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SA forensic company calls for re-run of Botswana elections

A South African forensic investigator has called for a re-run of Botswana 2019 elections following rigging claims. Speaking in Johannesburg, South Africa during a press briefing the investigator Paul O’ Sullivan advised Botswana opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko to carry an independent audit of the just ended elections.

“Our recommendations to Advocate Boko is that there needs to be a proper independent audit of the elections and it needs to be formed urgently,” he stated. He cautioned that the audit itself should be properly overseen by an independent body, somebody that has no interest in the outcome of the audit. “We saying if our findings are confirmed by the audit, and we expect the findings to be confirmed by the audit, the results of the elections should be nullified and criminal charges preferred against the leadership of the BDP for engaging in election rigging,” the auditor pointed out.  

He insisted that the new elections should then take place with a proper oversight and the full use of electoral voting paint at all stations. Apart from the leadership of the BDP, Sullivan observed that there were other persons involved like the DISS and they need to be investigated to see what role they played, how he cash was withdrawn, and moved, and criminal sanctions should be applied against all of them, and those involved in vote rigging process should be allowed to participate in a new election that will replace the outcome of the existing election results.

“This should be all proven by an independent audit if what’s gone on in Botswana and we are hoping of this investigation and the court cases which Boko is launching today,” he added. According to the auditor, the cases will force the hand of the government and perhaps the citizens of the country who were involved in assisting in vote rigging to take a leave out of the book of the witnesses that were involved to come forward to confess that they realised what they have been involved in and that it was wrong and needs to be rectified.

Meanwhile when asked by an SA journalist if rigging only took place in constituencies that the UDC have lost and not others, UDC President Duma Boko said rigging took place in all the constituencies even those that his party won. “There was rigging right across Botswana. It differed only in scale. In certain instances there seems to have been a pattern which was to target certain constituencies mainly in southern parts of the country. Even though there was rigging in other constituencies it was not as massive as what took place in the other areas. And so in those constituencies where we won, we won in spite of the rigging, and the irregularities that were in those constituencies,” he said.  

According to the former Gaborone Bonnington North legislator, in the areas where the UDC lost, it was outrageous and shocking. “Areas where the BDP had lost consistently over the years and all of a sudden the margin were 7 000. It’s an outrageous outcome, where the opposition has controlled the majority of Councils seats and the BDP suddenly wins all the Council seats with astonishing margins. There is something seriously wrong here. So, we say in a word that there was massive rigging in the Southern parts of the country but that rigging was all over the country,” Boko insisted.

When the same journalist asked Boko why are he is holding the press conference in South Africa and not Botswana he said the team doing forensic is based in the country so it was easier to do the presser on their side. “Firstly is because the forensic team, the team that was doing the investigations is based here in SA. The second is we could not bring them over to Botswana because of the over bearing involvement of the DISS – these are the law unto themselves in Botswana – they can arrest for any and no reason, and detain at will,” he justified.

And so, he added, “when you are dealing with a rogue institution that gets in matters that do not concern it, that deserves the institution of by law they are supposed to be operating in particular spaces then you have a situation where you can’t take chances. We can’t expose our team at this stage, to harassment.”

Boko also attacked the media of being captured

The third point why he held a press conference in SA, he said is, in the lead up to elections, they saw that the BDP in addition to purchasing and deploying cash to buy voters, had also bought the press. “Some of the main publications in Botswana, the Sunday Standard, a Sunday newspaper has been at the fore front of running a smear campaign against me in particular and the opposition in general,” he observed.  

The UDC leader also mentioned that no paper has been printing Public Relations front for the BDP like another newspaper called The Patriot on Sunday newspaper which was also involved in the matter. “So when you invite a captured Press in a small country like Botswana and you want them to tell your story, in fact you want them to tell this story, not necessarily your story but report accurately and fairly, if you expect to get some of these reports from the publications, then your expectations are terribly misplaced,” he maintained.  

So the ex-leader of opposition stressed that it’s better to deal with press that they believe is ethically, untainted and uncompromised and uncaptured as they expect them to tell the story as accurately as they can and not to favour anybody but to speak the truth. “And we cannot expect that from the bulk of the press in Botswana,” he emphasized. Following Boko’s comment, the forensic auditor Sullivan also added that Botswana, for it to be able to address the world, is very unlikely as they may not get the amount of attention needed on this hence why they opted for SA presser.

He also revealed that “I can also inform you as a results of what we found, we have already notified of our government, the SA government, I have already had meetings and I have passed the documentation to the government to be aware of the fact that our neighbour is being run by an illegitimate government.”

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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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