Friday, September 25, 2020

Open letter to Minister Phandu Skelemani

The Editor

In this open letter to you, I first of all want to say I appreciate the vigour and energy with which you have been defending the government in the recent past. As Minister of Presidential Affairs, this is your job which you seem to be doing very well.

Minister, I don’t know you much. I only see you on TV. But for some reason, you strike me as an honest man with integrity and who adheres to the rule of law. I think you can be forgiven for thinking this way because you were the country’s Attorney General for a long time. The nature of your job demanded that you be morally and legally up-right.
However, just because you may be morally or legally up-right does not mean that everybody in the government you speak for has these desirable personal virtues.

It appears you believe that our government cannot frustrate police investigations into criminal activities by big people in our society. Worst still, you seem to believe that big people, including Ministers and Members of Parliament, cannot be involved in criminal activities including trading illegally in drugs and diamonds or be involved in human trafficking and corrupt activities. If you genuinely and sincerely believe this deep down in your heart, it’s because you either do not have information or you live in a Botswana that exists only in imagination.

Honourable Minister, Botswana has changed. It is no longer the old Botswana that was free of corruption. If we do not wake up to this reality and continue to bury our heads in the sand, we will soon surpass Nigeria and become Africa’s or the world’s most corrupt country. For your information, Minister, nowadays Batswana just laugh when anyone suggest that there is no corruption in this country.

The truth and reality is that most of the people who have information about corruption in government are civil servants, including law enforcement officers. They are, however, afraid to come forward with information because they feel they are not protected since, unlike other countries, Botswana does not have a witness protection system. They are afraid of losing their jobs because they can easily be accused of disclosing information that has ‘embarrassed government and tarnished the country’s image’.

Minister, do you really believe that our government must be trusted fully? Personally, I trust our government with a pinch of salt. I cannot fully trust a government that:-

Sweeps findings/Reports of Commissions of Enquiry under the carpet if they are seem to ‘embarrass government and tarnish the country’s image’.

Frustrates efforts for enactment of legislation that requires political leaders to declare their assets (source of their wealth) in accordance with the commitment we made as a nation in Vision 2016 pamphlet that we will be an open, transparent and an accountable nation.

Insists that government can investigate itself and refuses to create an independent Directorate on Corruption.

Signs away our mineral rights to foreigners for a song and hides the Agreement to make sure that Batswana never know the extent to which our mineral resources are being plundered with our rulers’ consent.

Signs secret Agreements with Americans that give American troops de facto immunity from trial by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity they commit around the world.

Lastly, Minister, just to give you the tip of an iceberg, consider this eye-opener: It is a well-known ‘secret’ that there is a big man ÔÇô I mean a very big man- – right in the Office of His Excellence the President who was implicated by an investigation in acts of corruption and domestic violence. His case, however, never progressed to prosecution. Why? His prosecution can ‘embarrass government and tarnish the country’s image’ because of his connection with bigger people with whom his friendship is still intact.

Given the forgoing, I trust that the Minister will from now on know that the government he defends probably does not share with him all the information he has to have as its spokesman.

Yours faithfully

David M. Nchwe.

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