Sunday, 14 June 2020

Botswana’s director of health services, Dr Malaki Tshipayagae, announced Friday that the capital, Gaborone, will return to extreme lockdown after eight new COVID-19 cases at a private hospital.

“We are concerned because we did not know if it is a communal infection or a hospital-acquired infection, or [it] indicates significant local transmission, or whether there is some form of contamination at the facility,” Tshipayagae said. “As a result, because of those factors, or unknowns, we have decided to shut down or lock down Greater Gaborone.” 

A further four imported cases were reported Friday, bringing the country’s COVID-19 tally to 60.

Tshipayagae said the army and police would resume patrols, effective Friday midnight.

“Movement of people will be through a permit and there would be patrols to ensure that rules are adhered to.” 

People going about their activities in Gaborone, Botswana, before authorities announced the city's return to lockdown on June 12, 2020. (Mqondisi Dube/VOA)

Most economic activities had resumed as the diamond-rich country emerged from a seven-week lockdown that ended May 21.

Schools had reopened but will now close in Gaborone and surrounding areas until further notice.

Gaborone resident Mpho Marumo said the latest development is a drawback.

“It’s quite disappointing really,” Marumo said. “We were looking forward to... the schools, the kids. It’s a really big setback, the schools had reopened and now closed.”

Prior to Friday’s 12 cases, Botswana only had one active case. The country has recorded one COVID-19 death.


Credit: VOA

Published in Economy

Well, budgeting is often associated with losing something. Whether it’s having to cut back on Friday night drinks, or the number of takeaways you order, or limiting the extent of your online shopping, budgeting is almost always viewed in a negative light.

So, what if we forget about the idea of a budget, and rather adopt the use of a spending plan?

No, a spending plan is not just another fancy term for a budget; a spending plan allows you to plan for all those niceties that you aren’t ready to let go of just yet, but prioritise them in a way that allows you to get the most value out of each spend.

A spending plan allows you to enjoy all of the good things in life that you are used to, but in a way that is sustainable and will ensure that you have some money left over for other important spends too, like your investments and savings.

 If you’re one of the people who are tired of hearing the word ‘budget’ everywhere you go, needs-matched life insurer BrightRock’s Change Exchange has come up with some useful tips that will help you adopt a more accommodating spending plan, so the only thing you’ll have to say goodbye to is restrictive budgeting.

Smart saving with a spending plan          

Ditch the idea of a budget and adopt a Spending Plan. The idea of a budget often invokes thoughts of being restricted or limited, and doesn’t feel like it’s going to be fun. What if we reframed our mindset to forget about budgeting and rather think about planning how we spend our money. Want to buy clothes monthly? Create a plan for that. Want to eat out? Add it to your plan.

“Too many people spend money they buy things they don't impress people that they don't like.” Will Rogers Spending Plan Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Let go of right and wrong, good and bad. We are each individuals on our own paths and what is right for me may not be right for you.

There is no such thing as good or bad either, as this is something we measure subjectively based on our own set of values and beliefs. It is different for different people.

Know who you are, what you value and want from life, and where you want to go. If you have this foundation to work from, then it’s much easier to plan how you want to spend your money, as you are able to prioritise what is important to you versus what is not.

Keep focused on yourself only. Don’t worry about what your friends or family are doing with their money. They are different people with different values, needs and desires, and therefore what is right for them may not be right for you. If you’re clear about who you are and what you value and want, then it’s easier to stay focused on yourself and what you need to do to create the vision you have for your life.

Get honest with yourself about what you need and what you want. It’s great and important to have dreams and goals and there is nothing wrong with wanting things. Having said that, knowing this difference will help you to prioritise during times in life that require you to work with a limited amount of money and choose between what you need and what you want.

Zoom out of the day-to-day and month-to-month, and look at your bigger picture. How does spending money on something today impact me tomorrow, next week, next month and even next year?

It’s easy to justify spending money on things that we believe we need in the short-term, but that can compromise our long-term financial health if we’re really honest with ourselves. For example, that daily fresh green juice or shake might support your physical health today, however if it’s compromising your financial health next month then does it really benefit you?

Make time to dream and imagine your future self. Start by thinking in short bursts: who am I one year from now? Then stretch your imagination a little further ahead – three years, five years, 10 years. What can I do now to ensure that i can be who i want to be then? How might my future self feel, looking back at myself now and seeing how I’m spending my money today?

Think mindfully about the pros and cons of instant gratification. For example, takeaway, ready-made meals or snacks vs taking the time to buy the ingredients and make it yourself. You could not only save yourself a lot of money, but also make a difference to our environment if you buy the food to make your own meals.

Plan. Impulsive decisions often happen when we haven’t set an intention and created a plan to help us reach that goal. If you have a plan, then you are better able to assess your impulsive feelings and make a different choice if you decide that following through on your impulse won’t assist you in reaching your goals. Unexpected expenses can also take us off track, but if you plan to keep a specific amount of money available for the unexpected then you’re less likely to be caught by surprise and can weather the storm much more easily than if you were unprepared.

Be kind and compassionate towards yourself. You’re human and the reality is that even the best laid plans don’t always go according to plan. That’s okay. Assess what happened that tripped you up, make adjustments and try again. Remind yourself that you’re doing your best and take time to acknowledge and celebrate all the small wins along the way.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

The Burundian president died from the coronavirus, according to medics at the hospital where he was flown to following his death. 

The country's government had announced Pierre Nkurunziza's cause of death as from a heart attack. 

A medical source at the Karusi hospital where Nkurunziza died, has confirmed the president was in 'respiratory distress' before his death. 

Medics at the Kamenge university hospital in Bujumbura told AFP that the head of the institute of public health requested their hospital's only ventilator and the head of our reanimation service 'in the name of the presidency' on Monday at 10am'. 

The president was flown to the hospital in Karusi, but it was 'too late,' he was 'already dead,' a medical source in Karusi said. 

Suspicions had been high the president had Covid-19 after his wife was hospitalised at the end of May with the virus. A medical document seen by AFP said she had tested positive for the virus and suffered 'respiratory distress.'  

The African country announced Nkurunziza's 'unexpected' death on June 9 declaring a national week of mourning. 

The government has yet to announce a date for his funeral, but is marking the seven-day period of national mourning, during which it has banned music in bars, nightclubs and karaoke, a statement said Thursday. 

Nkurunziza had reportedly felt unwell on June 6 and 'to very great surprise' his health worsened, leading to a cardiac arrest from which he died in hospital, officials had said. 

His wife Denise was airlifted for coronavirus treatment in Kenya on May 30, prompting some suspicion about the president's true cause of death.   

Nkurunziza was due to leave office in August after a controversial 15-year term marked by claims of repression and human rights abuses. 

It was announced on Friday that Burundi's constitutional court has agreed that president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye should be sworn in immediately after the death of Nkurunziza.  

A medical source at the Karusi hospital where Nkurunziza died, has confirmed the president had also been in 'respiratory distress' before his death

A medical source at the Karusi hospital where Nkurunziza died, has confirmed the president had also been in 'respiratory distress' before his death

Nkurunziza took office in 2005 under a power-sharing deal following a 12-year civil war which left 300,000 people dead. 

His decision to run for a disputed third term in 2015 plunged the country into violence, leading to hundreds more deaths. 

Facing allegations of widespread abuses, his government became the first country to leave the International Criminal Court in 2017.   

Human Rights Watch says the police and ruling party are known to carry out 'widespread human rights abuses' including killings and arbitrary arrests. 

Nkurunziza's party was confirmed as the winner of May's election last week, paving the way for the first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1962.

The outgoing president had backed retired army general Ndayishimiye as his successor and saw him win nearly 70 per cent of the vote.

The opposition National Freedom Council (CNL), headed by Agathon Rwasa, had alleged the May 20 election was riddled with fraud and irregularities.   

In the event of a president's death, the constitution provides for the speaker of parliament to take over in such a situation. 

Legally, the Speaker of parliament, Pascal Nyabenda, should have become the interim leader.

It was announced on Friday that Burundi's constitutional court has agreed that president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye (pictured) should be sworn in immediately after the death of Nkurunziza

It was announced on Friday that Burundi's constitutional court has agreed that president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye (pictured) should be sworn in immediately after the death of Nkurunziza 

The court ruled, however, that 'the interim period is not necessary and that...Ndayishimiye must be sworn in as soon as possible', the government said in a statement posted on Twitter.

There had been uncertainty as to who was in charge in Bujumbura since the government announced Nkurunziza's death.

Watchers of the country had worried about possible discord over the succession among the ranks of Burundi's powerful group of generals that might have sparked a fresh round of unrest.

The statement did not say when the swearing-in would be conducted.

Ndayishimiye was declared winner of the central African country's election last month after fending off a challenge from Agathon Rwasa, and was officially due to be sworn in in August.

It was the country's first competitive presidential election since a civil war erupted in 1993.

Burundi, which shares the same ethnic mix with its neighbour Rwanda, has been convulsed by recurring cycles of power grabs, violence and massacres since it won independence in 1962.

Nkurunziza was a former rebel leader whose rule was marked by widespread brutality and repression of his opponents.

Burundi's economy is also in tatters after donors, whose aid was a key source of government revenue, dropped the country amid continuing human rights violations 

Burundi has largely ignored the virus outbreak, taking few measures to combat its spread compared to many of its neighbours which implemented strict lockdowns and curfews, and holding an election campaign.

The country has officially reported 94 cases and one death. 



Published in Economy
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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