'I was misunderstood'

Former President Festus Mogae PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Former President Festus Mogae PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES

I write regarding the interview I had with your reporter in New York as reported in your newspaper of Friday 16th October 2015.

The report displays serious miscommunication or misapprehension between me and the reporter, where I criticise the Water Utilities Corporation for demanding and obtaining compliance by Magang to build infrastructure, in this case a pipeline from Central Gaborone to Phakalane and a distribution water tower and giving them to the water utility free of charge, the article says I said “Magang built the infrastructure and got free’. For this misstatement of fact we owe Mr Magang an apology.

Secondly, the people I advocate should be given dual citizenship are Batswana professionals educated at Government expense, who have taken foreign citizenship in the countries in which they studied. The countries include the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia.

I say so not because what they have done is right but because it would enable us to continue to enable us to   engage them in a dialogue which could see some of them ultimately returning to Botswana when they will have made their fortunes or amicably reimbursing us what we as Botswana spent on their education.

As for foreigners I advocate the self-interested practices of developed countries such as the most powerful country in the worl ie the United States. Able bodied foreigners possessing scarce skills  should be readily accepted as citizens when thy apply or even be persuaded to become citizens.

This would not be for their sake but our own sake. Their parents and countries have nurtured them from infancy to what they are, that is globally marketable professionals. They are an asset, not a liability. They are a donation from their countries of origin to us, in the same way that the over 100 educated Batswana who have taken foreign citizenship are an asset to the countries in which they have settled. I am talking of professionals not refugees.

What I advocate is not charity and is not necessarily generous. It is economically self-serving and selfish but makes a great deal of economic sense, from our point of view.

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