The Youth Wing elections that were postponed last year, are billed to take place this year as pressure intensifies amongst candidates for the Chairmanship position.
So far two names have been brought forward being; Karabo Gomotsegang and Councillor Collen Mochotlhi, who will succeed current National Youth Executive Committee Chairman, Tati West Member of Parliament Simon Moabi Mavange, who is expected to step down. Gomotsegang is expected to battle it out against Councillor Mochotlhi, Secretary for the South Region and a full member of NYEC. According to sources, Gomotsegang who is a die-hard full member of the BDP is said to have President Masisi’s back and has since confirmed that indeed he endorsed him.
When responding to the allegations on this Gomotsegang said, “that would be my hope, but he hasn’t expressed that with me. Having been highly involved in the recruitment of the new members of the BDP, being an active member of the party and having had the opportunity to head the mandate of the party during the by-elections and the just ended general elections it would be a great honour to have the party’s back,’’ he clarified.
Unswerving sources to this publication have revealed that Mochotlhi, despite being highly involved in the party has conferred himself in to one faction that is rallying behind Shaw Kgathi, who has expressed interest in contesting for the Secretary General seat against incumbent Mpho Balopi. Mochotlhi is alleged to be endorsing Kgathi, a move which does not sit well with the President. Furthermore, it is alleged that the President has little or no hope in Mochotlhi, after once denying the party victory during by-elections when he was contesting against Elijah Fashion Katse, in Tlokweng Constituency.
Mixed signals amongst the youth members for the party are also allegedly making rounds as some young people are not fully in support of Mochotlhi contesting, they are of the view that because he already holds such positions he should give other interested candidates a chance. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) communications is alleged to be rallying behind Gomotsegang led by the Head of Communications, Kagelelo Banks Kentse and one Selwana Kesebonye.
When asked about this, Kentse denied the allegations stating that, “it will be unheard of and unfortunate to endorse either of the candidates that is not true. The decision on who will be triumphant lies solely on the young people of the party.” The young lad, Gomotsegang, explains that he believes that the past NYEC headed by Mavange did not do much in relation to addressing issues faced by young people. In an interview with this publication, Gomotsegang alleged that core issues like economic diversification, youth unemployment, helping the disabled have been totally forgotten by the current NYEC.
He further explained that BDP needs popular vote in terms of young people, “issues of drug abuse, unemployment, passion killings, and theft have become a cause for concern. Young people hide behind such hideous behaviour because they are broken and hopeless. I believe my party can revive the momentum of young people, it is vital because young people constitute a larger population.”
Gomotsegang is worried that there is not enough recreational activities hence a lot of idle minds that end up resorting to drug, crime and alcohol abuse, emphasizing that talents need to be unearthed from a young age, “young people need to explore their full potential, they need to be given priority, especially when it comes to youth development schemes. There should be equity when awarding funds for the youth.” Hopeful of victory, Gomotsegang vows to work extra hard in making sure that new initiatives that will embolden the spirit of self-reliance amongst the youth are moulded.
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.
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.