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Botswana’s foreign policy has shifted – MOFAIC PS

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) Gaeimelwe Goitsemang has conceded that Botswana, just like other countries subscribe to an unethical foreign policy.A country’s foreign policy is the way in which a country interacts with foreign nations and sets standards of interaction for its organisations, corporations and citizens.

Under the Lt Gen Ian Khama’s presidency Botswana endured a turbulent season with most of the countries and international organisations turning their backs on the country. The policy then was “hypocritical, self-righteous and illogical,” according to international relation scholars. In fact it has been argued that Botswana has no clear foreign policy.

Following President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s visit to China, a country whose relations with Botswana reached lows last year, after the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was due to visit Botswana, it has been revealed that Botswana has changed its position on dealing with China – one of the world’s economic powerhouse. “Our foreign policy is directed by the chief diplomat who in this case is the president. He is however advised by the relevant ministry and the diplomats,” said Goitsemang.

 “Ideally a foreign policy is informed by the national interest like vision 2036. But I should hasten to say that there is no country that practices an ethical foreign policy,” he added. The seemingly confident PS who was appearing before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) this week, had answers at the tip of his tongue.  He said the recent visit to China has made them take the Asian country as a major strategic partner.

“Approach has changed, it is determined by the President,” he said when asked on what has made them change their perspective on China. “By then the relationship was characterized by perceptions and mistrust,” he said referring to the era of Khama especially at a time when Dalai Lama was expected in the country. Botswana under the leadership of Masisi has reversed the policy adopted by this predecessor and now subscribes to one China policy. This program sees Taiwan and Tibet as part of China.

The two ‘nations’ have for a long time pleaded for semi-autonomy, something which China cannot grant. International relations pundit Solly Rakgomo has concurred with Goitsemang saying ethical and codified foreign policy is always a suicidal move.  “If you are to subscribe to an ethical policy then as a country you will lose big. Each country look at its national interest before it forge a relation with another, most of this are a win-win situation. So if you practice ethical policy then chances are you will suffer economically,” he said.

He says events of the world are not static hence countries should be flexible and unethical on their policies. According to Rakgomo, as things stand, Dalai Lama cannot come to Botswana looking at the relation that has been reformed between China and Botswana.

DIPLOMATS HIRING SYSTEM EXPLAINED

Still at the PAC sitting the diplomats hiring mechanism was revealed. According to the PS, ambassadors are employed on five year contracts while those below them are given 48 months contracts. “Right now the Minister makes the recommendation to Head of State. However, he has the prerogative to reject the person,” Goitsemang said when he was asked as to who hire the diplomats.

The PAC advised that there should be an independent legislative structure hiring the envoys to avoid favoritism.  There have been concerns with regards to the hiring of diplomats. Observers argued that those posts were used to reward allies especially based on political affiliation.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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