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Govt throws out Dikgosi demands

Government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has thrown out of the window the piercing demands submitted by Dikgosi from the last Bogosi Pitso. Government says the demands by the traditional leaders cannot be entertained as they require a lot of resources.

The requests by Dikgosi were led by Chairman of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi (NYD) Kgosi Puso Gaborone, who bluntly told the then Assistant Minister Kgotla Autlwetse that they want a ministry that would specifically address issues of Bogosi and culture. The request was following a trail of others the traditional leaders asked for especially with respect to their powers. “Merero (consultations) should be under one roof; culture should be taken to where Bogosi is. I am advocating for one thing; Ministry of Bogosi and Traditional Affairs,” Kgosi Gaborone said at the Pitso.

Following that meeting, in which the government officials including Ministers gave Dikgosi confidence that their demands will be implemented, it is now appearing to be a far-fetched dream. “The establishment of the Ministry requires resources both manpower and budget,” Ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS) Boipolelo Khumomatlhare said. He continued; “The prerogative for creation and abolition of offices, inclusive of ministries, rests solely on the President as per the constitution,” he said when asked about the implementation of the demands.

While Dikgosi are now left in limbo and chances of their demands being put in place slowly evaporating, the Ministry through the Department of Tribal Administration will carry out an assessment of tribal administration. This will be aimed at determining whether the department is feasible as it is or it will need to be upgraded to a Directorate position or to be a stand-alone ministry considering its magnitude.

“The study recommendations will assist on the way forward on the proposed matter. DPSM on the other hand is also looking into different mandates of Ministries with a view of rationalizing. The two exercises need to be completed before submissions can be made on the establishment of a Ministry,” Khumomatlhare responded to WeekendPost enquiry.

Late last year there was to be another Pitso in Francistown, which was cancelled last minute. It was at that meeting where the new Minister, Eric Molale was expected to share with Dikgosi how far the government is regarding their requests. The meeting is still in the pipeline and it is anticipated before April this year.

Chairman Kgosi Gaborone was not available to comment on these matters this week as his phone rang unanswered. However, Kgosi Kebinatshwene Mosielele had this to say; “We submitted our demands to the government and we expected to meet Minister Molale about them late last year but we could not as the meeting was postponed. So we are waiting to meet him so that he can give answers as to whether our requests will see the light of the day or what. We will take it from there.”

Another Dikgosi plea to the government was to scrap off some sections of Bogosi act. Among those is section 15, which is focused on withdrawal of recognition of Kgosi by a Minister. It reads in part: ‘the Minister may caution or reprimand the Kgosi; order the stoppage of increment of the salary of the Kgosi; suspend the Kgosi; if he or she considers it to be expedient and in the interest of peace, good order and good governance, depose such Kgosi or extend the suspension for a period not exceeding two years.’

Government on the other hand is diverging with Dikgosi on this one. “Whereas these sentiments have been expressed by Dikgosi in the present scheme of things, the sections are likely to be retained as they are there as a regulatory mechanism to ensure ethical conduct on the part of Dikgosi,” said the PS. It is however noted that Bogosi Act of 2008 is currently under review and consultations on the issues raised will be done with relevant stakeholders.  

The last Kgosi to be de-recognized was Kgosi Kgafela of Bakgatla in 2011. Kgosi Seepapitso IV in 1994 was once suspended and government withheld fifty percent of his salary as a Chief, these Dikgosi do not want to see this happen again hence vehement advocacy to scrap the sections calling for de-recognition. Dikgosi have also spoken in one voice that they need security equivalent to those given to judges as they do the same toil of solving disputes.

Private and personal secretaries must also be availed to the leaders to do their job diligently, they concurred. The government has also thrown these demands into the dustbin, as it is not sustainable. “The total number of Dikgosi in the country is 670 excluding Headman of Arbitration (Bo-Ralekgotla). The provision of security for Dikgosi may not be sustainable. It should also be noted that the current terms and conditions of Dikgosi employment has no provision for security. In case that Dikgosi might be in danger when presiding over cases, Botswana Police Service are present to render security,” Permanent Secretary Khumomatlhare explicitly said.

The government has also maintained that the terms and conditions of employment have no provision for personal secretaries. However, it is said there are Court Clerks in customary courts who provide secretarial service to Dikgosi. Dikgosi are also speaking in one voice to have state of the art Kgotla Offices and are also demanding same automobiles like the ones used by Ministers. The 2018 Pitso was aimed at drafting the five year strategy for Dikgosi, before then the last meeting was in 2015.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021

Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.

Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”

Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”

The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.

“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.

Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.

Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.

Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.

Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”

In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”

Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.

“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.

Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.

Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.

He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”

Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.

“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.

One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.

A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.

Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021

A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.” 

Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.

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