Members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi this week moved swiftly to neutralize the north/south rhetoric threatening to divide the country when electing the leadership of the House.On their first day of the 4th sitting of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi following the country’s recent general elections which almost sliced and diced the country between north and the south which pundits say threaten to disturb the peace and stability known to Botswana, dikgosi clinched to unity.
The elections saw most part of the South rooting for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Party (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives winning patches of most constituencies in the north part of the country. To move away from such move, dikgosi this week counterbalanced their leadership during the election of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson on the opening day whereby they also took oath or affirmation of allegiance.
The Ntlo Ya Dikgosi Chairmanship contest was dominated by Southerners dikgosi being paramount Chiefs: Kgari Sechele of Bakwena; Tlokweng’s Puso Gaborone as well as Malope Gaseitsiwe II of the Bangwaketse. In the election, the members settled for Kgosi Gaborone with a whopping 16 votes’ against Malope’s 11 while Sechele trailed behind with 6 votes – out of the 34 cast.
Following the announcement of the results, Balete paramount Chief Mosadi Seboko stood up to persuade the house to nominate and vote for Kgosi Tshipe Tshipe of Mahalapye region who would later thrash Moeti Monyamane by 18 to 13 votes to secure the Vice Chairmanship position. Previously, both Chairmanship and Vice Chairmanship portfolios has been held by Puso Gaborone sand Malope Gaseitsiwe.
Speaking after his election, the new Chairperson of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi Gaborone said Batswana should lick old wounds and move forward. “We wish to work together to unite as a nation. Because we only have one country, one Botswana. So I pray for this leadership to find a common ground,” he stated. He continued to point out that they wish dikgosi should be part of the much talked about constitutional review as there is need for it.
“As Ntlo Ya Dikgosi we want to make contribution on constitutional review and to ensure that bogosi becomes relevant. The government has stated its intention and it seems is committed to the review of the supreme law. The House embraces this exercise. We also wish to take part in the exercise. The review is crucial to modernize our laws to today’s standards and demands,” Gaborone added.
When advocating for changes in the constitution, the Chairman also added that there is need to rope in a Counsel and beef up security in the laws of the House of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi. “Some of the amendments include the inclusion of the Parliamentary Counsel in the rules of procedure as well as security in the Chambers,” he highlighted. According to Gaborone, his new agenda is to enable House to amend the rules to enable the President Mokgweetsi Masisi to address the House annually.
“Part of the amendments include allowing special dignitaries or guests or visiting delegations, to allow this Honourable House,” he added. As part of his new agenda he also explained that they have Committees in Ntlo Ya Dikgosi which must resuscitated. A Political Analyst at the University of Botswana also observed and concurred that during the recent Ntlo Ya Dikgosi election you could see that there was an element of north/south divide which the members tried to counteract.
“The way they chose their Chair from South and their Vice Chair from north was calculative and I commend them,” he emphaised. He said Ntlo Ya Dikgosi is however just a toothless body with no powers since dikgosi moved to politics. “It’s so unfortunate that dikgosi decided to join politics. Then politics suppressed bogosi as their powers were taken. The power of dikgosi to allocate land was very key. It was taken to the Land boards and so they don’t have powers on land and many other things as they used to be,” he stated.
The academic also asserted that other tribes should be recognized. He continued: “it is clear that other tribes have been swallowed by the so called major tribes as prescribed in the constitution and this should be reviewed.” He stated that we need to acknowledge that when the country was established, bogosi was the backbone unlike now.
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.