Items filtered by date: Monday, 06 April 2020 - Botswana Guardian

The University of Botswana has designed a face shield that can be used as part of protective gear for medical personnel involved in the fight against COVID-19. The initiative to design the face shield is part of the university’s commitment towards responding to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.


According to a media statement from UB the face shield was designed by a team of engineers and product designers who were assembled to develop solutions towards supporting the national response immediately after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. After studying emerging literature and experiences from other nations as well as with further consultation from medical staff at the Faculty of Medicine, the team determined shortage of ventilators and protective gear for medical personnel as areas of urgent need, reads the statement.


Attention was therefore shifted towards designing of face shields, facemasks and ventilation hoods. “The design processes started with prototyping of the face shield and facemask. Prototyping for the face shield is now complete and production towards meeting the national demand will commence,” reads the statement.  The material used for the face shield comprises mainly acrylic band, transparent film (OHP acetate sheet), two-way tape and an elastic string. “The idea was to ensure that the developed design would make use of material that was available locally at the least possible cost.” 

The face shield is meant to compliment the facemasks that medical personnel use especially when dealing directly with Coronavirus affected patients.


“Its most selling points are that it is cheap, one size fits all, very light in weight and seats comfortably on the face of the user. Additionally, it can be used several times as long as it is sterilised,” the school has said. The team is currently working on designing and prototyping the ventilation hood which comprises the hood and controls to regulate pressure of the mix of oxygen and natural air supplied to the patient. Once this is completed it will also go on the production line.


The team is led by Prof Benjamin Bolaane, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology with three Heads of Department; Electrical Engineering, Prof Edwin Matlotse, Mechanical Engineering, Prof Jerekias Gandure and Industrial Design and Technology, Dr. Yaone Rapitsenyane. 



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President Mokgweetsi Masisi has cancelled the Form A and Form B permits that have been issued. The president has in recognition of the risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 3 of the Emergency Powers Act, made amendments to cancel the permit and replace it with a five (5) days valid permit.


According to the latest Government Gazette, the decision was made on the 5th of April 2020. This development is said to have come after realising that some members of the public are applying for the permits even though they do not fall within the bracket of essential service providers or in the list of those who need to access essential services. 


Congestions were also experienced at various District Commissioners' offices thereby defeating the government’s efforts of preventing the spread of the virus through extreme social distancing measures. Under the mew guidelines, each ministry headquarters is to determine officers who will be authorised to sign off the permits. At District level, District Commissioner (DC) and the Head of the District Health Management Team (DHMT) will coordinate in overseeing the granting of permission to travel by authorised officers such as Senior Government Officials, Dikgosi, Council Secretary, Headmen, Head of School/Training Institution and Police Officers.


In a locality without the above, two Village Extension Teams (VET) approved by the District Commissioner will facilitate sign off on authorisation to travel. Typically, a health official should be part of the authorising team. According to the gazetted amendment, the authorised travel permit is valid for a maximum of 5 days from date of issue and can be renewed thereafter.  Authorised officials are expected to submit a copy of all issued permits, plus an accompanying summary (report) of permits issued on a daily basis to the National Emergency Operations Centre.


# COVID-19



#Botswana Guardian 


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Freedom Watch based in Washington DC has approached the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the prosecutor’s office to open an enquiry against China over COVID-19 pursuant to Article 15. Freedom Watch is a public interest nono-profit foundation whose mission is to investigate and prosecute gocernment corruption abuse. The foundation wants an enquiry of the origins, creation, stockpiling, and negligent handling of a variation of a type of coronavirus known as COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, by the defendants -the People’s Republivc of China, and the other defendants, including but not limited to President Xi Jinping and his Politburo.


"This is a complaint for the opening of an inquiry by the Prosecutor at the International 

Criminal Court under Article 15 of the Rome Treaty to investigate the urgent and important question of the likely creation and release, accidental or otherwise, of a variation of coronavirus known as COVID-19 by the People's Republic of China and its 

agencies and officials and functionaries as a biological weapon in violation of China's 

agreements under international treaties, and the subsequent reckless and criminal release 

from the Wuhan Institute of Virology into the city of Wuhan, China, in Hubei Province", says Freedom Watch Founder and Chairman Larry Klayman.


The Defendants are the People's Republic of China (“PRC”), The People's Liberation Army, The Wuhan Institute of Virology- a biological laboratory, Shi Zhengli- the Director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China and Major General Chen Wei of China's PLA, the Chinese military's top epidemiologist and virologist at the PLA's Academy of Military Medical Sciences. The complainants also allege among other acts that the defendants failed to prevent the Wuhan Institute of Virology's personnel from becoming infected with the bioweapon and 

then carrying the virus out into the surrounding community and proliferation into the United States.


Freedom Watch also raises a complaint for the Defendants’ violation of international treaties and international law and obligations by withholding medical information on the spread of the COVID-19 virus, resulting in thousands of avoidable and unnecessary deaths and illnesses and massive world economic damage caused by the delay in sharing medical information about the spread of the virus.


According to Klayman the defendants violated the law of nations, established U.S. law, international laws, treaties and norms, including but not limited to those sections previously set forth: The Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism and citations therein incorporated by reference adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1994 (GA Res. 49/50); The Anti-Terror Act, 18 U.S.C. 113B; The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996); The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (“USA Patriot Act”), Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 271 (2001); The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; Art. 2, December 9, 1949, 78 UNTS;


"This new and engineered virus has been designated as COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2.

 COVID-19 is an extremely dangerous disease, because it has an extremely aggressive nature, and was designed to mutate from person to person. 


“It spreads very quickly and easily, no vaccine exists yet on account of it being a new disease, the means of transmission are not fully known with certainty, and treatments are only just being worked out, and the disease appears to be about ten times as deadly as the flu. The first case eventually confirmed to be COVID-19 infection by China’s admission was on December 8, 2019. 


“However, doctors in Wuhan and throughout China were also ordered not to disclose any information about the new disease to the public." Freedom Watch insists that with respect to China's handling of the Wuhan Coronavirus by suppressing medical reporting, there is sufficient evidence that the Communist Party of China is guilty of crimes against humanity.


The statute specifically states: “[C]rimes against humanity do not need to be linked to an armed conflict and can also occur in peacetime, similar to the crime of genocide. “The Rome statute goes on to state specifically: Another important distinction is that in the case of crimes against humanity, it is not necessary to prove that there is an overall  specific intent. 


“Only one of the eleven criminal acts defined needs to be committed to qualify for prosecution in the International Criminal Court", argued Klayman in court documents dated March 30 2020.


The complainant argues that had China not unlawfully suppressed information about the new militarily engineered virus and its spread, according to researchers at the University of Southampton, in the United Kingdom, the spread of COVID-19 would have been reduced by as much as 95%.


It is the complainant's contention that the defendants systematically, intentionally, and unlawfully withheld from the international community and medical community the information needed to fight the spread and effects of the new viral disease. 


The defendants withheld critical medical information that would have dramatically improved the medical response of nations worldwide, advanced the development of a vaccine and treatments by a couple of crucial months, and slowed and lessened the spread of the viral disease before it became so widespread, argues Freedom Watch in the papers. "Complainants respectfully request that the prosecutor’s office of the ICC open an investigation to determine the origins of the COVID19 virus including its likely release from Wuhan institute of virology and the defendants’ willful interference with attempt to fight the spread of the disease and develop treatments, tests and a vaccine and once the fact alleged herein are confirmed, to conduct criminal war crimes prosecution to and try, convict and sentence to life imprisonment the defendants", prayed Freedom Watch in their papers.



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With his latest book, ‘Botswana: Choice and Opportunity: A Memoir 1963 to 2018’- Sandy Grant has certainly entrenched himself within the country’s literary treasure trove.  Sandy, a Motswana citizen and holder of a presidential honour award, lives with his wife Elinah, and two sons in Odi, a village midway between Mochudi and Gaborone. 

Among his other books are Botswana and its National Heritage; Decorated Homes; People of Mochudi and Mochudi Around the Time of Independence as welll as a collection of essays from his newspaper column, Etcetera (1991-97). 

Sandy has also edited and published Sheila Bagnall’s Letters from Botswana. He has been a part time lecturer at the University of Botswna and at Limkokwing (Gaborone) where he pioneered a new course in the history of building in Botswana. This latest addition to his collection, ‘Botswana: Choice and Opportunity: A Memoir 1963 to 2018’, is described by John Speed, Former Director of the European Court of Auditors and Planning Officer (Land) in Government as “a structured and eclectic collection of reminiscences”.

Speed finds in it, bits that are funny, many that are inspirational, and others which are disturbing, but above all, he says Sandy has provided many insights into the “human condition, culture, and the political situation in Southern Africa”.

The Amazon Website from which the book can be sourced, describes it as a “fascinating and timely look” into a period of history that is “woefully under-documented”, and which has a fresh, observer's eye feel.  Sandy clearly lived every moment of this period (1963 – 2018) and documents it both thoroughly and valuably, so much so in fact that this reads almost like a historical novel more than a simple memoir. It is packed with “astute observations, real-time social perception and wonderful personal touches” that takes the reader right to the time and place. 

Amazon Website contends that Botswana historians should find the book essential research, while those looking for a genuine 'feel' for Africa of the immediate past will also be enthralled. It says while Sandy has already written extensively on Botswana and its historical background, the latest book is by far his “most comprehensive and downright entertaining” work to date.

Yet another reviewer, Professor Dr. Jan-Bart Gewald, Director Africa Studies Centre, Leiden, observes that Sandy has championed the cause of history, and in particular the lived history of people in the everyday throughout his career in Botswana. “It is this humanity and eye for others and appreciation for humility and magnanimity in others that forms a central theme in his study of Botswana,” he wrote.

When Sandy Grant arrived in late 1963 after escaping a desk job in a London publishing house, Bechuanaland was a Protectorate administered by the British from a base in Mafikeng, South Africa.  In Mochudi he found a community in the midst of a famine, one whose lifestyle had changed little during the previous 20 or 30 years and where the ox-drawn sledge and wagon were commonly in use.  Mochudi is in the Kgatleng District, where novelist and campaigner Naomi Mitchison was the adopted mother of Chief Linchwe II.  Mochudi, the ninth biggest town in Botswana, is also the home of the fictional Mma Ramotswe, of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. 

In the book Sandy describes the beginnings of his 43 years working understanding with the young Kgosi Linchwe II and the oppressive weight of apartheid South Africa. When Independence came in a rush, the government of the new Botswana was technically bankrupt, and its very survival seemed in doubt. 

In its newly created capital, Gaborone, Sandy worked to provide relief and to foster local development initiatives and combat social injustice. In the book, he comments on the country’s efforts as it emerged from poverty. Sandy worked to provide relief and to foster local development initiatives and combat social injustice. As a long-standing newspaper columnist, he comments on the country as it emerged from poverty. 

His account gives insights of tribal life, rain hills and rainmaking, the initiation of young males and his conversion of an abandoned hilltop school into a multi-faceted museum. As a hands-on participant, he describes with a deft hand, his involvement with the democratic process, a range of intriguing personalities and events, amusing, personal, perplexing and disturbing. Sandy Grant has an MA in History from Cambridge University and an MSc in the conservation of the built environment from Herriot-watt University, Edinburgh. He arrived in Botswana in late 1963 and has been involved in development at both local and national levels and with refugee needs.

He is renowned for establishing the world regarded multifaceted Phuthadikobo Museum (the former BaKgatla National School) in Mochudi, as part of his conviction of the need to ground the present in the past.



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