In a surprising turn of events, former President, Seretse Khama Ian Khama this week admitted to allegations dating back to his presidency that he had in his possession keys to Gcwihaba caves in Ngamiland. He however said he has since handed them back.
During his reign, Khama came under fire for locking the caves, and keeping the keys. He however, on numerous occasions disputed that he kept the keys to the cave. The public was denied entry to the caves, unlike before when they had not been locked. Speaking to WeekendPost at the comfort of his new office in Gaborone on Thursday this week, Khama said that for some caves to be accessed there has to be some drilling done, as was the case with Gcwihaba caves. “Leaving the caves exposed if there is drilling being done poses some threat, they had to be locked up for safety as there were open drill holes,” he clarified.
“The holes drilled are very shallow and deep, imagine one falling in there. The moment they hit the surface is the end of them. At times they (holes) are more than one hundred metres long,” highlighted Khama. Further, Khama added, the caves were locked to protect people living around them from snakes as well as animals that parade the caves.
He said currently, the keys are with the company tasked with drilling the caves for easy accessibility but once they are done the keys will be handed to the Department of National Museum, Monuments and Gallery. The caves were gazetted as a National Monument in 2006 because they were a unique geological formation of beauty. Therefore it is protected by the Monuments and relics Act of 2011 and was included in the Botswana World Heritage Tentative List in 2010.
During his tenure as Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi once said government will consider extending access rights to the Gcwihaba caves to Khama once he leaves office. He stated that the caves globally have significance in the humans’ evolutionary history. Masisi declared that government will allow Khama access to Gcwihaba so that he can oversee the caves’ exploration and its development as a tourism site.
Khama was previously quoted in one of the local newspapers saying his affection with caves started as a hobby, which eventually grew into something substantial. Over the years, he has learnt about exploring caves. The adventurous Khama said it takes some expertise to manoeuvre through a cave. “You need to crawl on your stomach on some dirty and dangerous surface which is very risky, discerning through the high- pitched bats flying over one’s head,” he said.
Access into the caves for members of the public is controlled. For more than 16 years, Khama has been involved with the Gcwihaba Caves exploration project with local and international experts. The project involves searching for new caves and digging corridors to connect the caverns. Masisi said Khama’s enthusiasm with the project underscored his resolve for the development of arts and tourism in Botswana.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.