The Directorate of Intelligence Security (DIS) is currently seized with protecting President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi from attempts to terminate his life prematurely, an operation believed and dismissed alike.
In his rigours of validating this threat, DIS Director General Peter Magosi has indicated that his duty is to protect the President and he will not be shaken. This week, this publication looks into the exhibits in a case in which former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s two security guards are accused of carrying weapons that are alleged to be linked to the plot to assassinate President Dr Masisi at Palapye a few months ago. It has emerged that the men or would be assassins fingered in this attempts want to use a ‘toy’ gun purchased over the counter to kill the President.
An unswerving source within the former President’s security detail has revealed that the weapons confiscated by members of the Directorate and Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) at Palapye are described are known as the Tippmann X TiPX. 68 Caliber Paintball Pistol which is generally used by the former President’s security on daily basis while on duty.
A week back it was reported that a man attached to former President Khama as his private bodyguard has been charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. The Botswana Police Service at the time said their investigations were complete and the docket was handed over to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The man was later named as Mike Maake, whose resume is sprinkled with bouts at the commando unit of the Botswana Defence Force; and being an agent of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS). He is currently an employee of Avante Security Services where he is on secondment to Khama’s private security detail.
Recently the DIS Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi at a press conference said it is a fact that the security environment of the country has changed and hence the need to beef up. Brigadier Magosi went on to admit that there is a third force in the Masisi/Khama feud alleging that Masisi’s life is under threat. The weapons that could have attempted to end the President life have been revealed and when interrogating the make of the said weapons, this publication discovered a TiPX Pistol is a ‘Paintball’.
This is a great solo marker or tactical backup sidearm, adding a new dimension to the marksman game. The TiPX also features an under- barrel Picatinny rail, external velocity adjuster, clear ammo windows so that the user can see if it’s loaded, removable barrel with A5 threads, ability to add a remote line, and foam lined hard shell carry case. According to the Khama Security detail source, the weapons can be bought locally at firearms dealer shops and do not require any license. “They are not designed to kill but used in self- defense. This one here costs P 4799. 00 and bought over the counter,” he said.
According to the TiPX Website, “the all- new Tippmann Arms TIPX offers the general public the same non- lethal tool that security and law enforcement personnel use around the world. Whether for home defense personal protection, or security, the TIPX delivers the stopping power needed to neutralize the target giving one time to plan their next move or call for backup. Hot pepper rounds burst on impact creating a cloud of dust around the target causing extreme pain and respiratory distress.”
It further reads: “Whatever was on their mind prior to being hit is a distant memory. The TIPX uses standard easy-to-find 12 gram CO2 cartridges. The first trigger pull of the TIPX punctures the cartridge powering up the pepper gun. At this time you are now ready to fire and take charge of the situation.” The TiPX is owned by US Personal Defense Products LLC, the SOLE U.S. Distributor of the JPX in the US and every JPX 2 and JPX 4 are all considered LAW ENFORCEMENT grade products. Every JPX 2 and JPX 4 listed online or found in a retail store are LAW ENFORCEMENT grade products.
WHAT PLOT – THE DISMISSIVE LOT
Meanwhile former President Ian Khama has dismissed recent reports of assassination attempts on President Masisi as nothing but a ploy by the BDP to cast doubt and suspicion on political opponents. Speaking on the sidelines of The Botswana Patriotic Front’s Press conference recently in Gaborone, Khama said that it was totally untrue that there was a plot to assassinate Masisi.
“What is extremely unfortunate is that they know as well as you and I do that it is totally untrue, but when they keep putting it out there, it actually damages the reputation of our country. Botswana has always been known as a peaceful and stable country and we have never had a coup or reports of assassination plots in our country and we will never have those carried out, Batswana are a peace loving people and they will never resort to that. So this is an instrument to try to cast doubt and suspicions on political opponents, That’s all its about” Khama is quoted in one of the local publications.
He further stated: “Up to now they have refrained from naming anybody because they thought they had put out enough information to cast a shadow of suspicion on myself and others of his opponents, so we are just watching to see how it is going to play out.” On the other hand, the leadership of the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) have dismissed as fantasy claims, allegations that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s life was under threat forcing him to abandon a trip to Mozambique recently.
UDC President Duma Boko and Vice President Dumelang Saleshando accuse the DISS for peddling lies to journalists about an alleged assassination attempt on Masisi. Saleshando observed that the DISS is pushing agenda to seek sympathy votes for Masisi’a ailing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), indicating that he wouldn't be surprised if the DISS stages an assassination of President Masisi in hope of gathering sympathy votes. However Magosi has strongly reiterated his stance that President Masisi’s life is in danger. “It is my responsibility to ensure the safety of a sitting president and I’ll do all it takes to ensure his safety,” Magosi stated.
An international report complied in South Africa dubbed ‘Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana’ says that the transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana live a miserable life. The community experiences higher levels of discrimination, violence and ill health.
In this report, it has been indicated that this is because their gender identity, which does not conform to narrowly define societal norms, renders them more vulnerable. Gender identity is a social determinant of health, which means that it is a factor that influences people’s health via their social context, their communities and their experiences of social exclusion. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has recognized this, and transgender people are considered a vulnerable population under the Botswana Second National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS 2010-2017.
In a recent study that shed light on the lived experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana, transgender persons often experience discrimination because of their gender identity and expression. The study was conducted by the University of Cape Town, LEGABIBO, BONELA, as well as Rainbow Identity Association and approved by the Health Ministry as well as the University of Botswana.
Of the 77 transgender and gender non-conforming people who participated in the study, less than half were employed. Two thirds, which is approximately 67% said that they did not have sufficient funds to cover their everyday needs. Two in five had hidden health concerns from their healthcare provider because they were afraid to disclose their gender identity.
More than half said that because of their gender identity, they had been treated disrespectfully at a healthcare facility (55%), almost half (46%) said they had been insulted at a healthcare facility, and one quarter (25%) had been denied healthcare because of their gender identity.
At the same time, the ‘Are we doing right’ study suggests that transgender and non-conforming people might be at higher risks of experiencing violence and mental ill-health, compared to the general population. More than half had experienced verbal embarrassment because of their gender identity, 48% had experienced physical violence and more than one third (38%) had experienced sexual violence.
The study showed that mental health concerns were high among transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana. Half of the transgender and gender non-conforming study participants (53%) showed signs of depression. Between one in four and one in six showed signs of moderate or severe anxiety (22% among transgender women, 24% among transgender men and 17% among gender non-conforming people).
Further, the study revealed that many had attempted suicide: one in three transgender women (32%), more than one in three transgender men (35%) and three in five gender non-conforming people (61%).
International research, as well as research from Botswana, suggests that not being able to change one’s gender marker has a negative impact on access to healthcare and mental health and wellbeing. The study further showed that one in four transgender people in Botswana (25%) had been denied access to healthcare. This is, at least in part, linked to not being able to change one’s gender marker in the identity documents, and thus not having an identity document that matches one’s gender identity and gender expression.
In its Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Framework for HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis, the Health Ministry noted that “transgender persons in Botswana are unable to access identity documents that reflect their gender identity, which is a barrier to health services, including in the context of HIV. In one documented case, a transwoman’s identity card did not reflect her gender identity- her identity card photo indicated she was ‘male’. When she presented her identity card at a health facility, a health worker called the police who took her into custody.”
The necessity of a correct national identity document goes beyond healthcare. The High Court of Botswana explains that “the national identity document plays a pivotal role in every Motswana’s daily life, as it links him or her with any service they require from various institutions. Most activities in the country require every Motswana to produce their identity document, for identification purposes of receiving services.”
According to the Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana report, this effectively means that transgender, whose gender identity and expression is likely to be different from the sex assigned to them at birth and from what is recorded on their identity document, cannot access services without risk of denial or discrimination, or accusations of fraud.
In this context, gays and lesbians advocacy group LEGABIBO has called on government through the Department of Civil and National Registration to urgently implement the High Court rulings on gender marker changes. As stated by the High Court in the ND vs Attorney General of Botswana judgement, identity cards (Omang) play an important role in the life of every Motswana. Refusal and or delay to issue a Motswana with an Omang is denying them to live a complete and full-filing life with dignity and violates their privacy and freedom of expression.
The judgement clarified that persons can change their gender marker as per the National Registrations Act, so changing the gender marker is legally possible. There is no need for a court order. It further said the person’s gender is self-identified, there is no need to consult medical doctors.
LEGABIBO also called on government to develop regulations that specify administrative procedure to change one’s gender marker, and observing self-determination process. Further, the group looks out for government to ensure members of the transgender community are engaged in the development of regulations.
“We call on this Department of Civil and National Registration to ensure that the gender marker change under the National Registration Act is aligned to the Births and Deaths Registry Act to avoid court order.
Meanwhile, a gay man in Lobatse, Moabi Mokenke was recently viciously killed after being sexually violated in the streets of Peleng, shockingly by his neighbourhood folks. The youthful lad, likely to be 29-years old, met his fate on his way home, from the wearisome Di a Bowa taverns situated in the much populated township of Peleng Central.
CEO of Khato Civils Mongezi Mnyani has come out of the silence and is going all way guns blazing against the company’s adversaries who he said are hell-bent on tarnishing his company’s image and “hard-earned good name”
Speaking to WeekendPost from South Africa, Mnyani said it is now time for him to speak out or act against his detractors. Khato Civils has done several projects across Africa. Khato Civils, a construction company and its affiliate engineering company, South Zambezi have executed a number of world class projects in South Africa, Malawi and now recently here in Botswana.
About ten (10) Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidates who lost the 2019 general election and petitioned results this week met with UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando to discuss the way forward concerning the quandary that is the legal fees put before them by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lawyers.
For a while now, UDC petitioners who are facing the wrath of quizzical sheriffs have demanded audience with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) but in vain. However after the long wait for a tete-a-tete with the UDC, the petitioners met with Saleshando accompanied by other NEC members including Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, Reverend Mpho Dibeela and Dennis Alexander.