Kgosi Ngakaagae, a local prominent celebrity lawyer has condemned the use to the State of Public Emergency (SoPE) as a means to control the pandemic. Ngakaagae is of the view that Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) is now used as a pretext for constitutional dictatorship.
According to Ngakaagae, it is wrong for a leader to suppose that they are capable of singlehandedly determining the country’s destiny and prosperity. Through his Facebook post, he emphasized that other institutions must be given a chance to play their part as democracy dictates.
“A state of emergency, as a constitutional concept, is not a vote of no confidence in democracy as an ideal, or in its institutions. Nor is it an affirmation of perfection in the personal capabilities of a head of state, however confident they might be, of their personal merit. It is, as I see it, an acknowledgement of our lack of prophetic foresight, and and our resultant inability to divine the future with absolute precision. In the end, the default constitutional position, is and must remain, that, institutions, representing our collective human capital and intellect, are best suited to address all the challenges that stalk, and haunt us, in our mortal existence.” Ngakaagae observed.
Ngakaagae is of the view that an SoPE is not a remedy to COVID-19 and as such it is not intended to last as long as a pandemic. He says SoPE must have an objective, it’s own hasty ending, and not an end itself.
He further condemned the state of public emergency accusing the President of seeking to rule by decree as long as there is COVID-19. Ngakaagae says the time for formulating laws and institutions that would be empowered to regulate the pandemic is long overdue. These, Ngakaagae says would ensure the job is done while the country returns to the normal conventional government.
“By perpetuating the status quo, H.E [His Excellency] is saying that institutions cannot perform better than he can, and that no capacitation can render same his equal. It is a loud and arrogant assertion that the salvation of the nation lies in him personally. It’s is a sad departure from the humility required of a president of a republic built upon constitutional democratic ideals. It is a negation of his democratic credentials, however strongly professed” he charged.
The job, Ngakaagae says, belongs to properly trained and equipped public health officials who ought by now, to have been equiped with modest discretionary powers necessary for our collective safety. Furthermore, he is of the view that COVID-19 may take a decade or more to be completely defeated, and as such what the BDP government is doing is hijacking the COVID-19 fight as a pretext for constitutional dictatorship.
“We do not need to be taught to fear COVID19, any more than we need to be taught to fear HIV AIDS. We have lived through it, we have suffered from it, and we are dying of it, everyday. I personally spent most of November, 2020, bedridden at SKMTH, with COVID19, fighting for my life. But I maintain that our democracy is too precious to be permanently surrendered to purveyors of fear and doomsday conspirators. After all, democracy itself, as an ideal was redeemed through blood over many centuries. Lives have been surrended in its attainment and defence.”
The State of Public Emergency has been in place for close to a year now, having been extended roughly six (6) months back. There are rumours that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) legislators are caucusing to have it extended further.
However, most Batswana in social media are not happy with that idea. Most of the people agreed with Ngakaagae on his post. A good number is suggesting that the President has tasted excessive power and he is not willing to let go.