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Office of the President (OP)
Botswana's stability based on the Rule of Law
08/06/11

The Government of Botswana is of the view that the ongoing, heretofore legal and peaceful, strike action by a segment of public service workers in our country has been a testament to the fact that, notwithstanding their natural differences, the overwhelming majority of our citizens remain united in their respect for each other and the rule of law.

In this context we are disappointed by a recent report circulated by the South African Press Association (SAPA) and  Agence France Presse (AFP), which suggested that our internationally renowned record of political stability is under threat.
 
We wish to remind media stakeholders that, despite the excitable talk of a few, our country has never been a North African dictatorship. We are rather a country that has democratically governed itself for decades, even when then minority ruled regimes on our borders sought to destabilize us.

To put it bluntly Botswana is a nation used to meeting its challenges by upholding its own time honoured principles of good governance based on mutual respect.

We would also note that strikes can occur in the life in any democracy, which is why our country has appropriate laws and mechanisms in place for managing such circumstance, that are moreover fully consistent with relevant ILO protocols.

We further wish to challenge the contention that public services in our country have ground to a halt. The fact of the matter is that since the beginning of the strike a large majority of public service workers have chosen to remain on duty. Our border, health facilities and schools, as well as government offices are open. This is not, however, to say or imply that the strike has not had an impact where workers have absented themselves. 

Finally it is unfortunate that the author of the SAPA/AFP report in question seemingly chose to source information exclusively from striking unions and individual members of the political opposition (a lone comment posted on the ruling party's Facebook wall hardly counts as balance in our view). More to the point, we are unaware of any attempt to approach this Government for comment before the filing the said report.

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