Khama, Masisi clash may lead to civil war
The ongoing war between the former president Lt. Gen. Ian Khama and incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi may lead to civil war if not managed properly, a political analyst has warned. The renowned political analyst and a University of Botswana (UB) lecturer, Leornard Sesa, warned that the fight is not only healthy for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) but also for the country.
“There is a serious war between Khama and those aligned to him and, Masisi and those close to him on the other hand,” Sesa told WeekendPost. He continued: “If it [the feud between the Khama and Masisi continues], I foresee a civil war. If the conflict continues, I insist that we may end up hearing the civil war that is foreign to this country.”
This comes at a time when there has been talk of north/south between the duo in which Khama while president was said to have brought in Masisi, from the South, to neutralise such narrative but it appears the decision was short lived. Khama’s younger brother, Tshekedi Khama also confirmed to this publication recently that, “It is true that I was accused by some Northerners especially some Bangwato that I have given the Chairmanship to a Southerner. They could not believe it. I was shocked upon hearing this. I felt let down that some people are unable to let other people prosper just because they are from somewhere.”
He continued then that, “… and so I told Masisi of my intention not to stand for BDP Chairmanship if it was an issue of north/south divide as suspected. I was the first to recognise that, and took a decision to distill that myth.” As the relationship between the duo deteriorates, the UB Political analysts said the ball is in Masisi’s court as he has powers to call Khama to order. He insisted: “Masisi should therefore call Khama to his office. They should meet and iron out their differences. Khama should show a sense of maturity to the president. They should ask themselves where it did go wrong. Then they should solve the issue for good of the country.”
BOTH BDP AND UDC ARE NOT WELL – ANALYST OPINES
The UB lecturer said we must all acknowledge that both the ruling BDP and opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) are not well. So the only way that makes the different is their approach in so far as they tackle their issues. “UDC mostly exposes themselves to the public in the way they have been treating each other and evidenced in the leaks we have been getting from them while the BDP has been applying diplomacy in trying to address their conflicts but the situation for both parties is getting worse.”
He said BDP primaries may birth a lot of issues and protests; including independent candidates. In terms of the UDC, the political analyst pointed out that the message that needs to go straight to the UDC is that they “have disappointed the electorates.” He reminisced that “look at how they performed in 2014 General Elections, and where they are now since then, they have regressed and it is a pity.”
Sesa said the UDC should go back to the drawing board while adding that it will take time for voters to embrace them again and cast votes in their favour. The best thing, he said, is for UDC to come out and state the status quo as it is to gain trust from the few that still believes in them. He said failing which, the BDP may capitalise and Masisi end-up gaining from it.
HOW BDP, UDC MUST RESOLVE THEIR INTERNAL STRIVES
Sesa stated that both the ruling party and the opposition must put their houses in order as a matter of urgency. “I still believe that BDP, UDC must act. It’s really up to them.” Sesa said three months from now, following the ongoing voter registration, we will be able to gauge what might happen in 2019 between the two main parties.” He continued: “they have to iron out their issues as they will be soon talking to people who would have already registered. So they need to prepare a full package to go to the voters; build and regain trust.”
By the look of things, Sesa said they won’t be voter apathy as Batswana electorates now take their voting seriously. “I am convinced that Batswana will register in large numbers to make decisions in 2019. I think they will take the coming elections seriously. I foresee them registering them en masse to see how parties will solve their problems. Maturity in solving inner party conflicts will contribute immensely,” he said.
COUNTRY SECURITY ALSO TEMPERED WITH?
Sesa emphasised the issue of civil war bearing in mind that the issue of the country’s security may also have been tempered with following the unceremonious expulsion of Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Colonel Isaac Kgosi, replacing him with Brigadier Peter Magosi.Magosi was expelled by Khama while the former was still serving in the army.
Therefore naturally Magosi is aligned to Masisi while Kgosi with Khama. The ex-president is even intending to sue Masisi’s government for refusing to appoint Kgosi as his Private Secretary against his wish. Sesa stressed that the two centers of power if left unattended may turn the country into a civil war and it appears they will also give Masisi a torrid time towards the 2019 General Elections.
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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help
President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.
Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”
Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.
On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.
He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”
President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.
“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”
When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.
“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”
He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.
“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:
He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”
Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.
“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”
In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.
It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.
Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.
President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”
In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”
He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.
“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”
Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”
Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV
Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.
“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”
Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.
“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”
He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.
In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.
Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.
Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”
“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”
Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.
“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”