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Saleshando rejects 6-month State of Emergency proposal

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Saleshando PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
The Leader of Opposition (LoO), Dumelang Saleshando has rejected President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s proposed extension of the 28-day lockdown to a six-month State of Emergency (SoE).

Saleshando acknowledged that indeed there is a scourge being the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but he said the situation in regards to the pandemic would not call for a six-month SoE since the country has only six known cases of the virus and has recorded only one death.

"Re a itse gore lefatshe le, ga ise le ipaakanye mo go lwantsheng bolwetse jo. Ga re bate gore malwapa a dingaka le baboki ba tsoge ba welwa ke seru, re kopa gore ba fiwe diaparo tse di thokafalang," Saleshando said.

In addition, Saleshando said Masisi could not be trusted with six months of concentrated power ruling the country, unless he has a hidden agenda.

Saleshando requested the President to instead ask to amend the weak Public Health Act, and suggested that the President moves away from a proposed SoE that would give him concentrated power and weaken Parliament.

He continued, “This will enable the President to give tenders to his party members without being questioned. We will request for a Commission of Enquiry of the COVID-19 money on how it was used. I want to tell you that you will be the one to answer”. 

Saleshando said the President has forgotten the reality on the ground, as some people will be homeless because the

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company cannot continue to pay people while not working. He said the government instead should keep on assessing the situation and extend where necessary. 

Saleshando said there are no valid reasons why the country needs the State of Emergency of six months and this could cripple the economy of the country. Saleshando said Botswana would record the highest number of unemployment in its history if the six-month SoE is the case. He said instead the President should be given another 28 days not the six months.

However, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane said the crisis that the country is facing needs time since this is a national security threat that challenges the very existence of Botswana and its people.

On the other hand, President Masisi said the country does not have sufficient infrastructure and the technological expertise to deal with this pandemic.

"After a thorough audit of our health system we have noted a shortage of doctors, nurses and necessary medical equipment to comprehensively deal with the challenges of a full outbreak in our country. There are an estimated 6,000 beds with a 60% to 70% occupancy rate nationally, of which, there is about 120 critical care beds. Botswana’s nurse and doctor population ratio is 1:300 and 1:2000 respectively.”



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