President Mokgweetsi Masisi is not taking questions relating to the vaccine acquisition offer made by former president Ian Khama through his recently launched Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) the SKI Khama Foundation.
In order to establish the position of the government regarding the offer, The Business Weekly & Review sent an enquiry to the Press Secretary to the President, Leagajang, who dilly-dallied before saying he would not respond to the set of questions as the “OP doesn’t deal with such issues”.
The Business Weekly & Review had wanted to establish if the OP had indeed been contacted by the SKI Khama Foundation and whether it would consider the offer, given the slow arrival of vaccines in Botswana. Responding through WhatsApp, Leagajang noted: “Vaccine procurement is done by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.”
Even so, contrary to Leagajang’s view, this publication has it on good authority that procurement of vaccines was moved from MoH to OP in 2020 for easy facilitation.
Pressed further, Leagajang responded: “OP is telling you that it doesn’t deal with such issues. Just because you have sent something to OP doesn’t mean we are obliged to address it.”
But the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoH) has confirmed being contacted by the SKI Foundation. “The Ministry is in the process of responding to the communication in question and will share its position with the foundation,” the ministry’s Chief Public Relations Officer, Christopher Nyanga, said. “It would therefore not be proper for the ministry to respond to the foundation through third parties.
The announcement by the newly-formed NGO has resulted in divided opinion regarding the matter. Views range from condemnation of the so-called deal as a scam to the offer being held aloft as noble gesture from Masisi’s predecessor.
The announcement is considered by many as the latest in a series of political stunts by Khama to discredit President Masisi.
Earlier this week, a press release signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SKI Khama Foundation, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, said the new-fangled organisation had secured two million doses each of Oxford-Astra-Zeneca and Pfyzer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for Botswana through its network of international partners.
SKI Khama Foundation said it was able to secure the vaccines through a certain KKM Global Group which it reported as having made several COVID-19 supplies to several governments in the Middle East and the US.
Khama foundation said the vaccines would be accessed immediately upon submission of a purchase order and end-user-certificate, which fall squarely within the responsibility of governments in terms of vaccine acquisition protocols.
SKI Foundation said the offer was available for only “five business days.”