Botswana's Diplomatic Nightmare

In a press conference on Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) embraced by AfriForum, a South African right wing organisation, conducted a press conference where the South African government was literally being insulted and denounced for its lack of cooperation in the DPP investigation into an allegedly disappearance of P100 billion from Bank of Botswana.

In early 2019, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) had paddled a false claim that the former President and former Director General of DIS had stolen P100 billion from Bank of Botswana (BoB). The public was assured of the imminent arrest and prosecution of the two.

In February 2020, the DPP stated in an interview that he had met with BOB Governor who denied that any funds had gone missing and who expressed their misgivings on the falsehoods and the impact such were having on the integrity of the public.

Both the DCEC and DPP have in their possession witness statements that deny the existence of any missing funds.

Fast forward to June 2020, the DPP knowing that no funds have been stolen proudly stands in front of cameras and lies to the entire world about it. There is no doubt that the Office of the President (OP) and DIS have put him to it.

But what is the strategy?  Diplomacy is usually conducted through state-to-state engagements, but rarely through public shaming. Those who advocate for public shaming often say it generates the kind of pressure necessary to ensure compliance.  While this may sometimes be true, the strategy works depending on the target audience.

The Tuesday press conference was about shaming the South African government and its institutions. The target audience was largely the South African citizens.

If the straws are to humiliate the South African government, then we certainly lack the necessary intelligence to conduct international relations. While it is too early to know whether our new brand of diplomacy will be effective what the press conference has done is to rip apart the relationship between Botswana and South Africa in a needlessly destructive way.

For those who think naming and shaming is a good strategy and it’s a way to engage with neighbours and friends, they are certainly delusional. And the dramatis personae in this discredited case certainly are delusional.

We know the interest of AfriForum will be prioritising the funding their racism agenda over our interests as black people possibly pursuing a hopeless case. We don’t understand how the heads of DIS, DCEC and DPP have survived this long at the rates things are going. This is a total disgrace!

Today’s thought

“If poverty is the mother of all crimes, lack of intelligence is their father.”

 – Jean de la Bruyere

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