Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has expressed regret that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership has resolved to keep quiet when his father, Sir Seretse Khama — who is the founder of the party — was ‘insulted’.
Responding to some comments that were uttered by Sefhare- Ramokgonami Member of Parliament (MP) Dorcas Makgato at Chadibe village during a political party rally recently, Khama said they are angry as a family and disappointed in someone of Makgato’s position to insult their parents. “At the moment I can understand TK’s [Tshekedi Khama] frustrations. We are all angry, Makgato was just not insulting my father, my father was one of the founders of the BDP and first President of the BDP, and so he never left the BDP,” Khama told WeekendPost on Thursday.
“This goes even beyond the BDP. When you visit other countries my father tend to be held in high esteem and clearly this woman does not feel the same way.” Khama continued: “She said what she said wearing BDP colours, at a BDP press conference, as a BDP Chairperson of the BDP Women’s Wing and a minister in the BDP government. So she was actually speaking on behalf of the BDP when she said that.”
The former President, who left the ruling party in May this year, said if Makgato’s views do not represent the party, why it is that no one is coming out to condemn or correct what she said. He said instead what they did, they made Tsholetsa House available for her and the Secretary General to continue to regurgitate the same thing she said at Chadibe. He said the party did not try to correct or distance itself from her in fact they endorsed what she said. He said the fact that BDP are quite about it is proof that they said about his father.
“So TK’s anger is born under the fact that Makgato is a colleague, they are both in the Central Committee, both in cabinet and a fellow colleague insult your parents, it is not nice”. Makgato came under spotlight after a video of her addressing a rally in Chadibe, a village in her constituency went viral on social media. In context, the minister seems to be attacking the founding President of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama who is the father to former President Khama and Minster of Youth, Sports Empowerment and Culture Development Tshekedi Khama.
“I personally admit I did not listen to the video or watch it because I do not think I should justify its existence by doing so but certainly other people who did said to me categorically, they knew she was referring to my father. So for her to try and distance herself from that is actually disingenuous. She was referring to him [Seretse Khama], that’s a fact”. Khama attributes Makgato’s behaviour to be emanating from the fact that he is facing defeat in the coming general elections.
He said when a politician is facing an inevitable defeat, they will react in different ways. He said some will be quite mature and say “you win some you lose some,” and that others will react with anger and frustration because they are not able to come to terms with the facts.
“I think this whole saga around her is precisely because of that. She knows that her defeat at the elections is inevitable.”
Khama took a step aback to describe Makgato’s relationship with Masisi as bad blood during his tenure as President of the country, with the two becoming a regular at his office because of their internal fights. Khama said the whole Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) press conference was designed to discredit him.
“The only thing that I urged her to do towards the end of my term in office is when she was coming to me to complain about Masisi and the fact that he is interfering in her constituency and that he has picked somebody to stand against her during primary elections,” he said.
“I called Masisi and told him what Makgato said but he denied it. She was so angry about Masisi, she kept on telling me that it was a mistake making Masisi my Vice President. There is bad blood between the two of them. She was not the only one complaining, a number of ministers came to see me. I then called a special cabinet retreat for two days to try to sort out the matter”.
Khama dismissed Makgato’s submissions that he owned a considerable amount of land saying he only inherited the land back in 1980. “I have not taken more land since then, I have not added to it and I have not applied to any land in that area” he said. Khama also said the spring water that he has been using to water his farm has since dried up, hence he drilled a borehole. He said when the spring was still running he used to provide people of Borotsi with water and that what Makgato is saying is totally untrue.
Khama also denied allegations that the water from the open water reservoir is not baboon infested. “She is telling lies once again. As a Member of Parliament for that area she has never raised those concerns with me”. The former President continue to say at the time while he was at BDP, he was still Kgosikgolo of Bangwato and they never complained when he went around the country campaigning for the BDP.
“I have always been a Kgosikgolo, at the moment I cannot be viewed as active in politics because I hold no political office. The difference between me and him is that we as Dikgosi we don’t insult people like she does. That is the reality, I know she does not like it but she can never take it away from me.” The former President said he will be consulting with the constituents at Serowe West to consult and persuade them to allow him to join the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).
Khama said BDP’s lack of response to what Makgato said, have actually made his task easy to convince his people why he should leave the BDP. “I am going to use this as another reason why [Tshekedi should leave BDP], they have already told me they are very upset about what Makgato said. I am still delaying because they are now scoring own goals and they are helping me a lot,” he said. Tshekedi Khama remains one of the few BDP MP candidates that have not been launched to date even though elections are expected in less than a month now.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.
In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.
“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.
“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.
However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”
Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.
“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.
Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.
Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.
State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.
The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.
Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.
“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.
However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.
Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.
“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.
While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.
He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.
According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.
“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.
Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.
“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.
He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.
“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.
He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.
Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.
Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month
Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.
Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.
To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.
“We spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine – that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,” said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.
Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herder’s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.
“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,” said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).