The newly elected President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has re-affirmed the promises he made during campaigning, promising to do whatever necessary to turn around Botswana’s fortunes. When giving acceptance speech after being sworn in for the second time, as Botswana’s fifth President, he said job creation remains a priority.
Masisi in prioritising job creation, his government will ensure the creation of meaningful and sustainable jobs by promoting public private partnerships with local and foreign investors in some of the key sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing, electronics, pharmaceuticals as well as research and development amongst others. “Through these sectors as well as the arts, the creative industry and sports, there is enormous potential for the creation of thousands of jobs for Batswana,” he said.
Masisi, who first became President in April 2018, said his government is also in negotiations with Forbes to host the 2020 Under 30 Summit in Gaborone, as part of the President’s Initiative. It will be the first time that the Forbes Under-30 Summit will be held in Africa. “The event brings together at least six hundred of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs and game changers. They will be 200 Africa best, 200 World Best and Botswana Best,” Masisi indicated.
“The Summit presents yet another opportunity not only for the young entrepreneurs in Botswana to learn from others and grow their businesses but also explore more ways to creating jobs for the youth.” Initiatives such as these, according to Masisi, are aimed at producing commercially viable and high value products and services, targeted at the export market.
“I say this cognisant of the fact that, creating a conducive and enabling environment for the private sector to grow is key to our economic transformation and growth. This will be underpinned by Government’s facilitation through the ease of doing business reforms,” he stated. He said a number of policy and legislative reforms that have been introduced, were primarily aimed at creating a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive and grow.
Government will furthermore leverage on the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), Masisi said to give citizens an opportunity to set up industries to empower them and in turn create the much needed jobs for our people. “In order to implement our economic diversification and the citizen economic empowerment initiatives, Government will enact legislation to enforce compliance by relevant institutions including the private sector,” he said.
“This is why I am happy to announce that the EDD strategy is being reviewed to close the existing gaps and help us to achieve in full, the goals of the Citizen Economic Empowerment Programme.” Masisi has also made remarks on corruption, a subject which formed core of his campaign message during the battle for power. “We cannot hope to improve service delivery nor achieve any of our national objectives if our institutional frameworks are not robust, transparent, accountable and free from corruption.
“I have fought against the menace of corruption since ascending to the Presidency and it is my intention to continue to do so. I therefore wish to emphasise that my Government will put in place measures and mechanisms, through the application of best practices of good governance to ensure that corruption is defeated.” Masisi said following the passing of law on Declaration of Assets and Liabilities will result in the creation of Ethics and Integrity Directorate is being established.
“In the same vein, I would like to reiterate that I am committed to the rule of law in this country, as that would enhance confidence and send message to all of us that the law must be abided or face consequences of non-compliance,” he affirmed. He said as part of his Government’s efforts to deepen the spirit of therisanyo, Government is committed to a comprehensive review of Botswana’s Constitution which will take stock of the changed social, political and economic landscape over the last fifty three years.
“The engagements and consultations necessary to start the ball rolling will be initiated soon after the full formation of my government. I remain resolute in my commitment to create a more inclusive Botswana,” he said. Masisi, who is expected to appoint his cabinet on Tuesday, also indicated that Botswana has experienced high incidences of human-wildlife conflict particularly relating to elephants due to their significant increase in population.
“This largely reflects the success of our conservation strategies, where for example, approximately 40 percent of Botswana’s land mass in the form of national parks, game reserves and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), is currently set aside for wildlife conservation,” he said. “However, despite this land reservation, elephant population has increased beyond the capacity of the game reserves to encroach into human settlement areas and hence the conflict.
“My government nevertheless, will continue to commit to outcomes that will set the tone for conserving and managing our wildlife, and elephants in particular, while ensuring that we achieve sustainable benefits through their contribution to rural livelihoods and tourism growth. Citizens will play more meaningful and economically empowering role as we diversify our tourism base,” he said. Masisi also committed to transform education, improve health, maintaining a good foreign policy as well as fighting violence against women and children.
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.