Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has revealed in an exclusive interview with WeekendPost that he will soon launch a foundation which will promote democracy as well as critical importance of leadership and governance across Africa.
Khama made history in Botswana as the first former President of the country and President of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), to join opposition after his publicised ‘fallout’ with his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi, upon handing over power on 1st April 2018. According to former President Khama, the foundation will look into issues of democracy and it will be a watchdog on good governance. “When I talk of good governance we will be looking at accountability, transparency, the rule of law and a watchdog of specifically three freedoms: speech, press and association”, Khama told WeekendPost last week.
The former President who is the Patron of the newly formed party, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) — which contested the country’s General Elections in October, winning three seats — said, they will also be a watchdog on tolerance and touch on human rights and lastly on free and fair elections on the continent. “The foundation which will launch in Botswana beginning of the New Year, will also expand to the region as well as other parts of the continent. We will be issuing quarterly reports on the status of all the items mentioned and at the end of the year, release detailed reports with recommendations on where to improve,” Khama said.
The former President said currently as it stands, there is no tolerance of political opponents in Botswana as evidenced by the events leading to the October General Elections and some of the harassment on opponents still continues. In the months leading to October polls, tension was brewing threatening the BDP’s five decade grip on power, resulting in a tetchiness which has seen the country’s opposition leader harassed and several laws bulldozed through the legislature.
The President of the Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) Duma Boko, who lost his Gaborone Bonnington- South seat to BDP’s Anna Mokgethi, said the ruling party used state police to harass him several times and impounded on several occasions aircraft engaged by his party for campaigning. While addressing media in Sandton in the suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa, Boko said, he was concerned at the constant harassment by government and believes the reason for the spotlight on him is the current political dynamics which point to a change of guard for the first time since 1966 in Botswana.
With Botswana Congress Party (BCP) joining the umbrella opposition drive and the newly formed BPF, with the support of former President Ian Khama, Boko said the move highlighted threats to the ruling BDP than ever before and for the first time in 50 years, change of power was imminent. The African Report online writes: ‘Africa’s poster child for democracy, good governance, and transparency, for many years in the top five of the best- governed and least corrupt countries in Africa, Botswana was a good news story Africa had to hold on to. But, was it?
“On the face of it, Botswana is a thriving, open, competitive democracy. It has unfailingly held periodic transparent, credible, and peaceful elections – which the ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), has won since independence in 1965. It tolerates opposition and there is none of the systematic violence seen in countries like Zimbabwe and elsewhere. The country alternates its President after every two terms.
The Government appears to govern well, prudently, and accountably managing the revenues from the diamonds on which the economy depends on. However, underlying this is a carefully crafted system, aimed at subverting – not advancing – democratic practice, manipulating control of diamond revenue for political advantage, and entrenching and preserving BDP’s political hegemony”.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.