GABORONE – Following Namibia’s much-publicised unceremonious withdrawal from her planned joint bid with Botswana for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), New Era Sport caught up with various journalists in neighbouring Botswana – and this is what they had to share:
Dikarabo ‘DK’ Ramadubu, one of Botswana’s veteran journalists and former head of investigations at CBET Publishers – which publishes the Botswana Guardian and Midweek Sun newspapers, said as disappointing as it is, he sees nothing illogical about Namibia’s eleventh-hour withdrawal from the bid.
Ramadubu said just like any government would do, the Namibian government had to make a tough choice between spending money on the country’s most pressing needs within the various critical sectors of the economy or spending billions on a football tournament.
“To be honest and as painful as it is, I think there is nothing wrong with what the Namibian government did as far as their withdrawal from the bid is concerned. If anything, it is a classic example of looking at the balance of the state. In life, you cannot offer what you don’t have unless you risk going to prison. Namibia and Botswana are sister countries; they have worked together on so many great things, and they will continue working together,” he said.
“From day one, I think it was a well-thought-out decision for both countries to come together and put their resources together with the aim of hosting the 2027 Afcon. But also remember that this is taxpayers’ money, and it needs to be accounted for. So, it would have been reckless for the Namibian government to spend taxpayers’ money on something they can’t afford while other sectors of the economy are in need. You can’t spend money you don’t have – that’s not how things work. So, I see nothing wrong on the Namibian side.”
Another Botswana independent journalist, Kewaone Ntshonga, was, however, of the opinion that it was disappointing for Namibia to withdraw last minute from a major joint project, saying they could have communicated well in advance so that it makes room for a planned cancellation of the BONA project.
“I am disappointed with Namibia’s decision to withdraw, because not only was money invested in the process but the public’s feelings as well. Everyone had hope that Namibia together with Botswana was going to go all the way until the bid is submitted and all that needs to be done gets done, but only for Namibia to come out last minute and say they have withdrawn from the bidding partnership,” Ntshonga said.
This publication also spoke to Tuelo Serufho, who is the chief executive officer of the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), and he said the two countries will always remain sisters and will continue to hold hands in other future initiatives that have the potential to benefit both nations.
“We have not rested since that statement was put out by Namibia; we are running around day and night trying to come up with a plan B. But I can assure you that Namibia will always be our partner on all fronts of development, despite their decision on BONA. By next week, Botswana will put out a statement on the way forward,” he said.
Namibia’s sports minister Agnes Tjongarero a few weeks ago wrote to her Botswana counterpart, Tumiso Rakgare, to announce the country’s withdrawal from the bid due to budgetary constraints and a shift in priorities by the Namibian government, partly as a result of the looming drought.