Ever since he took over as president back in 2008 President Ian Khama has been notorious for casually announcing important policy decisions at kgotla meetings. And with just a couple of weeks before he leaves office Khama was at it again, albeit as a tongue-in-cheek remark, using a similar platform to announce a decision that is by all means beyond his jurisdictional powers.
After signing a petition by Avaaz to push for the European Union (EU) to ban the trade of ivory at the Giant Club Summit in Kasane recently, Khama went on further to promise the EU he would personally hand over Britain back to the Union. “I just want to say if the European Union do stop the trade in ivory I will personally make sure, as a gift to you, that Britain doesn’t quit the EU,” Khama joked, to the audience’s amusement.
The British people voted to leave the European Union after a historic Brexit referendum in which they rejected the advice of the then Prime Minister David Cameron, choosing instead to take a plunge into the political unknown. The jury is still out on whether it was a good decision by the British people.
Meanwhile, the EU has been criticized for what Minister of Tourism Tshekedi Khama described as hypocrisy for pouring millions into conservation efforts while refusing to ban the trade of Ivory.
Speaking at the Giants Club Summit in Kasane last weekend Ambassador Alexander Baum, Head of Delegation of the EU to Botswana and SADC, admitted the plight of the iconic African wildlife species such as elephants and rhinos has become symbolic for the drama that is unfolding around the world at an alarming speed. “It is our common duty to do something against it with seriousness and conviction.”
“As citizens from across Europe and the world we call on you to close Europe’s domestic trade in ivory, end all ivory exports, and support efforts to ban the global ivory trade,” reads a statement from Avaaz, a US based civic organization launched in January 2007 that promotes global activism on issues such as climate change, human rights, animal rights, corruption, poverty, and conflict.