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Rosebell is a multimedia communications specialist, journalist and award-winning blogger with experience in gender, peace and conflict. Currently works on public interest litigation for gender justice with focus on Latin America -Africa learning. Rosebell holds a Masters in media, peace and conflict studies from the University for Peace in Costa Rica. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
If you have not followed events in Uganda over the past months, you might not grasp the full extent the joy recent news from Botswana brings. Basically we have have had one president for the last 31 years and he will soon be 75 years, the age beyond which you cannot contest for the highest office in Uganda. This is the law enshrined in our 22-year-old constitution, which a younger President Yoweri Museveni helped formulate after taking over power in a coup in 1986.
But after a fraudulent election into his third decade last year, Museveni is not taking anything for granted. With his support assuredly slipping away and a demographic challenge, he is seeking to impose himself in the nation using his elite military unit, which his son has helped build over the years. So a proposal to amend the constitution and let Museveni run again — not next year but in 2021 — has met stiff opposition across the nation. Military and increased police deployment to suppress protest is ongoing.
So when a few days ago it was announced that President Ian Khama will step down as president in April next year, this evoked praise from many. At a time when we are facing a political quagmire in Kenya, where a presidential election was annulled and the re-run the incumbent got 98 percent, you understand why we are jubilant. In Rwanda, the president also won 99 percent in August this year. With all this political uncertainty surrounding us, Botswana's president decision reasserts the country's long-committed journey to a healthy stability.
"Five months from now I shall be passing the baton of leadership of this great country into the very capable hands of VP Mokgweetsi Masisi. While we will undoubtedly continue to confront significant challenges, when we place the interests of Botswana first we shall find the strength to overcome all obstacles," President Khama said.
Botswana is the world's largest producer of diamonds and this transformed it into a middle-income nation.