- Says they are of no benefit to the economy
- Reveals that President Masisi is opposed to willing businesses
vaccinating their own employees
- Office of the President denies that it is opposed to private sector
Most COVID-19 interventions so far have been of no benefit to the country and its economy, the president of Business Botswana, Gobusamang Keebine, has said. Briefing journalists in Gaborone yesterday, Keebine asserted that most decisions taken at a high level do not reflect what was agreed by the COVID-19 Task Force collective. “In some instances, the decisions differ completely from what was agreed,” Keebine, who is the voice of the private sector, said.
Significantly, he spoke against the controversial State of Public Emergency, saying it is mainly imposed for “control”. Keebine confirmed that there are often serious disagreements between the team of mainly health experts and other professionals
in the Dr Kereng Masupu-led Task Force and the Ministry of Health and Wellness,
with President Mokgweetsi Masisi caught between the two.
The disagreements go back a long way in an internecine squabbling in which the ministry holds that the country can do without the COVID-19 Task Force while the latter dismisses this as an uninformed view of jealous bureaucrats. At the press briefing, Keebine disclosed
that while certain players in the private sector are willing to vaccinate their employees
and their families as well as communities in which they operate, President Masisi is strongly opposed to this because he believes it would disrupt the government’s vaccine rollout strategy. Many governments around the world have also opposed this idea for fear that it could become a race between rich and poor in which the poor would come last.
But Keebine cautioned that with the government’s current rollout pace, vaccination of Batswana could run well into 2022 and warned that administration of the second dose could become a problematic issue.
However, The Office of the President has denied the allegations that it is impeding private sector roll out of the vaccine.
“The Office of the President wishes to inform that contrary to media statements attributed to the leadership of Business Botswana, His Excellency the President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi is NOT opposed to the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine by the private sector.
As a matter of fact, and as evidenced by minutes of the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force meetings chaired by His Excellency the President, and in which the President of Business Botswana, Mr Gobusamang Keebine is a member, the private sector has never raised the issue at such meetings,” reads a statement issued by the presidency on Tuesday evening.