Republic of Botswana (26/6/05)
TAUTONA TIMES no 22 of 2005
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Involving as it did over 3,000 troops from all but two of the SADC
member states, Exercise Thokgamo has been a significant milestone along the road towards ensuring the security not only of our own region but also our continent as a whole. The joint manoeuvres that many of you have been engaged in have laid the foundation for an effective SADC standby Brigade. Besides being positioned to react to local threats this Brigade will become a pillar of the all African Stand-by Force, which is being established by the African Union (AU)." - President Mogae [D 1]
A. A Luta Continua
B. Press Schedule
C. The Week That Was
D. Statements by H.E. the President:
1) At the Closing Ceremony of Exercise Thokgamo (23/6/05)
2) Accepting Letters of credence from the incoming Ambassadors of the Republic of Turkey, Republic of Korea, Swiss Confederation, and
Democratic Republic of Algeria (21/6/05)
E. Press Office Forwarding:
1) President Mogae's message on the eve of the 30th Anniversary of
Mozambique's Independence (24/6/05)
2) Letter to Sunday Standard on Botswana and the OECD (24/6/05)
3) Reply to Pretoria News/Legalbrief reports "Deported professor a
security threat claim" (20/6/05)
4) Reply to Washington Post article ""A Culture Vanishes in the Kalahari
5) Additional notes and forwarding
A. A Luta Continua (The Struggle Continues)
A perennial concern has been the generally negative portrayal of Africa by western media. If one looks one will find on any given day countless reports in which African institutions and practices are reduced to generic stereotypes, which can then dismissed as un-progressive, if not downright primitive.
The last few weeks have seemingly seen an upsurge of such reporting in the context of the anticipated focus on the continent at the forthcoming G8 Summit. When this author recently passed through London, I found the local press full of stories whose unambiguous message was that multilateral efforts to assist in the alleviation of poverty through fairer trade, aid and/or debt relief were doomed because of local misgovernment.
Several accounts in different newspapers latched onto the notion that extra aid money would wind up buying "gold faucets" for "Presidential Palaces". Just as the mythical "Polish plumber" recently became a media symbol for why the French should vote against the proposed EU constitution, the UK tabloids pushed the line that the efforts of the likes of Geldorf would merely result in more luxuries for the
In such polemics, no attempt of course is made to look at where the
modest amounts of western aid channelled to Africa have actually ended up (which would substantially include the pockets of western
consultants, aid workers and assorted contractors). Neither does one
see much discussion about those from outside the continent who, in the past at least, sustained some of this continent's more notorious
In the face of negative media, Africans and friends of Africa can take
collective comfort in two of the events that were on H.E. the
President's calendar this past week. The successful conclusion of the
Multilateral Peacekeeping exercise, known as Exercise Thokgamo, was
certainly a milestone in this region's efforts to establish a common
We can also celebrate the progress of our brothers and sisters in
Mozambique, who yesterday celebrated their country's 30th Anniversary of Independence.
After some 500 years of colonial misrule, much of it centred on the
slave trade, followed by two decades in which their hard won freedom was undermined by externally sponsored destabilization, Mozambique has over the past decade joined the long list of African nations, including of course Botswana, who are now seen as models of growth and good governance. As our Minister of Works and Transport, the Hon. Mrs. Lesego Motsumi, observed at a Gaborone reception:
"We are happy that since the end of the war, the people of Mozambique have succeeded in turning their swords into ploughshares, and today their country enjoys absolute peace and tranquillity, and is now a model of economic success in Africa."
Africa's struggle for further development continues, but the fruits of
its people's efforts are certainly there to be seen for those who come
with open eyes and open minds.
- Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Press Secretary to the President (26/6/05)
Contacts: Office Telephone: (267) 3975154 & Facsimile: (267) 3902795.
Cell: (267) 71318598. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
B. Press Schedule:
As always the events listed below, which represent only those parts of
H.E. the President's schedule open in whole or part to press coverage,
are subject to change. When possible and necessary, updates will be
forwarded. Members of the Press are also encouraged to contact the
sponsors of the various events listed below for further programme
details and possible updates.
Tuesday (28/6/05): In the morning, at 10:00 am, H.E. the President is
scheduled to give an exclusive interview to BBC World Business Report.
Friday (1/7/05): Sir Seretse Khama Day Public Holiday - during the
afternoon H.E. the President is expected to attend in the 10th annual
Orange Kabelano Trust Charity Spectacular, which will culminate in a
football match between Botswana's galloping Zebras and the Simbas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Monday (4/7/05) - Wednesday (6/7/05): H.E. the President is expected to
travel to Sirte, Libya, to attend the 5th Ordinary Session of the
Assembly of the African Union.
Saturday (16/7/05) - Tuesday (19/7/05): The ruling Botswana Democratic Party will hold its National Congress in Serowe.
Monday (18/7/05): In the morning, from 10:00 AM, H.E. the President will
attend the annual President's Day celebrations, which will be held this
year in Kasane.
Sunday (24/7/05) -Wednesday (27/6/05): H.E. the President is scheduled
to give the keynote address at the International AIDS Society AIDS
Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He will thereafter have a two day
Working Visit before returning home.
Friday (29/6/05): In the evening, from 19:30, H.E. the President will
attend the UB Foundation Fundraising Dinner.
C. OP Press Coverage Highlights for the week ending Saturday 18/6/05:
Monday (20/6/05): In the afternoon, H.E. the President received a
courtesy call from (Retired) U.S. General Charlton Fulford, who is the
Director of the African Centre for Strategic Studies. Thereafter, he met
with delegates attending a one day Forum of Permanent Secretaries to SADC Heads of State and Government [TT 21].
Tuesday (21/6/05): In the afternoon, H.E. the President received the
credentials of the incoming Ambassadors of the Republic of Turkey,
Republic of Korea (South), the Swiss Confederation and Democratic
Republic of Algeria, at State House [D2].
Wednesday (22/6/05): In the afternoon, H.E. the President gave an
exclusive interview with BBC1 reporters as part of a special feature on
Botswana. Thereafter he flew to Maun to attend the closing ceremonies of Exercise Thokgamo.
Thursday (23/6/05): In the morning, H.E. the President addressed the
Closing Ceremony of Exercise Thokgamo at the Maun Sports Complex [D1]. The Exercise, which was co-sponsored and organised by the Botswana Defence Force and the French Re-enforcement of African Capabilities in Peacekeeping Programme (RECAMP) was a Brigade size Multi-national Peacekeeping Exercise conducted by military contingents from Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as Botswana (both Defence Force and Police Service) and France. The event was also attended by a large number of domestic and international dignitaries, including most of the SADC Ministers of Defence and Defence Chiefs.
In the afternoon, the President granted an exclusive interview to SABC
before attending a luncheon where the French Ambassador, H.E. Pierre Coulont, on behalf of H.E. the French President Jacques Chirac, bestowed the decoration of the Legion d'Honneur upon the Commander of the Botswana Defence Force, Lt. Gen. Louis Matshwenyego Fisher. In his remarks H.E. Ambassador Coulant paid tribute to the Commander, among other things observing:
"It was in 1998 that you were made Commander of the Botswana Defence Force, building on the solid foundation laid by your two predecessors, Lieutenant-General Mompati Merafhe and Lieutenant-General Seretse Khama Ian Khama. On assuming command, you vision and your challenge was to lead the BDF into the twenty-first century. The Force required dedicated men, sufficiently motivated and adequately trained, confident in their ability to win both war and peace.
"Your view was that military equipment does not mean anything to a
soldier, if he is not already equipped with the basics. To that end,
each soldier had to be encouraged to develop various skills, be they
interpersonal, analytical or communicative, in order to maintain
"Military scholars often argue that the changing geopolitics in the
international arena pose a challenge to defence forces. You General
Fisher, with the support of the Defence Council, have shown that you
understand, and so does the BDF - although a rather small army with a
lot of ground to cover - has been able to adapt to global changes and new dangers."
In the evening H.E. the President, as BDF Commander-in-Chief, joined
Commander Fisher at an Officers' Mess reception for the visiting
Friday (24/6/05): In the early morning, H.E. the President returned to
Gaborone in time to attend a meeting of the Economic Committee of
Cabinet and other duties before departing for Maputo in the late
afternoon in order to be present at the 30th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations of the Republic of Mozambique on Saturday [E1]. Accompanying him were his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Eric Molale, the BDF Commander, Lt. Gen. Fisher, and two Members of Parliament, Mr. Samson Moyo Guma of the ruling party and Mr. Olebile Gaborone of the opposition Botswana National Front.
Sunday (26/6/05): In the morning H.E. the President returned from
D. Statements by H.E. the President:
D 1) STATEMENT BY H.E. Mr. FESTUS G. MOGAE, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, AT THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF EXERCISE "THOKGAMO", MAUN STADIUM,
Thursday, 23rd June 2005:
Director of Ceremonies....Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
1. I am pleased to be here in Maun today, in order to associate
myself with what has been a most successful international Exercise. Over the past two weeks those of you who have participated in Exercise Thokgamo have demonstrated to the world that this region has both the will and capacity to secure its own future, while contributing to wider security efforts.
2. In their wisdom our African forefathers understood that without
peace there can be no prosperity. In recognition of this fundamental
fact, our pre-colonial societies tended to emphasise the importance of
non-violent conflict resolution, in both their internal and external
3. Further recognition of the bond between order and progress is
reflected in the fact that most of our societies had systems of age
regiments whose primary purpose was to maintain social peace. The
concept of peacekeeping through armed capacity is thus not something that is alien to us. It is rather rooted in our own indigenous
4. The link between today's multinational peacekeeping efforts and the timeless and collective values of our past is suggested by the
Setswana name of this exercise "Thokgamo", which roughly translates as state of "Tranquillity" or "Serenity" but can also suggest "Integrity".
The name, like the Exercise itself, is therefore an affirmation of our
pride in who we are.
5. Not long ago our region was a focal point of armed conflict as
our people struggled to free themselves from the shackles of colonialism and apartheid. But, today we are increasingly able to enjoy the fruits of sustained peace.
6. From being a location of international concern and political
rivalry Southern Africa has thus been transformed into an example for
others of what can be achieved through reconciliation and common
purpose. Today the nations of SADC are not only largely at peace but are also finding themselves increasingly engaged in international efforts to bring peace elsewhere.
7. Involving as it did over 3,000 troops from all but two of the
SADC member states, Exercise Thokgamo has been a significant milestone along the road towards ensuring the security not only of our own region but also our continent as a whole. The joint manoeuvres that many of you have been engaged in have laid the foundation for an effective SADC standby Brigade. Besides being positioned to react to local threats this Brigade will become a pillar of the all African Stand-by Force, which is being established by the African Union (AU).
8. SADC's commitment to promote greater regional cooperation on matters related to Security and Defence was reflected back in 1996 with the establishment of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security. Among this Organ's founding objectives has been "to develop peacekeeping capacity of National Defence Forces and co-ordinate the participation of State parties in international and Regional Peacekeeping Operations."
9. For its part the AU, as envisaged in Article 4 of its Charter,
has also moved forward with the establishment of its own Peace and
Security Council as part of ongoing efforts on the part of the
membership to develop a common security policy by 2010. Notably, the Council has a mandate to intervene in crisis situations.
10. While Exercise Thokgamo has been a practical manifestation of
regional self-reliance and Pan-African ideals, it is also evidence of
the potential for wider multilateral partnership in meeting global
security challenges. In both its conception and execution this Exercise
has benefited from the support of institutions from outside the
11. Particular appreciation must here go to the Government of
France, which assisted in the organisation and finance of this Exercise
through its Re-enforcement of African Capabilities in Peacekeeping
12. I am further informed that the same Programme has also assisted similar initiatives elsewhere on the continent as part of a principled commitment on the part of France to support greater Multilateral partnership in Multinational Peace Keeping, as provided for under Chapter VI of the UN Charter. To our French friends here present we therefore say merci beucoup!
13. Before concluding, I would also wish to observe that the advent of Globalisation has brought in its wake new challenges for all of us. As the author Alan Cohen once observed: It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
14. Recent events around the world have confirmed that our Global village is confronted with emerging threats that can only be effectively addressed if we are brave enough to see beyond what is parochial so as to achieve a new, multilateral, consensus on securing our common
15. The successful completion of Exercise Thokgamo has demonstrated both the capacity and resolve of this region, in partnership with others, to ensure its own future. It has, moreover, shown that we are prepared to also play a constructive part in the shaping of an enhanced international framework for global peace and security.
16. Finally, I wish to further commend all those who made the
historic Exercise possible. It is my hope that the ultimate value of the
past two weeks will not only be reflected in the tangible lessons that
have been learned on the ground but also in a greater degree of
understanding among us.
17. As many of you go back to your respective home countries, I am confident that the relationships that have been here forged will prove of lasting benefit not only for yourselves but our common Community.
18. To the hundreds of distinguished guests who made this day
possible, I hope that you have had the opportunity to enjoy our
hospitality. I personally wish you all safe travel back to your
respective countries. I further thank you all for your attention.
D 2) Statements by H.E. the President, Mr. Festus G. Mogae, upon
accepting Letters of Credence from the incoming Ambassadors of the a) Republic of Turkey, b) Republic of Korea, c) Swiss Confederation, and d) Democratic Republic of Algeria (21/6/05)
Please find below copies of Statements by H.E. the President, Festus G.
Mogae, accepting Letters of Credence from the incoming Ambassadors of the Republic of Turkey, Republic of Korea (South), Swiss Confederation, and Democratic Republic of Algeria, at State House on Tuesday, 21st June
a) ACCEPTING THE LETTER OF CREDENCE FROM THE AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. FERHAT ATAMAN
Y.E. Ambassador Ferhat Ataman,
I am delighted to receive the Letter of Credence by which His
Excellency President Ahmed Necedet Sezer has appointed you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to Botswana.
2. I am further pleased to acknowledge your President's best wishes for my own well being as well as that of my fellow citizens. We in
Botswana have been pleased to enjoy warm relations with Turkey since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1981. At the political level there has been cooperation between us in such fora as the United Nations and Group of 77.
3. But, in other areas I am sure there is room for greater
partnership. In this respect I share in your stated desire to see to the
further development of our two countries' bilateral relationship in the
economic, political and cultural fields.
4. Since the time of the founder of your modern Republic, the great Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey has remained an example to the others around the world of the dynamic capacity of societies to transform themselves in the face of new challenges. In this context, I am happy to note the progress your country is currently making towards greater economic growth as well as the consolidation of its democratic values through its ongoing reform process.
5. It is my own hope that with the continued development of both of our countries new opportunities will arise for a greater exchange of
goods and services between us. The potential to move towards more open trade between Turkey and our region is therefore certainly welcome.
6. In a world that is at times troubled by intolerance and
extremism, one is reassured by countries such as Turkey for
demonstrating how people living on different continents, with different
faiths, cultures and languages, can find common ground on the basis of common values and shared circumstance.
7. Y.E. Mr. Ambassador, let me here conclude by expressing my hope that we shall see you more often in Botswana. I am informed that you are now enjoying your first diplomatic posting on our continent. I would encourage you to feel free to visit any and all the corners of this country, including our premier tourist destinations such as the Okavango Delta and the Chobe National Game Park.
8. On that note, I assure you of the full co-operation and support
of my Government in fulfilling your mandate as the Ambassador of Turkey to Botswana.
b) ACCEPTING THE LETTER OF CREDENCE FROM THE AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA, HIS EXCELLENCY MR. KIM EUN-SOO:
Y.E. Ambassador Kim Eun-Soo,
I am pleased to receive the Letter of Credence by which your
President H.E. Roh Moo-Hyun accredits you as the Ambassador of the
Republic of Korea to Botswana. I also accept the Letter of Recall of
2. I further appreciate the messages of goodwill conveyed both from you and by you on behalf of President Roh Moo-Hyun for the continued prosperity and welfare of my people.
3. It is also gratifying for me to be able to here confirm that
since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two nations nearly four decades ago we have indeed enjoyed amicable relations. My own country has, moreover, benefited from Korean development assistance.
4. Today, I welcome your stated mission of seeking to build on our
already warm bilateral relationship. While Korea and Botswana are
separated by considerable geographic distance in this current era of
global business and communication no two states can ever be said to be far away from each other. This truth is partially reflected in the
residence of some of your fellow citizens among us, as well as the local
presence of Korean products. In the context of the recently declared New Asian-African Partnership it is my hope that there will be an increase in the two way flow of trade between our countries.
5. In the context of accelerated globalization we have a common
interest in promoting win-win partnerships among nations. In this
respect, I appreciate the positive role that has been played by the
Korean International Co-operation Agency in facilitating the development of local infrastructure.
6. Ambassador Kin Eun-Soo, let me conclude by expressing my hope that you will have the opportunity to spend more time among us. You may also wish to take advantage of your proximity to visit other parts of our country, including our renowned wildlife and wilderness areas, as well as our diverse communities.
7. In conclusion, let me once more reiterate that while our two
countries may be divided by vast distances nothing separates the warmth of friendship between us. It is my hope therefore that we will continue to identify areas for mutually beneficial co-operation. On that note I wish you an enjoyable tour of duty.
c) ACCEPTING THE LETTER OF CREDENCE FROM THE AMBASSADOR OF THE SWISS CONFEDERATION, HIS EXCELLENCY MR. VIKTOR CHRISTEN:
Y.E. Ambassador Viktor Christen,
1. It is my pleasure to accept the Letter of Credence by which His
Excellency the President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr. Samuel Schmid, accredits you as Ambassador of Switzerland to Botswana. I also accept the Letter of Recall of your predecessor.
2. I further appreciate your kind words about Botswana's
post-independence progress. As I recently had occasion to point out,
while our countries are dissimilar in many ways, such as in our
geography and levels of wealth, we do share a few characteristics. We
are both relatively small landlocked nations with somewhat similar
histories of having had to uphold our sovereign principles, while
maintaining peaceful relations with much larger, more powerful
3. We also share a longstanding commitment to democracy and good governance, which in each case is deeply rooted in our indigenous political traditions, which place a heavy emphasis on popular consultation. These characteristics have undoubtedly been a foundation for the peace and relative prosperity of our societies.
4. While it is true that the bilateral relationship between our two
countries has, heretofore, been relatively modest, it is also true that
there is considerable scope for greater interaction and exchange. In
this respect I welcome ongoing progress that is being made towards the establishment of more open trade between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
5. I also look forward to our two nations capitalising on the
mutual opportunities that were created by last year's signing of a
Memorandum of Understanding between the Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) and the Trade and Investment Network of Switzerland (TINSSA).
6. I further believe that Botswana can also continue to benefit
from drawing on the Swiss experience in such areas as financial
services, tourism, and agricultural research. Let me here also express
my appreciation for Swiss partnership in the field of labour relations
through the Swiss/ILO Project.
7. Ambassador Christen, let me conclude by once more welcoming you to Botswana. I wish you a most fruitful and memorable tour of duty.
8. The geography and climate of Botswana when compared to
Switzerland may be a study in contrasts. But, I trust you will find in
our people a common thread of gracious hospitality that will make you
feel at home. May the coming months see an enhancement of our bilateral relations on the basis of the continued friendship, shared values and mutual respect that exists between us.
d) ACCEPTING THE LETTER OF CREDENCE FROM THE AMBASSADOR OF THE DEMOCRATC REPUBLIC OF ALGERIA, HIS EXCELLENCY MR. MOURAD BENCHEIKH:
Your Excellency Ambassador Mourad Bencheikh,
I am delighted to accept the Letter of Credence appointing you
Ambassador of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria to Botswana. I also accept the Letter of Recall of your predecessor.
2. Botswana attaches importance to the development and growth of bilateral relations that exist between us and Algeria. We welcome your appointment as a reaffirmation at the highest level of the commitment to maintain and expand these relations.
3. The friendship and solidarity that exist between Botswana and
Algeria is emotional and yet real. The geographical distances that
divide our countries have not prevented us from feeling a strong sense
of belonging to one another. We have always found it natural to express our support in a practical way whenever anyone of us found themselves in difficult circumstances. As you correctly stated Mr. Ambassador the Government of Botswana demonstrated its deep sympathy in a practical way when an earthquake hit Algiers in 2003.
4. We too will never forget how Algeria stood shoulder to shoulder
with us during the dark days of apartheid and racial oppression in
Southern Africa. It was countries such as Algeria that made a
difference in the struggle for freedom and democracy in our region. You did not simply issue political statements to condemn the racist and oppressive minority regimes. You actually ensured that the oppressed people were assisted to liberate themselves and that countries such as Botswana were given practical support to resist aggression.
5. This is a part of the history of our relationship that is
indelible. I am pleased that the Southern African Development Community is committed to ensuring that this history is recorded and preserved for future generations. It is important that individuals such as yourself who have been members of the National Liberation Army of Algeria and are, therefore, familiar with the struggle for the liberation of their country and its relationship with the liberation of the wider African continent are representing their country in a free and democratic Southern Africa. We can now work together to expand the possibilities for an economically prosperous Africa.
6. Today the struggle against under-development, poverty and
disease is continuing. Algeria is in the frontline of that struggle.
Algeria played a crucial role in the genesis of the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD) and continues to be a pillar of strength in
the efforts to speed up Africa's renewal and revitalization.
7. We are, therefore, happy to continue working with Algeria at the
bilateral level, within the framework of the African Union, the Group of
77 and China and many other international fora. We admire Algeria for its pro-Africa stand and South-South centred policy in the conduct of its international relations. It is commendable that in all these areas,
Algeria has consistently sought to co-operate and collaborate with
countries both large and small. Botswana is pleased to continue working with Algeria in the economic, social and cultural fields as you have demonstrated in more ways than one that you are a force for the common good.
8. On that note Ambassador Mourad Benchekh, it gives me great
pleasure to welcome you to Botswana and wish you a fruitful tour of
E. OP Press Office Forwarding:
E 1) 24/6/05: H.E. the President's message on the eve of the 30th
Anniversary of the Independence of Mozambique.
This late this afternoon (24/6/05 at 16:00) H.E. the President, Mr.
Festus Gontebanye Mogae, departed from SSK International Airport aboard OK 1 for Maputo, where tomorrow he will be among the guests of honour attending Celebrations marking the 30th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Mozambique. The President is expected to return to Gaborone on Sunday Morning at 10:00 AM.
Below is a copy of H.E. the President's message, forwarded this
afternoon, to H.E. the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Mr.
Emilio Armando Guebuza, congratulating him and the Government and people of Mozambique on the occasion of this historic milestone for their nation.
[Start of Statement]:
My Dear President Guebuza,
On the eve of the 30th Anniversary Celebrations of the
Independence of your Republic, I am delighted to extend to you, the
Government and people of Mozambique our warm congratulations and best wishes for the future. I will be particularly pleased to join you in Maputo in marking this historic occasion.
The independence of Mozambique occupies an important place in the annals of the liberation of Southern Africa. The gallant people of
Mozambique fought against the oldest and most brutal colonial regime in Africa and succeeded. This victory ended the myth that there could never be freedom, democracy and majority rule in our region. Your Independence was a powerful inspiration to the oppressed people in the rest of Southern Africa to intensify their struggles for freedom.
We are happy that today the Government and people of Mozambique are actively engaged in tackling the challenges of improving the human condition. I reiterate our commitment to working with you bilaterally and within the framework of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to promote greater economic co-operation and intensified regional integration for the benefit of our peoples.
Please accept, Mr. President and Dear Colleague, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration and fraternal greeting.
E 2) 24/6/05: To the Editor of the Sunday Standard from the Press
Secretary: Re your newspaper's article "Good's PI blights Botswana's
chances for OECD membership"
I was somewhat amused by the page 2 article that appeared in the June 19th 2005 edition of your broadsheet entitled "Goods PI blights
Botswana's chances for OECD membership".
The notion that Botswana would either seek or be eligible for membership in the OECD is in itself an absurdity. OECD is a grouping of the world's wealthiest, most advanced countries. Not withstanding our notable progress over the last four decades we remain very much part of the developing world, with a per capita income of about 10% of the OECD average. While the deportation of Kenneth Good is certainly neither here nor there, when it comes to the deportation of unwanted aliens the OECD nations are the worldwide leaders by a large margin, the bottom line is that we belong to the "South" not the "North" in the great global divide.
What perplexed me, however, is that you did not see it fit to inform
your readers of the identity of our caustic letter pages critic who's
nattering negativism you otherwise saw fit to extensively quote. Do you not think that a standard reader would have been interested in the fact that the respondent was none other than Good's partner Ian Taylor, who for all of his contempt for us nonetheless boasts in the pages of the Times of having been "University of Botswana 2001-04, Senior Lecturer in African Politics"?
E 3) 20/6/05: Letter to Legalbrief website, and reply received on the
site's coverage of a misleading report appearing in the Pretoria news of the same day, the editor of Pretoria News was also contacted:
To: Editor, Legalbrief
Re: Your report "Deported professor a security threat claim"
This is to inform you that earlier this morning I e-mailed the editor of
the Pretoria News rejecting his publication's online claim that:
"Australian Professor Ken Good was a "threat to national security" over
his links with Survival International, the London based agency that acts for threatened peoples worldwide, Botswana's President Festus Mogae has said"
The report refers to an 11th of June Press Conference given by President Mogae in Gaborone. In this context it should be noted that at no point during the said Press Conference was the grounds for Kenneth Good's deportation either raised or divulged.
It may be further noted that the Pretoria News correspondent did not to our knowledge attend the said Press Conference.
>From its content, it is apparent to us that that Mr. Amato's report is
nothing more than an uncritical reproduction of a Survival International Press Release. In this context it may be noted that we are unaware of any effort on the part of Mr. Amato or anyone else associated with Pretoria News to contact this Office to verify the accuracy of the statements attributed to the President, which were incidentally recorded.
Further to the above, the President's comments at the Press Conference about Kenneth Good's efforts to tarnish the international image of Botswana's diamonds arose in response to recent speculation in a local private newspaper that the deportation might have been linked to information contained in allegedly stolen laptop computers supposedly linking Good with Survival International.
In dismissing such speculation the President noted that besides being
against the law there certainly would have been no need to so look into Good's computers given that he was an "exhibitionist" who made no secret of his activities in support of groups like Survival International - "To be fair to the man, he was not doing it behind our back".
The President went on to further note that members of the press could
easily access evidence of Good's role in the anti-diamond campaign for
themselves from information that is publicly posted on the internet.
Reply from Legalbrief:
Dear Dr Ramsay
Many thanks for contacting Legalbrief Africa regarding the article
'Deported professor a security threat claim'. We will be referring to
your letter in next Monday's Legalbrief Africa newsletter and have
posted your letter to the Legalbrief Africa Web site.
The letter has been uploaded to the following URL:
In addition, we have added a link to your letter on the page that
displays the brief summary of the Pretoria News report that appears on
our site. Please visit:
We trust that this is in order.
E 4) 18/6/05: Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post newspaper
issued by the Embassy of Botswana in the U.S.A. in response to an
article entitled: "A Culture Vanishes in the Kalahari Dust":
With reference to your newspaper's recent article entitled "A Culture
Vanishes in the Kalahari Dust" the Government of Botswana wishes to
refute your correspondent's repeated assertion that the residents of the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve have been relocated against their will. In this respect we take this opportunity to affirm that migration of people, whom your article stereotypes as "Bushmen", but who are in fact of mixed ethnicity consisting of both "Bantu" and "Khoisan" speakers, out of the reserve was the result of a consultative process.
In accordance with our nation's longstanding commitment to democratic values, consultations with the residents over the relocation began back in 1985. This occurred after an official study confirmed that the residents of the Game Reserve had long abandoned a nomadic hunter gatherer way of life in favour of sedentary lifestyles involving livestock keeping, arable agriculture and hunting with traps, spears, dogs, and guns, on horseback and with motor vehicles.
The report further concluded that the post-independence development of permanent settlements in the Game Reserve coupled with the new hunting and herding activities of the residents were inconsistent with wildlife conservation. These findings were, moreover, consistent with what had already been reported by various independent researchers over many
It may be noted that it was only twelve years after the drafting of the
report that the actual relocation started when, in 1997, some 1739
residents finally agreed to relocate to the new settlements, which they
themselves had freely selected. These settlements are Kgoesakeni (New Xade), Kaudwane and Xere, which are all located just outside of the Game Reserves boundaries. The selection was based on, amongst other factors, the terrain and surrounding vegetation, which are similar to that found inside the Game Reserve.
It may be further noted that all of the people who have since relocated from the Game Reserve were paid full compensation for their properties and also assisted with vehicles to transport their belongings, which included livestock, to the new settlements. In addition, each family that relocated was also allocated livestock, either 5 head of cattle or 15 goats. Individuals, themselves, were given the opportunity to choose between cattle or goats.
With respect to the allegation being promoted by certain outside
opportunists that people were relocated from the Game Reserve in order to make way for mining, it should be noted that no such activity either currently exists or is anticipated. Should this situation, however,
ever change any resulting mining development would inevitably act as a magnet drawing people and infrastructure into, not out of, the Game Reserve. In this respect, your correspondent's statement that there are"rich veins of diamonds in the eastern portion of the reserve" is
certainly news to us, as well as those who have been prospecting in the area.
It is also perhaps worth noting that according to Botswana law, mineral rights in all instances remain the property of the state, irrespective of the ownership of the land on which they are found. Mines in our country are thus not subject to ownership claims from adjacent communities. This policy of placing the interests of the nation as a whole over that of individuals or tribes has ensured that all of our
citizens have a common stake, and enjoy common benefits, from our
mineral revenues. The income derived from such mines as do exist in our country, which are all located outside of the Game Reserve, have been used to provide free education and health facilities, as well as potable water, electricity and telecommunications for the benefit of all our citizens, including those living in the Central Kgalagadi.
Finally, we would wish to note that racial stereotypes about so-called
"Bushmen" as perpetuated in such Apartheid era fantasies as "The Gods Must Be Crazy" have little to do with either the historic or
contemporary reality of any segment of our population.
E &) Additional notices and forwarding from 20-26/6/05:
* "A Timely Departure" (21/6/05)
* "Africans complain of U.S. 'Red Tape'" (21/6/05)
* "AGOA: Promoting Trade and Prosperity in Africa" (21/6/05)