It has been well over a year now since Botswana got under the State of Public Emergency (SOE) rule. Whether or not the SOE will persist has not been clarified until now.
When it was first implemented, the reasons which were advanced was to give the President necessary tools to fight the pandemic. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most states formulated pieces of legislations to be in effect during the pandemic. After more than a year, less than a month is now left for the current SOE to expire, and still no legislation has been put up to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic in Botswana.
In his response earlier today in parliament, on whether the SOE will continue or not, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration- Honourable Kabo Morwaeng was not clear about the government’s pure intentions.
“As I have already alluded, work has been ongoing to prepare for exiting the State of Emergency, as that is the ideal and ultimate intention. Indeed COVID-19 has undeniable negative economic effects, which is the reason why we are doing everything possible to mitigate its impact. COVID-19 also has negative consequences beyond economic ones. These include death, emotional trauma, and a strain on the health sector. For this reason, as part of the reset agenda, we have prioritized saving lives of the citizenry. This honorable house will be aware that we have embarked on a national vaccination drive which is ongoing, and which we are working hard to enhance. Mr. Speaker In conclusion, we hope for there to be no reason for an extension of the current State of Public Emergency, but, as earlier said, only science and the disease burden will inform us at the end of the current State of Public Emergency, as well as at any other point in need for decision making in future. At the end of the day, it is this House that will have a final say on whether or not to continue with the State of Public Emergency – Presidential Affairs Minister Kabo Morwaeng responding to a question from Bobonong Member of Parliament Taolo Lucas. Lucas wanted to know what the Ministry is doing in preparation of the expiry of the State of Emergency in the month of September.” said Morwaeng.
For about four (4) months now, the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) infections and fatalities has been on the rise. With new deadly variants entering Botswana, shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, and no piece of legislation focused on containing COVID-19, government’s intentions remains a mystery.