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Thumbs up for three Phase Lockdown

Would he, wouldn’t he? On Monday night, the nation waited with bated breath for President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s update on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The address, broadcast live on Btv as well as The Voice’s Facebook page, saw Masisi extend the lockdown – initially set to end on Friday – by 21 days.

However, there was a twist.

His Excellency explained the extension would be enacted in three stages, with Phase1 – a continuation of the lockdown in its current format – taking place from May 1 – 7.

Thumbs up for three Phase Lockdown
President Mokgweetsi Masisi

The second phase (May 8 -14) will see some – although the President did not disclose which – restrictions lifted.

The final phase, from May 15 -21, will see government gradually lift all remaining lockdown restrictions.

However, Masisi stressed the plan was based on the success the country anticipate in the fight against Corona and could be adapted should this success not materialise.

He further pointed out such success is dependent on cooperation and adherence to the current lockdown rules.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA asked different political leaders what the latest move means for the nation.

Thumbs up for three Phase Lockdown
Phenyo Butale – Secretary General of Alliance for Progressives

We want lives to be spared; whatever is in Government’s power should be done to save lives. In principle, a phasing approach is preferred over sudden decisions. We have no qualms with that.

We support a phased approach as we have already indicated in our leader’s appeal to do everything in our power, and adopt new ways to ensure every student does not lose out from learning this school year.

We are concerned about the hardship and hunger of so many families across the country not because the resources are not there but because of lack of organisation and unnecessary processes.

We are still concerned about whether the professional teams, not only at the presidential task team level but at level of the health ministry, are in place or empowered to pursue their health threat solutions.

We are not satisfied that they are in place or empowered.

We are concerned about procurement processes and lack of oversight in the face of State of Emergency.

Government has not done enough to explain economic plans – which major projects are on hold and which ones are proceeding and why as well as the implementation progress of promised cushioning programs.

Thumbs up for three Phase Lockdown
Moeti Mohwasa – Head of Communications of Umbrella for Democratic Change

We welcome the decision by the President to work on a phased lifting of the lockdown.

This is necessary to ensure that we return to our routine life.

It will also reduce the burden on the government to provide for families.

A prolonged lockdown can lead to instability and civil strive, something we would not like to see happening in this country.

Though we are of the view that in areas where there hasn’t been any reported cases the lockdown should be lifted as of 1st May, we have no qualms with the one-week lockdown extension.

Our economy is going to come out battered and there is need for a comprehensive and elaborate stimulus package.

The stimulus package should not only target sectors that grow the Gross Domestic Product quickly, but should also be job creating and inclusive with special reference and bias to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), agriculture and the informal sector.

SMMEs, agriculture and the informal sector account for the largest share of employment in Botswana.

This catastrophe presents us with an opportunity to overhaul and restructure our economy.

We encourage the government to seriously consider huge investment in infrastructure with the locals being the largest beneficiaries.

Long-term stimulus package should cover: Infrastructure (roads, ICT, power, water, etc), Social Infrastructure (maintenance of schools, health facilities, building of houses, offices), Investment in Science, Research and Development to generate technologies to benefit the whole economy.

Covid-19 has shown us that our Universities, etc can achieve something if well funded.

Reform our education to provide skills and knowledge to support several sectors including health.

Invest in Agriculture and manufacturing and provide guaranteed loans to SMMES

Thumbs up for three Phase Lockdown
Kagelelo Kentse – Botswana Democratic Party’s Chairman of Communications

As the BDP we welcome the pronouncements by the President.

We equally want to applaud the government for its concerted efforts to contain and deal with this pandemic decisively.

President Masisi has led the country extremely well under the circumstances and we can see that the decisions made have saved this republic.

We commend our frontline officers and their sterling work.

We also thank Batswana for being compatriots and heeding the safety calls as advised by the government, se tshwarwa ke ntja pedi ga se thata.

Lastly, let’s continue to comply with health advice by staying home, practicing social distancing, washing our hands regularly with clean water and soap and sanitizing.

With that we can achieve going back to normalcy after May 22.

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