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Masisi twiddling thumbs in quarantine as his

A curious thought would visualize a lonely Presidential figure either frustratingly or patiently twiddling fingers waiting to be given feedback from a high level task force meeting that he was supposed to chair as the team’s supposed author.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi was supposed to have sat and presided on a series of meetings conducted by his brainchild, the High Level Covid-19 Task Team, but he remains in the pangs of the prison of self-isolation while the country waits in anxiety to see which direction the first strike of coronavirus will come from. Recently, Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health and Wellness Malaki Tshipayagae used Section 25 of the Public Service Act to mend what was going to look like Masisi’s forked tongue movement.

Masisi last week went to Namibia in a tour which was said to be “an emergency official trip” by government and what his antagonists called “a secret trip.”  The trip came after Masisi declared a travel ban to countries affected by Covid-19, like Namibia which had three cases of the virus. Masisi faced backlash upon his return for doing a hypocritical move of going to Namibia after banning travels to affected countries, he was subsequently ordered to be under self-isolation.

Today will be the seventh day since Masisi and his entourage went to Namibia. Vice President Slumber Tsogwane has taken the reign and on Monday Tsogwane moved to include Lesotho and Swaziland to the list of travel bans after the two countries registered their first cases of coronavirus. Tsogwane said travelling to these countries, “is restricted with the exception of the movement of goods and services. Batswana and residents of Botswana returning from these countries will be quarantined for 14 days.”

On Tuesday BusinessPost caught up with one of the series of High Level Covid-19 Task Force meetings where the business community was sitting with government to discuss what is next after Botswana’s big trade partner South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national lockdown which will have obvious negative economic implications for this country. “President Ramaphosa has assured His Excellency the President that, the movement of goods and services between the two countries will not be disrupted in any way,” said Vice President Slumber Tsogwane on Monday.

Masisi was not available for the Tuesday meeting because of the 14 day quarantine which separates him from everyone, including his daughter Atsile and the First Lady Neo and his close staff. In Masisi’s absence, the High Level Covid-19 team meeting is said to have discussed on funds that have been opened to rescue the domestic economy which is already showing signs of catching flu from South Africa’s economy. Government has moved to restrict instances of social contact and Masisi can only have contact with himself, maybe twiddle fingers while waiting for Slumber Tsogwane to brief and debrief him on the High Level Covid-19 Task Force meeting.

Inside Masisi’s Task Force coronavirus meetings

The private sector leader, Business Botswana President Gobusamang Keebine confirmed to BusinessPost that the High Level Task Team met this week. Oabile Mabusa leads the private sector and sits with a co-ministry team from government. On Thursday morning Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng, on behalf of the quarantined Masisi, announced that government or the High Level Covid-19 has established a Relief Fund where individuals, companies and NGOs can send their donations either as financial contributions or donations in kind.

Government has opened bank accounts with following commercial accounts First National Bank, Standard Charted Bank, ABSA Botswana, First Capital Bank, Bank Gaborone, BancABC and Bank of Baroda. According to Morwaeng, an account has been opened with the Bank of Botswana for donors outside the country. Business Botswana chief Keebine told BusinessPost in an interview that UNDP is also on its plan to help businesses or sector to sector recovery plan.

He said so far this country’s private sector and government’s agreement is that there is no lockdown yet, “but there will be close monitoring of the situation.” The Business Botswana president also said they are making sure to minimize business disruption. “We have discussed screening and testing of people at borders who need to travel for essential services and for emergency goods. We also suggested an option that if things become worse, trucks carrying goods meet at borders of no man’s land to exchange goods and taxes. Or the workers may be put on a 24 hour quarantine after transportation of goods, we are still discussing,” said Keebine.

Keebine said many sectors are already facing the negative impacts of coronavirus; the transport, hospitality and restaurant sectors. All the businesses who are associated with social contact are already suffering. On Monday Tsogwane said bars and liquor restaurants will be closed and only liquor/bottle stores will remain open until further notice.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
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The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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