WeekendPost can confidently reveal that on Thursday at least 120 people from neighbouring South Africa entered the country without going through the 14 day mandatory quarantine process after the authorities failed to make necessary arrangements.
Several sources confirmed that the 120 people who entered the country through the Ramatlabama border post this week (Thursday), were let loose after spending at least 12 hours at the border, being sent from pillar to post. A highly placed source at Goodhope sub- district who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was against the idea of releasing the travellers but an instruction from COVID- 19 district coordinator based in Lobatse who is in touch with the Head Office in Gaborone prevailed.
“I can confirm that, it is true they were released at around 2000hrs after spending close to 12 hours here. Throughout the day we made sure we adhere to the standard practice of social distancing and others,” said the source, The impeccable source said the travellers crossed in the morning but as stipulated by the government they were supposed to go through the 14 day mandatory quarantine.
However, as they were awaiting logistics, a phone call from Coordinator- District Health Management in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Boipelo Lecoge in Lobatse told them that there was not enough accommodation and travellers can be released to go on self-isolation. This is because they are working in collaboration with the District Health Management Team (DHMT). The team at the border who were very sceptical about the decision kept the travellers as there was no formal write up and they wanted to confirm with the parent Ministry in Gaborone.
Around 1500hrs, another call from a certain Dr Jonas based at Goodhope hospital confirmed that indeed the decision to release the travellers was reversed. At the time, transport issues had been sorted and two buses, a BX bearing registration numbers and Botswana Defence Force (BDF) bus were boarding and ready to depart the border. A last call from Dr Lecoge few minutes later ensued, directing that travellers be released with immediate effect and left to go home, a decision which was again reversed a few minutes later but everyone had left.
“At the moment, we are still awaiting a report from the DHMT on recalling the victims because we have all their names and contacts. Some of them have been called already to report back to the quarantine centre in Lobatse. It was disheartening, there was nothing we could do,” said the source. A victim who was part of the travellers and spoke to WeekendPost on anonymity said he is based in South Africa and a few days ago, his boss in South Africa tested positive for the pandemic COVID-19.
“At the moment I am home here in Ramotswa and I have not received a call to report to the quarantine yet. Ever since I arrived yesterday, I have tried self-isolation but it is difficult since I have had contact with some few family members already,” said the source. At the moment South Africa has announced its first two deaths from Coronavirus infection, with the cases having now passed the 1,000 mark. "This morning, we South Africans wake up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from COVID-19," the health ministry said on Friday.
Both deaths took place in hospitals in the southern province of Western Cape. Reached for comment, Officer Commanding at Ramatlabama Police, Molapisi said he cannot confirm nor deny the incident but said he cannot comment on the matter since the coordinators are with the District Commissioner’s office. However, the District Commissioner at Kanye, Mmoloki Raletobana’s phones rang answered the whole afternoon. Dr Jonas who is based at Goodhope Primary Hospital said he is not at liberty to discuss anything with members of the media or any third party.
“I report to my bosses in the Ministry of Health if there is anything, this is the standard procedure. So I am sorry I cannot assist”, he said. Dr Jonas also took time to dismiss the matter, saying everything is news to him before hanging up. Reached for comment, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape on Friday afternoon said he is not aware of the incident. “I was not briefed, I promise to investigate the matter and revert back to you,” he said.
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 the view that Botswana is affected by COVID- 19 and has sustained local transmission.
The objective of this mandatory quarantine according to health authorities is to minimize the introduction, transmission and the spread of COVID- 19 in Botswana. Currently only Batswana and Botswana residents will be allowed into the country. Anyone refusing mandatory quarantine will be liable a fine not exceeding P5 000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or, to both.
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.