A Botswana Country Risk report prepared by BMI Research, Fitch Group company is propping up the ongoing opposition cooperation talks between the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), boldly stating that the talks will deliver a “credible coalition”.
Opposition parties are almost at the conclusion of cooperation talks that see one political party challenge the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2019. The parties have already agreed to form the UDC+ (plus). The Country Risk Report which provides comprehensive data and in-depth analysis of political, financial and economic risk to help potential investors understand and measure the political, business environment and operational risks of countries posits that: “Social unrest will remain relatively limited in Botswana, even despite the significant economic headwinds facing the country due to faltering diamond production.”
The report notes that this comes as a history of legitimate electoral processes and “the likely formation of a credible opposition coalition will provide citizens with the means to voice their discontent with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in the 2019 elections and offer an outlet for discontent.” While the BDP leaders are attempting to undermine the integrity of the talks, think tanks and Research entities, like the BMI, do take the talks seriously.
On other matters, the Botswana Country Risk Report communicates that Botswana will experience a slow economic recovery over 2017, largely driven by an uptick in tourism from Zimbabwe and South Africa and improving diamond production. The report further suggests that the government will also support growth by implementing its Economic Stimulus Programme in an effort to diversify the economy.
According to the report the Bank of Botswana has reached the end of its rate cutting cycle and will keep interest rates on hold through 2017, in line with the South African Reserve Bank. While inflationary pressures will remain low, price growth in Botswana will tick upwards slightly as the transport component of inflation picks up.
Botswana's fiscal deficit will begin narrowing over FY2016/17 and FY2017/18, albeit gradually. While revenues from the mining sector will recover, increased government capital expenditure will keep the fiscal position in deficit over the next several quarters, the BMI report indicates. “Botswana's sizable current account surplus will begin to narrow over the months ahead, driven by rising capital imports as infrastructure investment under the government's Economic Stimulus Programme picks up. Export growth and Southern African Customs Union receipts will remain subdued on the back of low global demand for diamonds and sluggish growth in the region.”
The Country Risk Report suggests that the pula's peg to the South African rand and the IMF's Special Drawing Rights will see the currency depreciate over 2017 and 2018. While weakness in the basket currencies will add downward pressure on the pula, the pace of depreciation will moderate significantly compared to recent years.
The Report states that ongoing revisions to Botswana's national accounts estimates will affect growth figures. Amid ongoing efforts by Statistics Botswana to more accurately portray the size and structure of the economy, GDP estimates remain subject to frequent and often notable adjustments. Given Botswana's dependence on imported energy and food, any unexpected rise in global food or oil prices beyond, BMI forecasts indicate that this will affect the country's growth and inflation.
Furthermore, uncertain energy supplies pose a persistent risk to economic activity in Botswana. This has been exacerbated by the regional drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon. The BMI report gives Core Views, 10-year Forecasts, BMI's Economic Risk Index, Political Stability and Risk Index, Long-term Political Outlook, Operational Risk Index, SWOT Analysis and Structural Economic Sections. The report also helps investors and other interested parties to gain insight on emerging trends that could support, strengthen or disrupt activities in a given market.
The Country Risks Reports provides a long-term political outlook and explore possible scenarios for change, while also providing the benefit of a 10-year macroeconomic forecasts and insight into the structural characteristics of the economy.
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.
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.