Gaborone — President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the visit to Lesotho was fruitful and has afforded Botswana and Lesotho opportunity to renew bonds of friendship.
In an interview upon arrival from a one-day working visit to Lesotho on April 30, President Masisi said the visit was also meant to renew bilateral relations and rejuvenate holding of the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation by the two countries to be held in Botswana later this year. "King Letsie III had gratifying words and expressed that Botswana should keep close to Lesotho as we are among the countries most trusted by her," he said.
He said Lesotho Prime Minister, Dr Thomas Thabane acceded to his request to support Gaborone Central MP, Dr Phenyo Butale in his candidature for the Pan African Parliament (PAP) presidency.
"I made it a point to them that Dr Butale is from the opposition and we wished them to live like we do with our opposition, which we value as foundation for our democratic dispensation," he said.
Dr Butale was part of President Masisi's entourage to Lesotho because the President wanted to introduce him and ask for support for his PAP presidency campaign.
For his part, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Shaw Kgathi said in the past few years, Lesotho was in unrest and Botswana's Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi led the SADC Commission of Inquiry to probe and institute some reforms to find measures to improve the situation.
He also said Lesotho was looking forward to learning from Botswana and cooperate in areas of defence and security because they believed in Botswana's political stability.
Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Vincent Seretse said the Lesotho and Botswana JPCC would guide the two governments on how to broaden the scope of their future engagements.
"As from August, different departments would engage so that we pave way for the upcoming JPCC," he said. Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Mr Eric Molale said Lesotho would learn from Botswana ethical aspects of extraction of diamonds.
"We have worked with them, they are already compliant to the process and we are only waiting for them to decide to join us here at the aggregation centre in Gaborone," he said.
Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Mr Kefentse Mzwinila said they were able to engage on discussions around water issues through the Orange-Senqu River Commission negotiated by a commission of four countries, which include Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
"Our goal is to develop negotiations that in a near future, we start implementation of the project. We envisage to pump around 150 million cubic metres of water on annual basis from Lesotho," he said.
He said the project required a lot of discussions between the four countries, adding, 'currently a feasibility study is being conducted in terms of project duration, costs and how the four countries can proceed with it as the objective of Botswana government was to have long term water security."
Source : BOPA