Judgment reserved in foreign inmate�s ARV case

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Judgment has been reserved in a case in which a Zimbabwean inmate currently buying HIV drugs from his pocket wants to get the medicine free from the Botswana government.

Alternatively, Gift Mwale who is currently serving a 10-year sentence for robbery demands to be released so that he can fend for himself and get HIV drugs. Last week, he was ordered by Justice Key Dingake of the Gaborone High Court to back up his case with proof of his eligibility for ARVs by presenting his CD4 count after he argued that he was only left with a month’s supply.  The judge had instructed attorneys representing Mwale who is already on ARV treatment, to file supplementary papers with regard to his CD4 count. However, yesterday on the return date, state counsel, Yarona Sharp countered the supplementary papers saying they prove nothing and they could contain anything. She said the additional papers that were requested from Mwale were not properly filed before court, therefore they should be struck out. “Currently it has not been proven that the applicant has reached the threshold before this court and we further say he has failed to prove his eligibility as according to the treatment guidelines so it is our contention that this application should fail,” she said.  Sharp stated that Mwale was cited on another application before another judge regarding the provisions of Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs by the government. “The applicant was part of the proceedings in another case whose judgment is pending before Judge Terrence Rannoane and we submit that the applicant will too benefit from that judgment,” she said.

Countering Sharp’s submissions, Mwale’s attorneys, Friday Leburu and Kabo Motswagole said their client had no business with the case pending in another court as he was not the applicant but was merely brought in during the proceedings. Motswagole argued that the application for contempt of court regarding the August 22, 2014 order by Justice Bengbame Sechele that ARVs should be given free to eligible foreign inmates had nothing to do with their client.  “My client had no business trying to hold the government in contempt, all that was Botswana Networks in Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS’ doing and we pray that he not be held for that,” she said.

Editor's Comment
Routine child vaccination imperative

The recent Vaccination Day in Motokwe, orchestrated through collaborative efforts between UNICEF, USAID, BRCS, and the Ministry of Health, underscores a commendable stride towards fortifying child health services.The painful reality as reflected by the Ministry of Health's data regarding the decline in routine immunisation coverage since the onset of the pandemic, is a cause for concern.It underscores the urgent need to address the...

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