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Former My Star Contestant Stuck On Cruise Ship

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
Former My Star contestant, Kennedy Thal is among other Batswana stranded abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic
Musician and former My Star contestant, Kennedy Thal recently took to social media to announce that he has been stuck on a cruise ship since March 11, 2020, accusing the government of Botswana of failing to repatriate him. 

“Our government can be so disappointing sometimes and often we are afraid of speaking out when really as citizens we should be able to freely and openly demand accountability without fear. Batswana like myself have been stranded all over the world since this pandemic unable to come home,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

He said he is required to pay for a repatriation charter flight from Ethiopia, and that the cost will be between $850-$1000 from Ethiopia to Gaborone. Thal added that he would not even make it on that charter because he cannot afford it.

“I informed the relevant authorities we will arrive in Europe on the 4th , my only plan being to catch that repatriation flight, and knowing this, they scheduled the flight for the 3rd, a day before I arrived. So when I get to Europe, day 84 of being stuck at sea, I’ll still be stuck. Why couldn’t they have scheduled the flight for the 4th? You want to tell me the people who’ve been waiting for repatriation on land in houses/apartments couldn’t wait one extra day so someone stuck at sea on a ship could also come home,” he stated with concern.

Thal said he was not alone as he managed to meet a Motswana who was stuck on the cruise ship as well. Thal further said that he decided to just embrace the fact that he was not coming home soon.

“I am done fighting it. I will get home whenever I get home. I pray there is a solution for those

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who can’t afford this flight,” he said.

When he gave an update of the on-going government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, President Masisi said the Government has been exploring various ways to assist these citizens to either return home or cope with the negative impacts of the pandemic wherever they are based.

He said the arrangement to engage the services of Ethiopian Airlines to assist in transporting Batswana from Addis Ababa to Gaborone on June 3, 2020 is only available to Batswana based abroad who are in a position to pay for their own connecting flights from Addis Ababa to Gaborone. Masisi also announced that Namib Air has also been engaged to assist in the transportation of Batswana from London and Frankfurt.

He said in order to alleviate the plight of Batswana abroad his Government has recently taken a decision to assist those who have been adversely affected by the pandemic with financial assistance.

“Other Batswana who were on short-term visits abroad and got caught up in the lockdowns have been assessed and will be assisted accordingly as well. The process to administer this financial assistance through our diplomatic missions is at an advanced stage. I need to underscore that it is not every Motswana based outside the country who will benefit from this limited financial assistance package. The priority is only for those identified as deserving cases,” he further said.

Masisi concluded that the priority for any intervention will be limited to only those in dire circumstances and weare unable to sustain themselves during this difficult time.



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