Monday, January 25, 2021

“Botswana stance on AU a circus”

‘BOTSWANA SAY’S AU IS A CIRCUS’. These are the headlines that greeted some of us on the 07th July copy of the Mmegi newspaper.

I was most appalled when I read through the article to discover that Vice President Merafe and Minister of International cooperation, Phandu Skelemani, would go out of their way to make such statements.

The AU is an international body representing Africa and the interests of Africa. Botswana being a part of Africa and being a member of the AU has no given right to utter derogatory statements against the AU in the media. I believe that whatever Merafe or Skelemani said has a direct bearing on the country of Botswana as a whole. It is for that reason that I feel if Botswana had a bone to chew with the AU, it should have been done at the AU conference and not through the media. It is these irresponsible statements that have made Africa and Africans a third grade race.

“They said nothing from the summit can benefit Botswana”, to quote from the article. A clear sign of selfish and egocentric sentiments, that have done nothing but downgrade a prosperous country like Botswana to one of the least developed countries in Southern Africa.

Personally, I have no respect for Merafhe, especially after the statements he made in the press that “one or two killings…”.
Merafhe is just a loud mouth who speaks without thinking about the consequences of what he is going to say !

A former army commander, probably used to giving orders and allowing others to think for him, Merafhe was recently parading an award that has more questions than answers. As to how he came about to receive such an award for Botswana, and how Botswana came about to be nominated and subsequently win this award leaves a lot to be desired.
Phandu Skelemani has always been my man. I respect this educated man of Kalanga origin, and I still don’t believe he would make such statements concerning an organization that we should all, in Africa, look up to for our liberation from oppression and economic instability.

To say that the AU is a circus and that Botswana can benefit nothing from the summit was an understatement !
Firstly we have to understand what the summit was about. The theme of the summit was “Investing in Agriculture for Economic growth and Food Security”.

Oh ! No wonder Botswana can benefit nothing from the summit. The Summit was not about Investing in Diamonds, but was about Agriculture and food security, which Botswana is in desperate need of but has failed to implement due to its interests in diamonds. It is a pity that Batswana will be eating diamonds rather than food, according to the government. Botswana needs to learn that mining has no future, the future is in a self sustainable agricultural economy.
Small countries such as Swaziland and Malawi have developed even further than Botswana, due to food security and agriculture.

Yet Botswana was known to be amongst the richest countries in the sub-Sahara region.

For over forty years, Botswana has enjoyed peace and tranquility, but there is nothing to show any achievements made within this period of time.

What I fail to understand is why these two gentlemen would go out of their way to complain bitterly about the AU instead of opening up and being honest that they were out voted when the AU decided not to effect a warrant of arrest issued by the ICC for Sudan President Al Bashir.

From reading further on the summit from other international press, I have learned that Botswana and Chad were the only two countries that voted for the arrest of Al Bashir, and this is the reason that Skelemani claims to have faced difficulties with the AU debates.
Skelemani wanted to debate the ICC issue further whilst the AU Chairman Gadaffi refused to have the matter debated further because voting had been done and there was no need to continue with debating the whole issue.

I don’t understand what the fuss is about concerning this warrant of arrest, because if the ICC wants Al Bashir, then they should come and get him. Why should they involve other countries?

For so many years, leaders in Africa have killed for their enrichment. We all know that De Beers was involved in the blood diamonds of Sierra Leone, in the genocide of Rwanda and the DRC. Why cant Botswana arrest De Beers for their atrocities ?

Oh, I forgot, Botswana deals in diamonds and De Beers is their biggest partner. The United States has refused to sign and recognize the ICC treaty that Botswana has tried so hard not to undermine.

Again, Botswana has signed an agreement with the US, not to hand over US citizens who may be accused of crimes against humanity to the ICC. Remember Botswana was the only country to have gone on record to criticize President Robert Mugabe. It is the same Botswana that has changed and now seeks to bolster the Zimbabwe economy with a P500million injection. Hello!!

Recent reports are to the effect that the Botswana Law Society is preparing an indictment of President Ian Khama to the ICC, on the recent extra judicial killings.

I wonder if Merafhe, Skelemani, and the government will be so willing to hand over Ian Khama to the ICC .
I think what Botswana is doing is just playing to the international gallery and seeks to be given a pat on the back by western countries.

Remember the questionable good governance award ? This hullabaloo smirks of a hypocritical state that has more problems of their own. Merafhe is also on record as saying that he is confident that in publicly criticizing other countries, Botswana will not create any enemies. Oh really!?
Merafhe needs to be more concerned about the circus within the BDP, the mis-firing Jacob Nkate, the prospects of DK becoming the new Chairman of the party after the Kanye convention, and the eroding democracy here in Botswana; rather than shooting his mouth off the way he has done.

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