Despite governmentâ€™s intervention to relocate some people who underwent mandatory 14 day quarantine, some people are still decrying ill-treatment at the hands of government officials.
Threats by law enforcement officials, poor health facilities, appalling conditions and lack of food are some of the grievances advanced by some within the quarantine centres. Some of the people who spoke to WeekendPost on condition of anonymity who were coming back into the country from Zambia said on Thursday afternoon, said there was still no accommodation, and they were crowded at one place.
â€œIf any virus infection is to break out, this will be the end of us. The hospital does not even have buckets to wash peopleâ€™s hands in as they go in, the sanitizer is only sprayed when the patient gets to see the nurse as there is not enough,â€ he said. In an interview with WeekendPost some travellers said the conditions at their designated quarantine posts are not conducive for their health conditions.
â€œThis is a clear indication that there had not been adequate preparations thus posing a danger health-wise and exposes patients to other infections other than COVID-19. We as a country are not ready for this catastrophe and our unpreparedness might exacerbate catastrophic outcomes we never bargained for,â€ said one of them. Â Some of the travellers, who are mostly pensioners said they had gone to South Africa for their routine medical check- ups.
They said their health is being compromised since they have no access to medical centres while others who are students said they are in the middle of examinations but have no access to internet services. On Wednesday night an official at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Lebabotswe Tlale revealed that the government is in talks with business people in the hospitality industry to assist in hosting Batswana under quarantine.
Tlale admitted that the conditions are not as good as expected since everything was happening very fast.Â “It was a learning curve and we urge the nation to be patient as we roll out this strategy. It is our hope that we will finalize our talks with the business community so that some if not all may be relocated to better facilities,” Tlale stated. He further revealed that, “some businessmen are willing to volunteer their services free of charge while some have requested minor assistance here and there.”
On the 24th March 2020 the government of Botswana announced that there will be mandatory quarantine for travellers. To further strengthen the COVID-19 prevention measures, all people coming from the Republic of South Africa through the Martins Drift, Ramatlabama, Pioneer Gate, Tlokweng borders and Sir Seretse Khama International Airport will be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days at facilities that have been identified.
This decision was taken in light of how the Republic of Botswana is affected by COVID-19 and has sustained local transmission. The objective of this mandatory quarantine is to minimize the introduction, transmission and the spread of COVID- 19 in Botswana. Only Batswana and Botswana residents will be allowed into the country during this period. Anyone refusing mandatory quarantine will be liable to a fine as per Section 25 of the Health Act of 2013.
On the 25th of March 2020, Kristin Carr- Hartley quarantined in Lobatse Institute of Health Services (HIS) filed an urgent application with Lobatse High Court to challenge the state of the centre and poor conditions. However, the high court ruled that The Ministry of Health and Wellness and/or Government of Botswana without undue delay, is to provide segregated, sanitary and hygienic conditions with proper infection control and protection to Kristin Carr- Hartley and also all others in quarantine during the period that they are required to be under quarantine.
The court also ordered that the Ministry of Health and Wellness and/ or Government of Botswana is to provide means and sustenance to the said Kristin Carr- Hartley and all others in quarantine according to reasonable dietary requirements under the circumstances. Masa Hotel in Gaborone, is one of the places where some of the travellers were already quarantined, Oasis Motel in Tlokweng as well as Manong Game Lodge are reported to have pledged to help Botswana government in these trying times. As at Thursday 26th March 2020, no cases of COVID-19 was confirmed in Botswana.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.