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Kgathi boots out Namibians, Zimbabweans

The government of Botswana though Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi has resorted to the forceful repatriations of Namibian and Zimbabwean refugees whilst leaving out other 11 nationalities in Botswana.

In a meeting with the refugees who are accused of having ignored the calls for them to exercise voluntary repatriation, Kgathi has directly instructed them to return to their countries of origin, lest they are taken for illegal immigrants. “The government of Botswana, in terms of agreements reached in the tripartite forum between governments of Botswana, Namibia and the UNHCR, has decided it is time for you to return to your country of origin,” Kgathi said.

The decision was taken as the two nations of Zimbabwe and Namibia are now considered to be stable, safe and secure nations with well-functioning governing institutions that observe the rule of law. The idea to force the two nationalities with particular emphasis on the Namibians to go back comes after their refugee status lapsed when the cessation clause was invoked in 2015. The refugees have been given up to the 11th of July to have registered for repatriation to their country of origin. Kgathi says failure to comply will result in them being declared illegal immigrants. “You are not refugees, nor are you guests of the government of Botswana,” he quipped.

The Namibians have in the past interdicted their repatriation through the courts of the law. By then, they contended that the repatriation process lacked the assurances and the reasons for which they fled their country in the late 90s. According to Kgathi, the environment is now conducive for them to return home to participate in the socio-economic, cultural and political arena of their home country.

Caprivi community spokesperson, Felix Kakula has however maintained that they are not going anywhere. “The problem is not yet solved. We are not going to register to go back, its better someone throws you in the fire than throwing yourself in it.” Another member of the Caprivi community, Bothman Ntesa who spoke to this paper supported Kakula. “Wherever the government of Botswana takes us to we will go, in fact we are going to the centre of illegal immigrants in Francistown. The registration to go back has long started but no one has bothered to.”

The Namibians snubbed the meeting scheduled for yesterday (Friday) with the UNHCR pleading with them to register for repatriation. The Dukwi Refugee Camp houses 2318 refugees, of which 947 are Namibians. Once Kgathi is done with the Namibians, he will go for the Zimbabweans, sources say. Already, it is alleged, the northern neighbours have been engaged on the matter and they agreed that, soon after the general elections in August they will voluntarily return to Zimbabwe.

By far they have engaged the Zimbabwe Minister of Home Affairs and Culture, Dr Obert Mpofu, who has appealed to Zimbabwean refugees at Dukwi Refugee Camp to return home. Zimbabweans who came to Botswana after the 2008 bloody elections were granted political asylum are currently sitting at 687 at the camp.

"We had a two hours meeting with them yesterday, in a cordial atmosphere. The engagements were quite open and candid and I got to understand some of the reasons we have people in Dukwi. Most of them have been here for 10 years," Mpofu said before adding, “the situation has changed and we will actually ensure that they come back home without any victimization or retribution,” Mpofu said.

Despite Kgathi’s unwavering stance on sending the two nationalities back to their countries, he will not touch other nationalities at the camp yet, these include; Angolans, Burundians, the Congolese, Ethiopians, Ugandans, Rwandans, Eritreans, Sierra Leoneans, Moroccans and Somalians.

“These other countries have smaller numbers of migrants, so the idea is to begin with the large numbers first. This is done so that it would be easy to resettle them elsewhere in the world once numbers have dwindled and it would be clear that there is no option for them hence it is easy to be resettled,” said a source. Further it is said the reason to repatriate the two nationalities is basically the fact that UNHCR is closing shop in Botswana. “United Nations is clear, if the number of refugees are less than 3000 in a country, it does not need UNHCR presence, so we should begin with high numbers first.”

The refugees on annual basis cost UNHCR P10 million as they are given food rations, school uniform for kids and transport to school. The Namibians arrived in the country in October 1998 with 100 being the armed Caprivi Liberation Army and 2500 civilians. Their leadership of Mishake Muyongo and Chief Boniface Mamili was long resettled to Denmark in the early 2000s.

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Why Katholo engaged private lawyers against State

16th May 2022
Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.

In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.

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Dada to break Kwelagobe’s BDP long standing record

16th May 2022
Dada

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.

While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.

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The Gulaam Husain Abdoola – Dubai sting detailed

16th May 2022
Gulaam Husain Abdoola

Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.

Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.

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