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The great wall of America?

"The truth is, our immigration system is worse than anyone realizes. But the facts aren’t known because the media won’t report on them, the politicians won’t talk about them, and the special interests spend a lot of money trying to cover them up.

Today you will get the truth….

We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate. It is our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish here.

Then there is the issue of security. Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws. Countless Americans who have died in recent years would be alive today if not for the open border policies of this Administration. This includes incredible Americans like 21-year-old Sarah Root. The man who killed her arrived at the border, entered federal custody, and then was released into a U.S. community under the policies of this White House. He was released again after the crime, and is now at large…

Hillary Clinton, for instance, talks constantly about her fears that families will be separated. But she’s not talking about the American families who have been permanently separated from their loved ones because of a preventable death. No, she’s only talking about families who came here in violation of the law…
We will treat everyone living or residing in our country with dignity. We will be fair, just and compassionate to all. But our greatest compassion must be for American citizens.

Now that you’ve heard about Hillary Clinton’s plan – about which she has not answered a single substantive question – let me tell you about my plan.
While Hillary Clinton meets only with donors and lobbyists, my plan was crafted with the input from federal immigration officers, along with top immigration experts who represent workers, not corporations. I also worked with lawmakers who’ve led on this issue on behalf of American citizens for many years, and most importantly, I’ve met with the people directly impacted by these policies.

Number One: We will build a wall along the Southern Border

On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border. We will use the best technology, including above-and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels, and keep out the criminal cartels, and Mexico will pay for the wall.

Number Two: End Catch-And-Release

Under my Administration, anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country.
Number Three: Zero tolerance for criminal aliens

According to federal data, there are at least 2 million criminal aliens now inside the country. We will begin moving them out day one, in joint operations with local, state and federal law enforcement.

Beyond the 2 million, there are a vast number of additional criminal illegal immigrants who have fled or evaded justice. But their days on the run will soon be over. They go out, and they go out fast.

Moving forward, we will issue detainers for all illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever, and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings. We will terminate the Obama Administration’s deadly non-enforcement policies that allow thousands of criminal aliens to freely roam our streets.

Since 2013 alone, the Obama Administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into U.S. communities – these are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who not detained or processed for deportation.

My plan also includes cooperating closely with local jurisdictions to remove criminal aliens.

We’ve admitted 59 million immigrants to the United States between 1965 and 2015.

Many of these arrivals have greatly enriched our country. But we now have an obligation to them, and to their children, to control future immigration – as we have following previous immigration waves – to ensure assimilation, integration and upward mobility.

Within just a few years immigration as a share of national population is set to break all historical records.

The time has come for a new immigration commission to develop a new set of reforms to our legal immigration system in order to achieve the following goals:

To keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms

To select immigrants based on their likelihood of success in U.S. society, and their ability to be financially self-sufficient. We need a system that serves our needs – remember, it’s America First.

To choose immigrants based on merit, skill and proficiency

And to establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.

We want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally and properly-vetted, and in a manner that serves the national interest…" – Donal J. Trump, Immigration Speech, Phoenix, Arizona (August 31, 2016).

I've just given you an excerpt from the speech given by the Republican Presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump last week in Phoenix, Arizona, hot on the heels of his much vaunted meeting with the President of Mexico. It was a much anticipated speech, for many reasons. Once and for all, the American electorate wanted to hear in clear and concise terms exactly what Donald Trump's policies were.

Most importantly, uncomfortable Republicans were waiting with bated breath to see if Trump's divisive, hardline, and even racist politics were going to be finally toned down in order to persuade the minorities whom he had consistently insulted since announcing his candidacy in June 2015. And, if his meeting with the Mexican President was anything to go by, hopes were high that Trump would finally play by the rules if he had any serious hopes of making 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue his home from January 2017. Alas! How wrong everybody was!

The subdued, cordial and affable Trump of a few hours earlier in Mexico City was nowhere to be found that evening in Phoenix. It was a classic case of Jekyll and Hyde! Instead of following the advice even if those within his inner circle to deliver a speech that would not aggravate and bastardize immigrants, Trump chose to double down on his rhetoric that saw him bulldoze 15 other candidates in the Republican race. He came with all guns blazing. I was watching the speech. I'm not an American. I'm not a Republican.

I'm not a Democrat either. But I was gobsmacked. Trump went on to give what was one of the darkest and most chilling speeches I've ever heard. Don't get me wrong. He scored very well on delivery. It was the contents of his speech that were dark and ominous. I had visions of Hitler's Nuremberg Rallies, whipping crowds into a frenzy with nationalistic propaganda crafted by Josef Goebbels. His phraseology rang eerily close to the language of despots.

Phrases like "Only people who love us" and "ideological tests" are the staple of dictators. Only dictators are obsessed with being loved and ensuring that everybody subscribes to their narrow ideologies. His hardcore base lapped it up. But the discerning, even within his own party, were properly repulsed. In fact, several of his leading Latino supporters resigned immediately after the speech. Even Republicans who were hoping to be persuaded, who had given him the benefit of the doubt for over a year, said he now gave them enough reason to disregard him as worthy of their vote.

In his speech, Trump pretty much outlined a fascist policy that would bastardize and demonize immigrants. His feverish nationalist agenda was no different in passion, conviction, and tone to the preamble leading up to Hitler's ascendancy to being the Fuhrer of the Third Reich. Just like Hitler exaggerated Germany's problems and laid the blame squarely on the Jews, Trump, last Wednesday, blew the American immigration situation way out of proportion, exaggerating and coloring facts, and blaming it all on illegal immigrants.

You'd swear that America is overrun with illegal immigrants on the rampage murdering people! And that's the picture that Trump painted last Tuesday. And, to cap it off, he paraded mothers who had lost their children to murder perpetrated by illegal immigrants. It was a powerful optical message; putting a face to problem his campaign rides on. But that was manipulation and emotional blackmail.

Pure and simple. More people have been murdered by American citizens than by illegal immigrants. Of over the supposed 11 million illegal immigrants in America, less than 3 percent have been convicted of crimes, whether felonies or misdemeanors. But to listen to Trump, you'd think there are 11 million murderers of Latino descent on the loose in America!

Here in Botswana, we have an identical immigration problem with Zimbabwean illegal immigrants. But it will be reckless to exaggerate the situation so much that we blame Botswana's economic performance on Zimbabweans, and claim that there are countless Batswana who would still be alive if it weren't for Zimbabweans! Imagine the clown who can come proposing that the answer lies in building a Great Wall from Kazungula to Martin's Drift to keep Zimbabweans out! It's absurd! I'm not going to question or insult the intelligence of Republican voters, but it beggars belief how Trump is the nominee with his ridiculous promises of a "Great Wall," a wall that would cost in the region of $25,000,000,000 to build! Yes, Trump has won the nominee card by promising to build a wall stretching 3,200 kilometers! To listen to him speak, you'd swear he's running for Emperor! He seems to forget that there is an American Congress and House of Representatives that needs to sign off such a project; and there are many Republicans who neither like him nor his proposed wall. There are so many near insurmountable challenges to building such a wall, not to mention its futility. There are physical and legal hurdles to be overcome before such a wall can become a reality. As things stand, I think that Trump finds his back against the wall, no pun intended.

Most disturbing of all, however, is his promise of mass deportations. I'm not in anyway saying illegal immigrants must be treated with kid gloves and handed citizenship. But Trump's politics fly in the face of the very fabric of American civilization and history. Like it or not, America is a nation of immigrants; immigrants who went there in search of opportunity and a new start. Even the Caucasian majority is not monolithic; there are many subsets that don't even speak English. Trump's wife herself is still not mastering English. Her East European accent is unmistakeable. She's from Slovenia. A lot of Trump's buildings that have made him a multi-billionaire, rose on the backs of illegal immigrants, most of them Latinos whom he has called "thieves, murderers, and rapists." Everybody seems to conveniently forget that the "real" Americans are the Native Americans (Indians), those poor souls who were swept under the rug of history by the "Manifest Destiny" doctrine of White settlers. If everybody is to be sent home because they came illegally, then everybody Caucasian must pack. Only the Indians, who can now only be found in pockets of reservations here and there, banished to a lifetime of drunkenness and gambling, would have the right to remain. Everybody else but them is not "native" to America if we go all the way back to the first arrivals at Plymouth Rock.

Let me close quoting from Chauncey DeVega, a politics staff writer for Salon, "Last week the chattering classes and “smart people” were excited about Trump’s promise to launch an “outreach” campaign to African-Americans and Latinos. On Wednesday Donald Trump travelled to Mexico to meet with President Peña Nieto. Voices in the American corporate news media then fawned over Trump. The trip allowed him to look “presidential.” He was "softening" his position on illegal immigration. The great “pivot” had finally arrived. Trump could now be put into the familiar and comfortable “horse race” model of American campaigns and elections; he was now a “normal” presidential candidate.

Trump, the consummate showman, carnival barker and professional wrestling villain would swerve the American corporate news media once again. Several hours after returning from Mexico to a rabid crowd of supporters in Phoenix, he would give one of the most violent, vicious, vile and repugnant speeches in modern American political history. It was the political equivalent of watching a toilet or cesspool overflow, where instead of running away in disgust, Trump’s supplicants enthusiastically wallowed and frolicked in the waste.

His speech in Phoenix followed the standard script. Trump would speak in a stream of consciousness where one semi-related thought flowed into another. Facts are disregarded. The truth is made malleable. Lies are effortlessly told. The crowd responds with howls about killing Hillary Clinton or in anger at President Barack Obama or in support of the American Il Duce Donald Trump and how he will “make America great again” by not allowing “us” to be “bullied.”

There was an added intensity to Trump’s Phoenix speech. He premiered his ominously named “10-point plan.” His vague promises about how best to punish “illegal immigrants” would now be given a laser focus. Trump will apparently create a Gestapo-like force that on the day he formally becomes president will somehow immediately remove millions of people from the United States. The country’s police will now be turned loose and taken off the chain to purge illegal immigrants from the body politic — a chilling thought given how America’s militarized police already brutalize people of color.

In Trump’s plan, refugees from the Middle East all are terrorists and a potential third column with a knife at the heart of America. “Illegal immigrants” are rapists, gang members, child molesters, thieves and killers who steal jobs from hardworking Americans. These two groups of evildoers will be confronted by Trump’s “great American wall” and a resurgent military and national security state that, under his special leadership, will protect the country.

Trump crescendoed by introducing family members of Americans who have been killed by “illegal aliens.” Now christened the “Angel Moms,” they proceeded to captivate Trump’s audience with horrific stories of murder and mayhem. This was Trump’s “Willie Horton” moment. In 1988, George H.W. Bush featured a notoriously racist campaign ad about a black man who was a convicted rapist and murderer. It was extremely effective in winning over racially resentful and anxious white voters. Almost 30 years later, Trump and his advisers have simply updated the Republican Party’s racist Southern strategy to now include “terrorists” and nebulous brown “illegal immigrants” from Latin and South America.

The "Angel Moms” are the immediate human embodiment of (white) victimhood. Instead of presenting abstract discussions about “illegal immigration” and “crime, the children of the “Angel Moms” must be avenged if justice is to be done. Moreover, if the state and the police have failed the “Angel Moms,” then it is Trump and his supporters who must fill the void of safety and security that has been denied the American people. 

This is a not too subtle appeal to vigilante violence: It is the logical outcome of Trump’s persona, a man who boasted that he can shoot people in the street without consequence, who imagines himself to be Dirty Harry or Charles Bronson in a 1980s action movie and who believes that the United States’ inner cities are dystopic hellholes overrun with illegal immigrants and black criminals.

Many think pieces, articles, “hot takes” and essays have pondered if Trump is a fascist. He satisfies many of the criteria.

Trump does not believe in freedom of the press. He wants to overturn standing political norms, values, traditions and institutions in order to return to a fictive past. Trump is a militant nationalist. Trump’s movement is based on social dominance behavior and authoritarianism. He is a strongman and leader of a cult of personality that emphasizes action, strength and hypermasculine energy. A direct appeal or encouragement to violence against the Other was one of the few remaining criteria for fascism that Donald Trump had not yet fulfilled. His speech in Phoenix has finally checked off that empty box.

The situation is no longer funny, a moment for liberal schadenfreude at the expense of a broken Republican Party and its rubes and bigots or an entertaining political car wreck and spectacle. Matters are deadly serious.

Trump’s rhetoric is eventually going to get someone killed. The mainstream corporate news media that enabled his demagoguery and rise to power will have blood on their hands. The “decent Republicans” who voted for Trump will have blood on their hands. Trump and his minions will most certainly have blood on their hands.

The rise of Trump and the full-on conversation of the Republican Party into the country’s largest white identity organization represent a nadir in contemporary American politics.

I have never before seen a lynch mob on television. That changed after I watched  Trump’s rally in Phoenix on Wednesday night. I was left wondering, Are we not better than this? I have no doubt that our better angels will ultimately prevail. But Donald Trump’s ascendance is a reminder that, to borrow from Sinclair Lewis and Theodor Ardono, “Yes, it can happen here.”"

Asked about his grand plan for this fantasy wall he so feverishly sells like snake oil to the gullible, he simply answered that if the Chinese could build a 13,000-mile long wall 2,000 years ago with far less sophisticated technology and cheap labor, then America can certainly pull it off in the 21st century. And, get this, he says Mexico will pay for the wall. I guess we await to see "The Great Wall of America." But I'm not crossing my fingers.

After all, he first needs to win the elections in November. And, as things presently stand, the only wall he has managed to build so far is a Great Wall between himself and the Black and Latino voters he desperately needs in order to have any shot at beating Secretary Clinton in the race for the White House.

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Elected officials should guard against personal interest

23rd September 2020

Parliament was this week once again seized with matters that concern them and borders on conflict of interest and abuse of privilege.

The two matters are; review of MPs benefits as well as President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s participation in the bidding for Banyana Farms. For the latter, it should not come as a surprise that President Masisi succeeded in bid.

The President’s business interests have also been in the forefront. While President Masisi is entitled as a citizen to participate in a various businesses in the country or abroad, it is morally deficient for him to participate in a bidding process that is handled by the government he leads. By the virtue of his presidency, Masisi is the head of government and head of State.

Not long ago, former President Festus Mogae suggested that elected officials should consider using blind trust to manage their business interests once they are elected to public office. Though blind trusts are expensive, they are the best way of ensuring confidence in those that serve in public office.

A blind trust is a trust established by the owner (or trustor) giving another party (the trustee) full control of the trust. Blind trusts are often established in situations where individuals want to avoid conflicts of interest between their employment and investments.

The trustee has full discretion over the assets and investments while being charged with managing the assets and any income generated in the trust.

The trustor can terminate the trust, but otherwise exercises no control over the actions taken within the trust and receives no reports from the trustees while the blind trust is in force.

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, has defended President Masisi’s participation in business and in the Banyana Farms bidding. His contention is that, the practise even obtained during the administration of previous presidents.

The President is the most influential figure in the country. His role is representative and he enjoys a plethora of privileges. He is not an ordinary citizen. The President should therefore be mindful of this fact.

We should as a nation continue to thrive for improvement of our laws with the viewing of enhancing good governance. We should accept perpetuation of certain practices on the bases that they are a norm. MPs are custodians of good governance and they should measure up to the demands of their responsibility.

Parliament should not be spared for its role in countenancing these developments. Parliament is charged with the mandate of making laws and providing oversight, but for them to make laws that are meant solely for their benefits as MPs is unethical and from a governance point of view, wrong.

There have been debates in parliament, some dating from past years, about the benefits of MPs including pension benefits. It is of course self-serving for MPs to be deliberating on their compensation and other benefits.

In the past, we have also contended that MPs are not the right people to discuss their own compensation and there has to be Special Committee set for the purpose. This is a practice in advanced democracies.

By suggesting this, we are not suggesting that MP benefits are in anyway lucrative, but we are saying, an independent body may figure out the best way of handling such issues, and even offer MPs better benefits.

In the United Kingdom for example; since 2009 following a scandal relating to abuse of office, set-up Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)

IPSA is responsible for: setting the level of and paying MPs’ annual salaries; paying the salaries of MPs’ staff; drawing up, reviewing, and administering an MP’s allowance scheme; providing MPs with publicly available and information relating to taxation issues; and determining the procedures for investigations and complaints relating to MPs.

Owing to what has happened in the Parliament of Botswana recently, we now need to have a way of limiting what MPs can do especially when it comes to laws that concern them. We cannot be too trusting as a nation.

MPs can abuse office for their own agendas. There is need to act swiftly to deal with the inherent conflict of interest that arise as a result of our legislative setup. A voice of reason should emerge from Parliament to address this unpleasant situation. This cannot be business as usual.

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The Corona Coronation (Part 10)

9th July 2020

Ever heard of a 666-type beast known as Fort Detrick?

Located in the US state of Maryland, about 80 km removed from Washington DC, Fort Detrick houses the US army’s top virus research laboratory. It has been identified as “home to the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, with its bio-defense agency, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and  also hosts the National Cancer Institute-Frederick and the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research and National Interagency Biodefense Campus”.

The 490-hectare campus researches the world’s deadliest pathogens, including Anthrax (in 1944, the Roosevelt administration ordered 1 million anthrax bombs from Fort Detrick), Ebola, smallpox, and … you guessed right: coronaviruses.  The facility, which carries out paid research projects for government agencies (including the CIA), universities and drug companies most of whom owned by the highly sinister military-industrial complex, employs 900 people.

Between 1945 and 1969, the sprawling complex (which has since become the US’s ”bio-defence centre” to put it mildly) was the hub of the US biological weapons programme. It was at Fort Detrick that Project MK Ultra, a top-secret CIA quest to subject   the human mind to routine robotic manipulation, a monstrosity the CIA openly owned up to in a congressional inquisition in 1975, was carried out.  In the consequent experiments, the guinea pigs comprised not only of people of the forgotten corner of America – inmates, prostitutes and the homeless but also prisoners of war and even regular US servicemen.

These unwitting participants underwent up to a 20-year-long ordeal of barbarous experiments involving psychoactive drugs (such as LSD), forced electroshocks, physical and sexual abuses, as well as a myriad of other torments. The experiments not only violated international law, but also the CIA’s own charter which forbids domestic activities. Over 180 doctors and researchers took part in these horrendous experiments and this in a country which touts itself as the most civilised on the globe!

Was the coronavirus actually manufactured at Fort Detrick (like HIV as I shall demonstrate at the appropriate time) and simply tactfully patented to other equally cacodemonic places such as the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China?

THE FORT DETRICK SCIENTISTS’ PROPHECY WAS WELL-INFORMED

 

About two years before the term novel coronavirus became a familiar feature in day-to-day banter, two scientist cryptically served advance warning of its imminence. They were Allison Totura and Sina Bavari, both researchers at Fort Detrick.

The two scientists talked of “novel highly pathogenic coronaviruses that may emerge from animal reservoir hosts”, adding, “These coronaviruses may have the potential to cause devastating pandemics due to unique features in virus biology including rapid viral replication, broad host range, cross-species transmission, person-to-person transmission, and lack of herd immunity in human populations  Associated with novel respiratory syndromes, they move from person-to-person via close contact and can result in high morbidity and mortality caused by the progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).”

All the above constitute some of the documented attributes and characteristics of the virus presently on the loose – the propagator of Covid-19. A recent clinical review of Covid-19 in The Economist seemed to bear out this prognostication when it said, “It is ARDS that sees people rushed to intensive-care units and put on ventilators”. As if sounding forth a veritable prophecy, the two scientists besought governments to start working on counter-measures there and then that could be “effective against such a virus”.

Well, it was not by sheer happenstance that Tortura and Bavari turned out to have been so incredibly and ominously prescient. They had it on good authority, having witnessed at ringside what the virus was capable of in the context of their own laboratory.  The gory scenario they painted for us came not from secondary sources but from the proverbial horse’s mouth folks.

CDC’S RECKLESS ADMISSION

In March this year, Robert Redfield, the US  Director for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  told the House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee that it had transpired that some members of the American populace  who were certified as having died of influenza  turned out to have harboured the novel coronavirus per posthumous analysis of their tissue.

Redfield was not pressed to elaborate but the message was loud and clear – Covid-19 had been doing the rounds in the US much earlier than it was generally supposed and that the extent to which it was mistaken for flu was by far much more commonplace than was openly admitted. An outspoken Chinese diplomat, Zhao Lijian, seized on this rather casual revelation and insisted that the US disclose further information, exercise transparency on coronavirus cases and provide an explanation to the public.

But that was not all the beef Zhao had with the US. He further charged that the coronavirus was possibly transplanted to China by the US: whether inadvertently or by deliberate design he did not say.  Zhao pointed to the Military World Games of October 2019, in which US army representatives took part, as the context in which the coronavirus irrupted into China. Did the allegation ring hollow or there was a ring of truth to it?

THE BENASSIE FACTOR

The Military World Games, an Olympic-style spectrum of competitive action, are held every four years. The 2019 episode took place in Wuhan, China. The 7th such, the games ran from October 18 to October 27.  The US contingent comprised of 17 teams of over 280 athletes, plus an innumerable other staff members. Altogether, over 9000 athletes from 110 countries were on hand to showcase their athletic mettle in more than 27 sports. All NATO countries were present, with Africa on its part represented by 30 countries who included Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Besides the singular number of participants, the event notched up a whole array of firsts. One report spelt them out thus: “The first time the games were staged outside of military bases, the first time the games were all held in the same city, the first time an Athletes’ Village was constructed, the first time TV and VR systems were powered by 5G telecom technology, and the first use of all-round volunteer services for each delegation.”

Now, here is the clincher: the location of the guest house for the US team was located in the immediate neighbourhood of the Wuhan Seafood Market, the place the Chinese authorities to this day contend was the diffusion point of the coronavirus. But there is more: according to some reports, the person who allegedly but unwittingly transmitted the virus to the people milling about the market – Patient Zero of Covid-19 – was one Maatie Benassie.

Benassie, 52, is a security officer of Sergeant First Class rank at the Fort Belvoir military base in Virginia and took part in the 50-mile cycling road race in the same competitions. In the final lap, she was accidentally knocked down by a fellow contestant and sustained a fractured rib and a concussion though she soldiered on and completed the race with the agonising adversity.  Inevitably, she saw a bit of time in a local health facility.   According to information dug up by George Webb, an investigative journalist based in Washington DC,     Benassie would later test positive for Covid-19 at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

Incidentally, Benassie apparently passed on the virus to other US soldiers at the games, who were hospitalised right there in China before they were airlifted back to the US. The US government straightaway prohibited the publicising of details on the matter under the time-honoured excuse of “national security interests”, which raised eyebrows as a matter-of-course. As if that was not fishy enough, the US out of the blue tightened Chinese visas to the US at the conclusion of the games.

The rest, as they say, is history: two months later, Covid-19 had taken hold on China territory.  “From that date onwards,” said one report, “one to five new cases were reported each day. By December 15, the total number of infections stood at 27 — the first double-digit daily rise was reported on December 17 — and by December 20, the total number of confirmed cases had reached 60.”

TWO CURIOUS RESEARCH HALTINGS

Is it a coincidence that all the US soldiers who fell ill at the Wuhan games did their preparatory training at the Fort Belvoir military base, only a 15-minutes’  drive from Fort Detrick?

That Fort Detrick is a plain-sight perpetrator of pathogenic evils is evidenced by a number of highly suspicious happenings concerning it. Remember the 2001 anthrax mailing attacks on government and media houses which killed five people right on US territory? The two principal suspects who puzzlingly were never charged, worked as microbiologists at Fort Detrick. Of the two, Bruce Ivins, who was the more culpable, died in 2008 of “suicide”. For “suicide”, read “elimination”, probably because he was in the process of spilling the beans and therefore cast the US government in a stigmatically diabolical light. Indeed, the following year, all research projects at Fort Detrick were suspended on grounds that the institute was “storing pathogens not listed   in its database”. The real truth was likely much more reprehensible.

In 2014, there was a mini local pandemic in the US which killed thousands of people and which the mainstream media were not gutsy enough to report. It arose following the weaponisation at Fort Detrick of the H7N9 virus, prompting the Obama administration to at once declare a moratorium on the research and withdraw funding.

The Trump administration, however, which has a pathological fixation on undoing practically all the good Obama did, reinstated the research under new rigorous guidelines in 2017. But since old habits die hard, the new guidelines were flouted at will, leading to another shutdown of the whole research gamut at the institute in August 2019.  This, nonetheless, was not wholesale as other areas of research, such as experiments to make bird flu more transmissible and which had begun in 2012, proceeded apace. As one commentator pointedly wondered aloud, was it really necessary to study how to make H5N1, which causes a type of bird flu with an eye-popping mortality rate, more transmissible?

Consistent with its character, the CDC was not prepared to furnish particulars upon issuing the cease and desist order, citing “national security reasons”. Could the real reason have been the manufacture of the novel coronavirus courtesy of a tip-off by the more scrupulous scientists?

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Masisi faces ultimate test of his presidency

9th July 2020

President Mokgweetsi Masisi may have breathed a huge sigh of relief when he emerged victorious in last year’s 2019 general elections, but the ultimate test of his presidency has only just begun.

From COVID-19 pandemic effects; disenchanted unemployed youth, deteriorating diplomatic relations with neighbouring South Africa as well as emerging instability within the ruling party — Masisi has a lot to resolve in the next few years.

Last week we started an unwanted cold war with Botswana’s main trade partner, South Africa, in what we consider an ill-conceived move. Never, in the history of this country has Botswana shown South Africa a cold shoulder – particularly since the fall of the apartheid regime.

It is without a doubt that our country’s survival depends on having good relations with South Africa. As the Chairperson of African National Congress (ANC), Gwede Mantashe once said, a good relationship between Botswana and South Africa is not optional but necessary.

No matter how aggrieved we feel, we should never engage in a diplomatic war — with due respect to other neighbours— with South Africa. We will never gain anything from starting a diplomatic war with South Africa.

In fact, doing so will imperil our economy, given that majority of businesses in the retail sector and services sector are South African companies.

Former cabinet minister and Phakalane Estates proprietor, David Magang once opined that Botswana’s poor manufacturing sector and importation of more than 80 percent of the foodstuffs from South Africa, effectively renders Botswana a neo-colony of the former.

Magang’s statement may look demeaning, but that is the truth, and all sorts of examples can be produced to support that. Perhaps it is time to realise that as a nation, we are not independent enough to behave the way we do. And for God’s sake, we are a landlocked country!

Recently, the effects of COVID-19 have exposed the fragility of our economy; the devastating pleas of the unemployed and the uncertainty of the future. Botswana’s two mainstay source of income; diamonds and tourism have been hit hard. Going forward, there is a need to chart a new pathway, and surely it is not an easy task.

The ground is becoming fertile for uprisings that are not desirable in any country. That the government has not responded positively to the rising unemployment challenge is the truth, and very soon as a nation we will wake up to this reality.

The magnitude of the problem is so serious that citizens are running out of patience. The government on the other hand has not done much to instil confidence by assuring the populace that there is a plan.

The general feeling is that, not much will change, hence some sections of the society, will try to use other means to ensure that their demands are taken into consideration. Botswana might have enjoyed peace and stability in the past, but there is guarantee that, under the current circumstances, the status quo will be maintained.

It is evident that, increasingly, indigenous citizens are becoming resentful of naturalised and other foreign nationals. Many believe naturalised citizens, especially those of Indian origin, are the major beneficiaries in the economy, while the rest of the society is side-lined.

The resentfulness is likely to intensify going forward. We needed not to be heading in this direction. We needed not to be racist in our approach but when the pleas of the large section of the society are ignored, this is bound to happen.

It is should be the intention of every government that seeks to strive on non-racialism to ensure that there is shared prosperity. Share prosperity is the only way to make people of different races in one society to embrace each other, however, we have failed in this respect.

Masisi’s task goes beyond just delivering jobs and building a nation that we all desire, but he also has an immediate task of achieving stability within his own party. The matter is so serious that, there are threats of defection by a number of MPs, and if he does not arrest this, his government may collapse before completing the five year mandate.

The problems extend to the party itself, where Masisi found himself at war with his Secretary General, Mpho Balopi. The war is not just the fight for Central Committee position, but forms part of the succession plan.

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