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Masisi defied cabinet on dangerous Namibia trip

Mokgweetsi Masisi

President Mokgweetsi Masisi was advised by his cabinet not to travel to Namibia in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, but the President acted against the advice.   Masisi had announced at a press conference held at Mass Media in Gaborone last week that all trips have been suspended indefinitely including government official trips.

However, two days after delivering the statement Masisi together with his protocol clandestinely travelled to Namibia.  There was no statement from Office of the President — which has always been a norm— with regard to Masisi’s trip to Namibia. Sources close to this publication have revealed that prior to his travel, Masisi had engaged his cabinet together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi on the matter of which they advised against.

“He was warned not to travel but he refused, we were all shocked to hear about this. It was a bad reflection on the President, and it has become a habit for him to say one thing and then do another,” revealed a source. Social media platforms went abuzz over the weekend when the news that Masisi has travelled abroad to attend the inauguration of President of Namibia, Hage Geingob broke out.

The office of the President released a statement upon his return to inform the public that the Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Malaki Tshipiyagae has placed Masisi on self-isolation for a period of 14 days. The Office of the President explained the President had to undertake an emergency official trip to Namibia where he was to meet with other Heads of States to discuss critical measures taken in their respective countries sharing borders with the Republic of Botswana.

It was claimed that the President was of the view that a face to face meeting with his counterparts was necessary to discuss urgent border issues in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The rationale for the imposition of self-isolation is that while Namibia has registered three (3) imported cases, and is considered low risk for SARS-Cv-2 transmission at the time of His Excellency the President’s trip to Namibia, the low testing rates in the Region makes that determination difficult and there is a high possibility of undetermined local transmission,” said Andrew Sesinyi.

The Office of the President further noted that Masisi will be placed on self-isolation at his official residence but will be quarantined away from his family. However new information emerging is that the President is yet to undergo testing prior being cleared at the expiry of the 14 day period, the President is currently on his seventh day of self-isolation.

The Directorate of Intelligence Security Service (DISS) Director General (DG) Peter Magosi is also reportedly on self-isolation following his trip to countries that are highly infected by the Corona Virus (COVID-19) which has been declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). Human rights lawyer, Kgosi Ngakaagae of Ngakaagae & Mbikwa Legal Practice acknowledged the President for agreeing with the step to place him on self-isolation.

He also claimed that self-isolation on both Masisi and Magosi is a step to be applauded.  “A mistake happened. The President was not supposed to have gone to Namibia, but a bold decision was taken. Self-isolation does not in any way hinder their leadership, should it have meant leadership deficiency then that would be a problem,” Ngakaagae told WeekendPost.  So far at least 353 Batswana returning from South Africa via Tlokweng border were on Wednesday isolated for 14 days awaiting testing at different quarantine locations in the country.

Meanwhile, Masa Square Hotel, Oasis Motel and Manong lodge have also pledged to help government with quarantine facilities for all those placed on quarantine. Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Lemogang Kwape has come forward to urge all members of the society to continue cooperating with the government and taking into consideration prevention measures that have been put in place. Peggy Serame, Minister of Trade and Industry announced on Thursday that effect 28th March that there will be no selling of alcohol and all restaurants will only sell takeaways, with sit-downs strictly prohibited.

President Masisi also took to Facebook through his official page urging the public to prepare for an imminent lockdown.  “Our experts, led by Dr Masupu with Prof Alexandra advise us to restrict the movement of people so we are better able to trace and treat any case that occurs. Take heed and follow health professionals’ advice and instructions. Wash your hands with soap and water. Do not argue and be difficult because that does not help prevent Covid 19,” Masisi said.

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