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SOPE extension – is it necessary?

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Masisi is clueless on how best to deal with Covid 19- Boko

This week the President Mokgweetsi Masisi, took many by surprise when he announced new curfew times.

The new times have raised suspicions that Masisi could be working on a plan to extend the State of Public Emergency (SOE) with another six months.

The Voice Reporter, DANIEL CHIDA engages different people, including members of parliament, party leaders and political analysts to give their opinion.

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Dithapelo Keorapetse- MP for Selibe-Phikwe West

State of Public Emergency has postponed democracy; there’s little transparency and accountability.Parliamentary questions and other interventions have not in any way enhanced democracy during COVID-19. Government ministers refuse to give clear answers, withhold information and sometimes outrightly lie.

The country needs a specific special law to deal with COVID, like in other countries such as UK.

Alternatively we can amend the Public Health Act rather than have a rule by decree for more than a year.

It’s bad for our democracy, it’s bad for the economy especially investment, it’s bad for business.

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We can fight the virus and win the war without regressing on democratic values, especially transparency and accountability.

We’ve not been doing well in that regard but SOPE has made things worse, corruption is thriving under the guise of direct appointments on big tenders.

We need a robust vaccine rollout to weather the corona storm. There should be a country and the economy left after COVID-19.

Phenyo Butale- Secretary General of Alliance for Progressives

Indeed the amendment of curfew times is nothing but preparation for SOPE extension. They are creating some justification for the extension.

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There has not been any evidence whatsoever that suggests the SOPE has yielded any fruits.

Phenyo Butale

Therefore there is no justification for an extension. SOPE has only served to increase fears of corruption as there is no checks and balances, let alone accountability in the awarding of tenders

Baratiwa Mathoothe- MP for Serowe North

The reversal of the curfew times is a sign that the government want to extend the SOPE.

One would ask why they ameded the curfew times when we are only left with seven days to the end of SOPE.

Baratiwa Mathoothe

And again when Minister Kgafela Mmusi was debating the budget under the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security he mentioned the importance of SOPE.

He further stated that the law should be separated from politics, actually he was motivating his colleagues in parliament that Extension of SOPE is coming and that they should support it.

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What informed the president to take a decision to reduce the curfew times, does that mean the two hours they have cut is when there was a high rate of covid 19 spread.

This decision is threatening to kill restaurants, shops, filling stations and the informal sector as they are supposed to close around 5pm and 6pm so that employees can be home by 8PM.

Liakat Kablay- Parliament Chief Whip

We have high numbers of positive cases and extension of SOPE will help in curbing the spread.

Liakat Kablay

The virus is now all over the country and death toll is also very high. Most of us don’t wear masks, there is no social distancing at bars and we are generally very careless.

Travelling to far away places for holidays or visiting should stop especially during this coming Easter holidays.

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We are told if we stay in one place we can curb this virus, So to do all that I have mentioned we need Emergency laws otherwise the virus will triple.

Sometimes nice time is useless.

Leonard Sesa- Political Analyst

We are expectating details about the vaccination process and maybe asking for SOPE extension will be in line with the vaccionation roll out.

Leonard Sesa

I am also in support of the latest revised curfew times because as a nation we have been too relaxed during holidays leading to wayward behaviour and unnecessary movement leading to spike of the virus.

Yandani Boko- MP for Mahalapye East

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I don’t think there is a need to extend the SOPE, we have seen how that dispensation has been abused by the powers that be.

In fact there is a need to craft /amend laws and empower already existing institutions to effectively deal with COVID 19.

If we go by the logic that SOPE is the only effective mechanism, we might as well go with it the whole term being ruled by BDP.

Yandani Boko

In the past I submitted that members of the ruling party ” ba isitse dimpa ko palamenteng” and I was called all sorts of names.

It’s clear this is about them and their inner circle.

You will agree with me that Masisi is clueless on how best to deal with Covid 19 and so is his cabinet which lacks creative ideas.

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I can only hope that Batswana realises what unpardonable sin they have committed by voting BDP into power.

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