Local time: Wednesday, 18 October 2017 22:15:07hrs
I am looking for: 

Office of the President (OP)
Mmegi articles malicious and deceitful
05/08/11

Mmegi claims about so-called “Africom report” are malicious and deceitful; NGO risk analysis predicts Botswana will continue to be “widely regarded as a model for the continent”

The Government of Botswana notes deep concern and serious dismay a series of articles published in today’s (29/7/11) edition of Mmegi, which claim to be variously based on:

• “US Government intelligence report” (p.6) • “the Africom report” (p. 6, 8, B3) • “A report by US-Africa Command (Africom)”
• “A recent intelligence report compiled by US-Africa Command” 
• “A US Intelligence report for June 2011. The report was compiled by US-Africa Command (Africom...” (p. B3)

All of the above claims are untrue. The report in question – “Botswana: Assessing Risks to Stability” - is not an official, much less intelligence report.

It is rather one of a series of academic monographs, freely published online at the time of their release (7/7/11), by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington D.C. based NGO.

As the report’s front-piece, moreover, affirms: “CSIS does not take specific policy positions; accordingly, all views expressed herein should be understood to be solely those of the author (s)”.

Here we would note that the monograph’s author is a British academic, Dr. David Troup (PhD. in African History).

Its views do not, therefore, necessarily reflect those of Africom or any other organisation. In this respect it is our understanding that Africom’s only link to the report was its sponsorship of the monograph series.

This assessment is further supported press release issued today by the US Embassy, which also confirms that:

“A June 2011 report by a private, non-profit research organization, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has been inaccurately characterized by local media as an official report that presents U.S. Government policy and thinking with regard to Botswana. The report is titled “A Report of the CSIS Africa Program: Botswana – Assessing Risks to Stability.” Articles in the July 29 edition of the Mmegi Newspaper mistakenly attribute the findings in the CSIS report to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). While AFRICOM commissioned the report on Botswana, along with nine other countries, the findings presented in the CSIS report are attributable to CSIS only and do not represent the official views of the United States Government.”
 
[Full US Embassy Press Release reproduced below]

Further to the above, and in the context of Mmegi’s blatantly misleading cherry picking of critical perspectives contained in the report, as well as the report’s own focus as a risk assessment on examining “worst case scenarios”, Government is pleased to here quote the CSIS report’s conclusion in its entirety, which is clearly inconsistent with Mmegi deliberately misleading claims, e.g.  “Botswana’s prosperity and tranquillity are fragile – US report””:

CSIS Report Conclusion (full text)

“Botswana is quite unlike any other African state. It is essentially a rentier state that is dependent on its mineral wealth. But unlike most African rentier states, its revenue from diamonds has been well spent on improving the road network, providing schools and health clinics, boreholes and barbed wire, and an extensive network of social services and short-term employment-generating activities. GDP per capita is now 100 times higher than it was at independence. This is a real achievement. An arid, poverty stricken, landlocked state has been turned into one of the wealthiest societies on the African continent.

“Moreover Botswana is a true nation, endowed with a strong sense of pride in its achievements, rather than a state without political legitimacy. By virtually any criteria, Botswana has been well ruled for the past 45 years. Democracy and open political debate are firmly entrenched and defended, and it is not riven by ethnic or sectarian cleavages.

“In comparison with other countries in this study, this places Botswana in a fortunate circumstance. Under normal circumstances, few indicators suggest that the current development strategy will not work for the next 10 years. Growth will continue.

“Botswana is widely regarded as a model for the continent. It will not implode or even face serious problems. There are few politically and virtually no ethnic pressures posing serious challenge within that time frame. But over a longer period, Botswana will have to grapple with serious social difficulties and make fundamental economic decisions. The tried-and-test development paradigm is coming to an end of its utility. A new, micro-economic, job-generating approach is essential. Without it, disaster lies ahead, but not until the 2020s or 2030s or, if Botswana is lucky, the 2040s – and by then the world will have been transformed and the day of reckoning may never come.”

Annex:

Please find below -

US Embassy Gaborone PRESS RELEASE: Research Organization Report Findings Inaccurately Attributed to the United States Government

A June 2011 report by a private, non-profit research organization, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has been inaccurately characterized by local media as an official report that presents U.S. Government policy and thinking with regard to Botswana. The report is titled “A Report of the CSIS Africa Program: Botswana – Assessing Risks to Stability.” Articles in the July 29 edition of the Mmegi Newspaper mistakenly attribute the findings in the CSIS report to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). While AFRICOM commissioned the report on Botswana, along with nine other countries, the findings presented in the CSIS report are attributable to CSIS only and do not represent the official views of the United States Government.

“Think tanks” like CSIS are regularly commissioned by U.S. Government entities to conduct research that may or may not be used to inform government policy. The think tanks are free to draw their own conclusions and to publish them without interference from the sponsoring entity – in this case the U.S. Government.

The U.S. Government continues to value our excellent relationship with the Government of Botswana and looks forward to making it even stronger.

 

Printable version
Copyright © 2011 Government of Botswana. All rights reserved.