Leader of Opposition in parliament who is also president of the main opposition party, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko has characterised President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s military expenditure as having a possibility of triggering an arms race in the sub region.
Boko stated this on Wednesday as part of his response to Khama’s State of the Nation Address delivered on Monday. He stated that during both Khama’s tenures in the army and as head of state; he presided over extremely wasteful and ill-advised military expenditure.
He further alleged that expensive military hardware that bled the country hundreds of millions of Pula is gathering dust in the armouries of Botswana Defence Force (BDF):
“There is, as we speak, over 500 tons of Mark 82 bombs and F5 Rockets that have gone past both their operational and shelf life without ever being used. This is military equipment that has set the country back by over 300 million Pula. It is money gone to waste while our people are down in the dumps, catching hell.”
Boko continued: “He is the same person who nearly sparked off an arms race in the region by seeking to purchase F4 Phantom fighter aircraft, with inflight refuelling capability, from Turkey, an acquisition that was prevented when South Africa raised alarm.”
“It means they can go from here to DRC. Who are we trying to impress? What it can only do is trigger an arms race in the region. It’s extremely dangerous. It renders the whole region volatile,” he said. Boko who likened Khama to an emperor claimed that the BDF has 8 Bell 412 helicopters, three of which are set aside for the president’s exclusive use.
“These are the H 04, which is an Augusta Bell, the H 07 and the H 08. These are very modern helicopters available for his exclusive use.” He continued: “Yet what does this emperor do? At a time when the country is facing economic hardship which results in closures of mines and massive job losses, he purchases an EC 225 Supa Puma helicopter for his own exclusive use and enjoyment.
Our people are caught up in the death grip of poverty and unemployment, yet their president is abusing their resources on himself and his eccentricities. State owned enterprises are retrenching and sending many people into a bleak future, and our president is busy feeding his frenzy and satisfying his extravagant pastimes; buying a luxury helicopter for over 300 million Pula!”
He further stated that the cost of transporting the helicopter to Botswana in the Antonov aircraft that brought it here was well over 5 million Pula. He continued to say that as if that was not enough, Khama then took over 10 Billion Pula and applied it to the purchase of Grippen Fighter jets that the country does not need.
“A single Gripen jet equates to the combat power of a whole battalion. Such combat power and capability is not only totally unnecessary, it is prohibitively expensive, considering we will never get to use it unless our belligerent conduct angers our neighbours and triggers an arms race that will leave the security situation in the region highly volatile and dangerous.”
Boko further stated that when Khama ascended to the presidium on April 1st in 2008, he inherited a country whose institutions were genuinely the envy of the world. He stated that while they were not perfect his predecessors bequeathed to him a sound foundation from which it was possible to build world class institutions which would transform the country’s socio economic and political fortunes.
He said that what happened next, however, is that the Khama regime chose to squander the advantages handed to it, “and offered us a dead-end disguised as a path. In many ways our nation is worse off today than it was when the current administration took over the reins.”
Boko further noted that Khama does not bear the blame alone stating that all those who comprised his team are equally culpable. “All those who elected to be safe and cozy in their timorous silence are equally to blame,” Boko levelled the accusation.
Boko further continued to state that the Khama administration is either reluctant or unwilling to set any targets for itself.
“To date no one knows how many jobs the administration hopes to catalyse each year during the 11th Development Plan period; no one knows how many engineers, artisans or technicians the administration hopes to churn out; how many professionals, business people and other experts our immigration system will grant residence to assist our economy to grow. No one wants to commit to just how much and by what order of magnitude to diversify our economy as well as our export base.”
He also further stated that the executive branch of government thrives on projecting to the outside world an image of a well-functioning, three-arm democratic set up when in reality it has weakened the other two arms.
He explained this by stating that the country’s parliament by tradition reports to the Office of the President, and has no budget office of its own or fully fledged bill-drafting units. He also stated that parliament of Botswana cannot make its own economic projections or carry out its own sector impact studies.
According to him, the unfortunate reality is that even the ruling party back bench lacks the courage to exercise frank and plain speech, except sometimes for Francistown MP, Ignatius Moswaane and ruling party Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay, whose position as Chief Whip is however under threat.
He further described the executive branch as an albatross that chokes the other branches and lacks any commitment to genuine democratic ideals and practices. “The consequences of this imbalance are dire: an unaccountable and incompetent Government that lacks the will and disposition to transform the lives of our people,” he said
He also waded into the contentious topic of the four suspended High Court judges, when he said, “Does the fact of their favourable treatment by the same President that suspended their brethren not compromise them and render them favourably disposed toward the executive in some quid pro quo? How can the ordinary citizen or any litigant trust such a judiciary to dispense justice without fear and without reproach?”
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.