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Travel to Namibia by President Masisi

Masisi with his Nambian and Zim counterparts in Windhoek PIC. THE SOUTHERN TIMES
PRESS STATEMENT: Yesterday, the Office of the President issued a press statement informing the public that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana has been placed on self-isolation for a period of fourteen (14) days following his trip to Namibia. 

Last week, the President announced that he has decided to take responsibility for the coordination of all activities related to prevention measures against corona infection, which included a call for all Batswana to avoid unnecessary travel.  As the official opposition we stated our support for the decision by the President to take command of the troops guarding against possible infections and putting in place measures for a rapid response to the possible outbreak of the pandemic in Botswana.

The decision by President Masisi to undertake an unnecessary trip to a country grappling with the outbreak of the corona virus was blatantly irresponsible and reckless.  Having cautioned the nation against travelling outside the country, the President should have known that he will have to lead by example.  His appetite for international travel cannot take priority over the nation’s health concern.  The President has behaved in a hypocritical manner and lost the moral authority to marshal the troops against corona.

Ordinarily, all international trips undertaken by the President are announced in advance and televised on Botswana Television and covered by public and private media.  The Namibia trip was not subjected to the same protocols, implying that the President and his entourage had planned to keep the trip a secret.  They undertook the trip knowing full well that it was a

major act of undermining the nations response to the corona threat.

Suggestions by his office that the trip was critical to discuss issues of immigration is a blatant attempt to justify the Presidents irresponsible conduct.  Immigration issues are discussed regularly between nations without face to face meetings.  With the Corona pandemic, national leaders are dialoguing on a regular basis without face to face meetings.  The Office of the President must issue an apology for the Presidents conduct and not attempt to justify it.

Now that the President is unable to fully discharge his duties on account of the quarantine measures he has had to be subjected to, we call on him to pass the baton to his Honor the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane.  The fight against Corona cannot be directed from a quarantine by a leader who is susceptible to reckless conduct.  We need a full-time commander who will be able to fully direct and interact with the health workers and the established command team for maximum vigilance.  We trust that the President will accept that he has needlessly compromised the nations fight against possible infections and allow his deputy to take control as Acting President and the nation’s leader against Corona.

We call on the nation to remain Ready and United against Corona.


Dumelang Saleshando

Leader of Opposition

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