The year 2014 was a mixed bag of emotions for Botswana both politically and economically.
The Patriot on Sunday looks at the four best moments for the country.
Free and Fair Elections
In October this year the country held its general elections which was closely contested and very tense. There was lot of drama prior to the elections, with opposition parties worried that should the ruling party loses the elections they might not accept the elections. There were allegations of vote rigging and shortage of ballot papers which were threatening to cast doubt on the credibility of the elections. Some parliamentary and council candidates complained about political harassment and some claimed to have been tortured. The allegations attracted international media who descended into Botswana to see if the country will retain its status as the most peaceful country in Africa.
The death of Umbrella for Democratic Change Vice President, Gomolemo Motswaledi in a car accident three months before the elections fuelled more tensions. Some said it was not an accident but a political assassination.
Some feared that they country might follow other African countries and move towards civil war.
At the end Batswana showed that despite their political differences they are peace loving people and accepted the outcome of the elections. International observers hailed the country for conducting free and fair elections.
This was one of the greatest moments for the country, because Botswana lived up to its reputation of being a citadel of peace.
Judiciary independent from executive
As the country was still smarting from tense elections, the newly sworn in President, Lieutenant General Ian Khama put the nation in another emotion draining political situation. Through the Attorney General he took parliament to court seeking it to put aside amendment of standing orders on the election of the speaker and deputy speaker as well the endorsement of the Vice President.
President Khama also delayed to issue proclamation on the opening of the 11th session of parliament and swearing in of the newly elected Members of Parliament.
The case was threatening to reverse what the country has achieved over 45 years and the nation was confused not knowing what was going to happen to their dear country and their hopes were in the hands of the judiciary. The judiciary had the power to make or break the country but chose the latter.
The judicial system proved to be independent from the executive as they dismissed the case both at the high court and court of appeal. Government accepted the decision and the nation was in jubilation as it meant everything was going back to normality.
BCL wakes up from slumber
The BCL mine based in Selebi Phikwe has been a great concern to government as every year it has to be bailed out and threatened the existence of the town which was slowly becoming a ghost.
The company embarked on an ambitious strategy to turn around their fortunes through the POLARIS II and the architect of the system was the General Manager, Dan Mahupela.
This year, BCL Mine through BCL enterprises achieved some of their objectives by buying Pula Steel and Casting Manufacturers which will specialize on recycling steel and will be based in Phikwe. It is estimated the acquisition will create more than 2,500 jobs thus boosting the economy of Phikwe.
Recently the company also bought all the mining asserts of Norilsk Nickel Mining Company in South Africa and Botswana. They now own 50 percent equity shares at Nkomati Mine in South Africa and 100 percent at Tati Nickel Mine in Francistown.
Debswana’s 45 years of diamonds for development
Before the discovery of diamonds in Botswana, the country was one of the poorest countries in the world and its chances of survival were equal to none as they relied on beef import which by then was affected by drought.
In 1969 diamonds were discovered in Boteti area and this changed the economic landscape of the country. Government used them to push for development in the country. This year the company which is a joint venture between Botswana government and De Beers Company celebrated 45 years since the precious stones was discovered in the country.
Botswana’ major revenue comes from the mining sector especially diamonds and it was fitting that the country celebrated that milestone.