By Confidente Reporter
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob has hailed Namibia and Botswana as shining examples of “electoral democracy” stressing that it should be a model for other African countries to emulate.
“Namibia envies Botswana and sees Botswana as role model to emulate. Botswana has a well-established electoral democracy, with smooth succession between Presidents. Like in Namibia, former Presidents of Botswana have retired in dignity, and are respected in Botswana and in the continent,” Geingob told the Botswana Parliament during his official state visit which ended on Tuesday.
“This is one of the aspects of a New Africa where Botswana and Namibia are leading. We are setting the tone for an Africa where leaders don’t come through a coup … where former presidents are respected as in Botswana and Namibia. Botswana led the way and today, the AU ostracizes leaders that attempt to come to power through military coups,” he added.
“Not only does Botswana have sound democratic governance architecture with the lowest level of corruption on the African continent as measured by Transparency International, but you also have a well-managed economy,” he said.
Geingob also praised Botswana, saying the country is one of a handful of countries that can boast investment grade ratings by the international rating agencies such as Fitch and Moody. “You also have the highest import coverage of any country on the continent and one of the highest in the world. Moreover, your growth trajectory over the past four decades has been phenomenal. Luckily enough you are our neighbour otherwise based on your growth trajectory alone, one could easily have mistaken you for one of the South East Asian Tigers. The prudent and disciplined way in which you have managed your economy has paid off. Fixed capital formation has been phenomenal and one can safely say that the Botswana of today and the Botswana at independence are miles apart. “
“Forever gone are the days that Gaborone was referred to as a cattle post,” he said.
The President said Namibia and Botswana have deep relationship which “transcends a good neighborly relationship, as our two peoples are tied by blood thereby making us brothers and sisters in the House we call Africa.”
He said Botswana had always been a refuge or a safe haven for the Namibian people who fled from oppression.
Geingob revealed how during the liberation struggle, SWAPO party had a secretive office that gathered and disseminated important intelligence information to Namibian freedom fighter using Botswana as base.
“I personally once came from Zambia, where I was based to Botswana to meet Comrade Ipumbu our Namibian representative in Botswana.
“In 1963 I had a near death experience in Francistown, when a plane chartered by the African National Congress that I was scheduled to take to Dar es Salaam was bombed. The plane was blown up when it was still on the ground, because the bomb went off prematurely. Since the South African regime then restricted movement via the underground rail in Botswana, I ended up staying longer, representing SWAPO between 1962 to 63,” Geingob said.
He said Botswana was often the first point of entry for many Namibians who wanted to escape the brutal South African occupation.
“We were also recruiting the first People’s Liberation Army of Namibia [PLAN] freedom fighters in Botswana”
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