coronavirus cases of which Botswana has since recorded.

Today Masisi was scheduled to meet cabinet and all members of Parliament as he continies to lobby for a six-months long State of Emergency.

The president has since explained that should the situation improves then they will stick to the initial 28-day lockdown plan which started on the 2nd and ends on April 30th.

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