FORMER PRESIDENT TO SHARE ELECTIONS RIGGING EVIDENCE
Former President Ian Khama’s threat of a, “Crash Landing for the country” has been revealed to be an event code named “Public Open Court” to be held in two weeks.
Addressing foreign media in South Africa in December last year, Khama said that he had engaged experts to investigate all the allegations of corruption that were leveled against him during a heated election campaigh in 2019.
He went on further to utter the words, “When the truth comes out it will be a crash landing for our country and our reputation is on the line. I will be suing government and if successful it will be paid for by public funds, it will rock our boat since it won’t come cheap. I will also lay criminal charges against those involved in the scam.”
This week a source close to Khama revealed that preparations for the ‘Public Open Court’ that the former president alluded to in December were at an advanced stage.
“ International media, all embassies in the country and international organisations have been invited. We are also expecting high profile guests such as, Paul O’ Sullivan, a South African national who describes himself as a, ‘Forensic Expert for Justice and Peter Hain, often referred to as Lord Hain, a British Labour Party Politician.” The source further revealed.
Khama has compiled all the evidence that shows that the 2019 general elections were rigged.
“He is going to show how they were rigged and expose all who were behind the rigging. After his presentation his guests will also present to support the evidence brought before them.”
However Khama’s talk will not only be on rigging of elections but it will also include evidence to expose an elaborate plan by governmet to implicate him in allegedly missing billions of pula from Bank of Botswana as punishment for leaving the ruling party.
Although the source could not reveal the venue he said the event is likely to be held at one of the local hotels or in Kasane.
“Our fear is that if we let out more information on this event, the DIS will stop it. We are lucky because we have people within the system who keep us updated,” added the source who further mentioned that although the preparations started long back, there has been no threat from the spy agency.
However, when asked on the event’s update, Khama referred this publication to the Secretary General of Botswana Patriotic Front, Roseline Panzirah- Matshome.
“Please contact Matshome as she is part of the organising team,” Khama said in his brief response.
The ‘open court’ follows Umbrella for Democratic Change(UDC) crashing defeat at the High court in an election rigging petition that was dismissed on technical reasons.
Efforts to get a comment from Matshome failed as she did not respond to our questions.
ATN advocates for tobacco ban
A call to stop the sales to tobacco products during the state of public emergency to save lives from COVID-19: Anti Tobacco Network, Botswana
The Anti Tobacco Network Botswana (ATN, Botswana) recognizes that tobacco use is an immediate threat to the control of COVID-19 spread, and calls on Government to stop the sales to tobacco products during the state of public emergency to save lives.
We note and commend the Government for approving a regulation prohibiting the importation into Botswana of tobacco or tobacco-related products during the state of public emergency.
This action is indeed a testament of the cardinal recognition by the Government and confirmation to the whole nation that tobacco and tobacco related products such as e-cigarettes, hubbly bubbly, (Shisha), vapes are non-essential commodities and that tobacco is a non-essential business that cannot be allowed to continue during the state of public emergency.
ATN Botswana however, urges the Government as a matter of urgency to issue further regulation to suspend all sale of tobacco and tobacco related products during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Such a ban will reduce easy access to tobacco products and therefore save lives of many people.
People who smoke or use other tobacco products should be assisted to quit in our health facilities.
Our urgent call to ban the sale of tobacco products during this time of public emergency is informed by scientific evidence that smoking damages human lungs and other body organs.
Smoking also destroys the immune system hence weakening a smoker’s responsiveness to infections.
As COVID -19 is primarily a disease affecting the respiratory system, smokers are therefore more vulnerable to developing severe COVID-19 which may result in prolonged hospitalization under life support machines in intensive care units (ICU) or death. Persons with long standing chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are also susceptible to severe COVID -19.
There is compelling evidence from previous studies that smokers are twice more likely than non-smokers to contract influenza and have more severe symptoms.
While smokers were also noted to have higher mortality in the previous Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak, emerging data from patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 show higher percentages of current and former smokers among patients that have needed ICU support, mechanical ventilation or those that have died.
The findings show that a higher percentage of smokers are among the severe cases.
We argue that tobacco products are not essential commodities and their sales must therefore be banned.
Allowing tobacco sales will expose smokers to COVID-19 who will repeatedly be going to the shops to purchase tobacco products.
In addition, Government should completely ban the sale and use of the hubbly Bubbly (Shisha) which is usually smoked in groups using shared mouth pieces that are a channel for transmission of COVID -19 and other respiratory diseases including tuberculosis.
During such smoking sessions, it is practically impossible to maintain social distance to avoid transmission of COVID -19 as well.
It must be remembered that the sharing of tobacco products by its users pose the danger of spreading COVID-19 through contaminated saliva.
Several countries in Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Gambia have banned sale of use of shisha.
Recently, 17 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region have banned hubbly Bubbly (Shisha) as a measure to control spread of COVID -19.
South Africa banned the sale of tobacco products during its 21-day lockdown.
Botswana can join these countries, to further solidify its stance that tobacco is not an essential commodity and preventing its use can save lives.
We further call on the Government to strictly enforce the provisions of section 13 of the Control of Smoking Act which bans the advertisement of tobacco products by the tobacco industry.
ATN Botswana has noted with concern that recently, there has been an upsurge in advertisement, especially banners posted by irresponsible companies or individuals that boldly advertise and promote tobacco products in the face of COVID-19 and in full disregard of existing law prohibition of advertising and promotion of tobacco products in Botswana.
Such adverts even inviting people to smoke shops when the Government of Botswana is urging people to keep physical distance, will negatively affect the effort to fight COVID-19 and also defeat other efforts by government to reduce tobacco use which is a known leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
By Professor Bontle Mbongwe, Executive Director, Anti Tobacco Network
Francistown’s peaceful night
On the first day of the 28 days of extreme social distancing, the city of Francistown has experienced one of the most peaceful nights in a long time.
Officer Commanding Number 15 District Senior Superintendent Kabo Badirwang told The Voice in an interview that despite a few isolated incidents the night went on with no worries.
The top cop said stopping the sale of alcohol two weeks ago was a stroke of genius that will go a long way in the combat against Covid-19.
Badirwang said they were worried last night as at around 10pm, they could still see long queues at Automated Teller Machines and some quick shops.
“We announced at around 11:30 that people should be getting ready to go home and what we saw was absolute cooperation. By 12 midnight, the streets were quiet. It was an absolute pleasure to see,” Badirwang said.
He said in an isolated incident they came across three ladies who arrived on a late bus at the Francistown bus rank. “They were heading to areas around Somerset, but as you know there was no public transport. They however finally managed to get a lift and were allowed to proceed to their destination.”
Badirwang said even troublesome locations such as Coloured and Bluetown were very quite at night. “People in Francistown have headed the message and this in turn make our task easy,” he added.
He however noted that while the Francistown nights go on peacefully, it is during the day that they experience challenges with people who still feel they have a right to walk wherever they want.
“We do receive reports of people who are not observing the health tips and social distancing. Those will be dealt with. I’m hopeful that in the coming days, people will understand what this is all about,” he said.