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DeBeers, Botswana deal under the lens again

Botswana must revisit its diamond agreement with DeBeers, the Africa report titled “Botswana unravels: unmasking Africa’s democracy poster child” released on Wednesday, 28 August 2019 has revealed.

It states that the current agreement expires in March 2021, and, according to that agreement, negotiations for a new one should be completed before September 2020 – a year from now. According to the report, negotiations started in July and BDP seems keen to renew the agreement perhaps pushing for stronger government power and involvement. 

“Sadly, the agreement does not appear to be a big election issue and the opposition seems unconcerned while the ruling party, on the other hand, continues the renewal negotiations in complete secrecy raising concerns of another secret deal, which may be even worse than the current one,” report points out.

Before that, the Africa report highlights that it must fully disclose to its citizens the detailed nature of this relationship, including the respective past and current financial benefits. For far too long, it explains that the secret deal has provided fertile ground for zero accountability on the part of the ruling elite and DeBeers. It states that the bottom line is Botswana must stop believing the myth and confront corruption, and this, and the non-transparent manner in which diamond revenue is managed and shared.

Even more damning and paradoxical, it says Botswana is technically a rich country but in reality, half of its 2.4-million people live in poverty – essentially the problem of how its diamond wealth is managed and distributed. In Botswana, the report posits that in the underlying, there 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.

Diamonds contribute 80% of Botswana’s revenue. Based on its diamond wealth measured against its population, Botswana is officially considered a middle-income country. South African diamond mining giant, DeBeers, began prospecting for diamonds in northern Botswana in early 1970 and opened its first mine at Orapa in 1972. In 1982, it opened what became the world richest diamond mine in Jwaneng. In 1969, the government of Botswana entered into an agreement with DeBeers to establish DEBSWANA, in which each party had a 50% stake.

DEBSWANA is a key player in Botswana’s economy, employing over 5,000 public sector workers and making a significant contribution to government revenue. The partnership between the government and DeBeers has been one of the longest-running public-private partnerships in history but also one that is considered to be well managed on the face of it. However, a closer look reveals that this, too, is a myth.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

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.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

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.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

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.

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