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BOCONGO demands protection for nurses

Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisation (BOCONGO) and other stakeholders have demanded that government prioritises nurses’ safety and ensures that security is tightened at all health facilities operating 24/7 across the country.

This follows a rape incident that occurred at extension II clinic in Gaborone on April 23. An on duty nurse was raped in the early hours of that day while on break, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Wellness. At a press conference on Thursday, BOCONGO also spoke out against gender based violence, which they say is being overlooked in the country.

Chief Executive Officer of Kagiso Society Women’s Shelter, Lorato Moalusi- Sakufiwa, explained that despite the increase of rape cases in Botswana, implementation of the laws against rape is still very weak and impunity for perpetrators continues. “There have been media reports in the recent past of people who commit crime on bail, and such reports include rape cases. We are calling on the government to lead the nation in exercising due diligence the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls,” she said.

She further suggested that preventative measures should be put in place. “Changing mindsets, eliminating risk factors, providing outreach and ending solutions, broadening the scope of VAW programmes, formulating comprehensive laws and constitutional guarantees and robust engagement and collaboration with Gender and Human Rights Organisations to collectively support the implementation of the National GBV strategy and the Referral System,” she advised.

Sakufiwa also advised that the government should ensure availability and accessibility to coordinated support services as well as ensuring availability to protection orders. “The government should hold perpetrators accountable, there should be certainty of punishment and they should broaden the available punishment regime beyond incarceration,” she added.

One of the members of Botswana Nurses Union, Layani Mandiwana- Malemane explained that they decided to come up with the slogan, #EnoughIsEnough because they were just overwhelmed by issues that keep happening to nurses, yet nothing being done.

“A nurse raped by a client. It was a horrific and a barbaric act. Nurses are there to help those who are sick and resuscitate a person who is supposed to die. We have always notified the Ministry of Health and the government that as nurses we are working under harsh conditions,” she said. She further cited that Nurses are attacked at home, at the streets and at work. “Work should be a place of security,” she lamented.

In an interview with WeekendPost, Publicity Secretary of Botswana Counselling Association, Keletso Tshekiso explained that there are diverse reasons as to why male counterparts commit rape. “There is what is called sadistic rape, where a person inflicts you with pain and that’s how they get aroused and gratified. Some people are just disrespectful whilst others could due to drugs and alcohol disorders and power raping is when a person feels they have power and feel the need to dominate and some rape because they just want to revenge,’” she explained.

Moreover, she added that people should be sensitized about sexual harassment and be taught about gestures that hint sexual harassment and that there should be behavioural change facilities and that people should be provided with rehabilitation when they are taken to prisons.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021

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.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021

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.

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