Masisi blasts the West over travel ban
Furious at what he insists is inhumane treatment, verging on violence, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has blasted the West as ‘two-faced’ for restricting travel to Southern Africa.
Following the discovery of the Covid-19 variant, Omicron, the world’s so-called ‘super powers’ – including Great Britain, America, France, Germany – acted as one, banning travel to and from Botswana and her neighbours.
Voicing his displeasure at a kgotla meeting in Maun on Friday morning, Masisi did not mince his words, likening the move to Gender Based Violence (GBV), with the potential to ruin Botswana’s economy.
“This will destroy economies of small nations such as ours. When we talk to them they claim they like us and that they support us in terms of developments. No, the way I see it, it is more like GBV, big nation violence against small nations!”
His voice trembling with emotion, Masisi said the betrayal was especially cruel as first-world countries have experienced several new Covid-19 outbreaks of their own. However, when this happened the smaller nations did not turn their backs on them.
Highlighting the impact of the ban, the President noted it affects almost all sectors of the country
“It is not only the travel and tourism sector that has been hit, but the diamond industry as well, for we cannot sell the diamonds if the buyers are not allowed to travel,” he said.
Described as a ‘highly mutated’ type of Covid-19, Omicron was discovered in Botswana on Friday 19 November by Botswana Harvard AIDS institute partnership in Gaborone. Its origins are said to be unknown and its complexity or strengths yet to be discovered.
Calling on the West to lift the ban immediately, Masisi warned that should it remain it would send the country into an economic crisis within two months.
Already, Covid-19 and its restrictions have put Botswana’s economy under strain, with many people having lost their jobs.
At the kgotla meeting, some complained of a rise in stock theft in recent months, with Masisi admitting such crimes are often a result of the poverty caused by loss of income in many households owing to Covid-19 outbreak.
“These are results of hunger, there are people who cannot endure when their stomach grumbles and they resort to criminal activities,” he conceded, causing a grumble of agreement from the crowd.
Nonetheless, the President encouraged the nation to continue adhering to Covid-19 guidelines and regulations to protect themselves and others.