A decision by President Mokgweetsi Masisi last week to extend the alcohol ban stands as one of the many and still growing list of costly decisions taken by this government since Covid 19 struck.
Just what does Government want to achieve with this ban?
Where is the evidence?
What does the science say?
As we speak Gaborone is awash with alcohol.
While KBL is on its knees bootleggers are having a field day – buying alcohol in South Africa and selling it here at 1000 percent profit. Sometime more.
Botswana government is totally helpless against these bootleggers. The same way it is helpless against illicit cigarette smugglers.
Yet the same government pounces on legal trade at the earliest opportunity, rendering these businesses sitting ducks who are forever frightened at government’s every move.
Government is killing business in Botswana.
Our government is led by people who do not understand what it takes to run a business.
Covid aside, Botswana is an over regulated country.
The environment is not business friendly – save for the self-exaltations by those in power.
Botswana government should not take out its failures to enforce the law on business.
Alcohol before the ban was supposed to be sold on a take-away basis.
This effectively means that there is no consumption on the premises.
And the alcohol outlets were obeying that rule – pretty much, except for a few that were supposed to be an issue for law enforcement.
And then a video surfaced showing that parties were held in some farms and also crowds at a shopping complex at Phase 4 in Gaborone.
Then out of anger, Government banned alcohol wholesale – in the process harming and even destroying the whole industry and the whole economy.
A decision to ban alcohol was ill-advised.
A subsequent one to extend the ban was heartless and possibly vindictive on KBL because they dared to question the president’s powers to court.
Botswana should sort out the law enforcement mess and not expect business to become law enforcement.
As a country Botswana is often very unlucky when it comes to personalities of its presidents.
Ian Khama was a vindictive president. His successor is no less so.
For them its always about projecting the extent of their powers.
They derive a lot of pleasure from that.
Masisi and SKI Khama are two leaders who do not like each other but who have multiple similarities including being vengeful, vindictive and generally not being generous in the execution of their presidential powers.
This holier-than-thou attitude by government should be criticized.
Exactly what have they achieved by banning alcohol sale in Botswana.
As we speak, especially since the speech by the president last week Friday that increased the ban, more and more people have devised ways to get alcohol.
In South Africa alcohol is readily available.
And the two countries are less than a 30 minute drive apart.
We must at least give KBL credit for at least going all the way to test the legal powers of a Head of State under the State of Emergency framework.
It cannot be that because we are in SoE then a president can do as he wishes, even when he is not backed by science-based evidence.
When the SoE started the president made it clear that every decision will henceforth be for the benefit of both business and public health.
At that time he appointed a Task Force to help advise him.
Perceptions of corruption aside, we all know the public views on that Task Force has over time become very critical.
That is because the task Force people no longer behave like scientists.
They are drunk with power.
As a result there is growing doubt whether or not they care that much either about public lives or livelihoods.