President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi this morning made an impassioned plea that he did not seek the Presidency of this country for reasons of ruling by decree. Speaking before a special sitting of parliament the president said, "I did not campaign for election as President of this celebrated democracy for me to erode civil liberties upon coming into office.”
He further said he not dream of leading this “proud and beloved nation, by diminishing its values of freedom and other enshrined rights that have made us the unique nation that we are". The Special Parliament Meeting is convened at Boipudo Hall to seek endorsement of a six-month State of Public Emergency to deal specifically with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masisi was responding to concerns that under the State of Public Emergency he is likely to abuse his powers. He said it is in this spirit that he intends using the declaration of the State of Public Emergency, solely for the purpose of "protecting our people against the decimating potentials" of the Novel COVID-19 virus. Masisi said he has no doubt that MPs and the public will take comfort in the country's system of checks and balances embedded in the constitution. He told Parliament that there are choices and opportunities to see the country through this pandemic.
"At the same time we can choose to be complacent but a responsible Government like ours will choose to take the pandemic head-on," said the president. The president told parliament that it is a "bizarre paradigm of circumstances" that a Head of State of a renowned democracy, should find himself in the "paradoxical cul de sac" of seeking to curtail individual freedoms rather than work more towards enhancing the liberties of his people.
"But such is the unenviable position that I find myself in, due to the equally bizarre circumstances of a topsy-turvy phenomenon that has shrunk the world into a besieged global village," he said. Debates on the issue continue before parliament this afternoon.