A Reflection on the Nation in A State of Emergency – The Othered

The first State of Emergency (SOE) in Botswana was declared in 1999 to avoid disruption to general elections planned for October in the same year. This was declared to empower the then President, Festus Mogae, to be able to recall parliament which had been dissolved to pave way for the general elections.

Parliament had to be re-convened to amend the Electoral Act, in order to allow the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to update the voters’ role and allow more potential voters to register for the elections. This State of Emergency was described by many Batswana as a scandal caused by the state machinery because it had overlooked such an important aspect of the electoral process and used a SoE to make the amendment to the law.

The 2020 State of Public Emergency was declared on 30 March 2020, in accordance with section 17 of the Botswana Constitution. Botswana registered its first positive COVID-19 cases in March 2020 - all of which had been imported into the country. By the end of April 2020, the numbers had risen to 22 with 1 fatality and 2 local transmissions, the rest being imported. This prompted the Government of Botswana to put in place measures to contain the virus.

Editor's Comment
Molepolole unrest: Urgent attention on missing person cases

From Jakoba's mysterious disappearance on November 9 to the grim discovery of his remains at Mosinki Lands, a gap in the response mechanisms of the police and village leadership has been laid bare. The community's anger is evident, seen in the attack on Bakang Masole, the man found driving Jakoba's taxi and the main suspect, and the subsequent riot. Residents express discontent, citing a troubling trend of missing persons cases often...

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