29 July 2014

Botswana: Rebuttal - Mosu Homes for the President

press release

GOVERNMENT HAS NOT CONSTRUCTED HOMES FOR THE PRESIDENT FAMILY OR FRIENDS AT MOSU. For the record, the Office of the President wishes to once more reassure the public that neither the BDF nor anyone else in Government has been involved in the construction of the homes of either H.E. the President, members of his family, or anyone else at the Khama family compound outside of Mosu. This Office finds it necessary to reiterate this fact in the light of a front page article that appeared in the latest (26/7/14) edition of the Weekend Post newspaper, which seeks to revive the false and previously discredited allegation of BDF involvement in the building of private homes.

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT - For the record, the Office of the President wishes to once more reassure the public that neither the BDF nor anyone else in Government has been involved in the construction of the homes of either H.E. the President, members of his family, or anyone else at the Khama family compound outside of Mosu.

This Office finds it necessary to reiterate this fact in the light of a front page article that appeared in the latest (26/7/14) edition of the Weekend Post newspaper, which seeks to revive the false and previously discredited allegation of BDF involvement in the building of private homes. It is a matter of public record that this Office had promptly dismissed similar allegations when they appeared in the Botswana Guardian newspaper last year (25/10/14), e.g. in a widely circulated (30/10/14) statement affirming that: "The President's house is a single bedroom cottage with a kitchen and a sitting room, while his brothers between them have a two bedroom cottage and a single room chalet.

There is also an additional single room chalet at the compound. During all phases of the construction undertaken at the compound, that is on the homes of H.E. the President, his brothers and the guest chalet, no Government personnel were engaged. Neither was any government money spent on the structures." At that time we also facilitated the release of further details behind the construction of the family homes, including the identity of the private contractor. For purposes of clarity, we further recall that prior to the Guardian's false allegations this Office along with the BDF had confirmed that the BDF was engaged in the construction of an airstrip adjacent to the compound, e.g. as was communicated by this Office to the Sunday Standard newspaper on the 17th of September 2013: "It is indeed true that the BDF is constructing a landing strip near Mosu for His Excellency the President. The construction of this airstrip is to facilitate the air movements of His Excellency the President.

As part of the rights and privileges of the President of the Republic of Botswana his travel and security are provided by the State...In case of Mosu airstrip this is also going to form part of the Makgadikgadi Pans Management Plan and will be used by both tourists and official aircraft that is operating in that area as is envisaged to be registered with CAAB." In mentioning the above, we are mindful of the sad fact that some both in and outside of the media have since sought to confuse the public works issue of the airstrip with the entirely private construction of the homes. Finally, we can only hope that the falsehoods contained in the Weekend Post report are a product of an editorial lapse that shall be promptly corrected.

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