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Boko takes on Dibotelo, Kgathi

Leader of Opposition in Parliament and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president, Duma Boko has promised to confront Chief Justice, Maruping Dibotelo if indeed he is in consultation with the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security (MDJS) with view to asses bail provision.

Boko also in the same breadth lampooned MDJS Minister, Shaw Kgathi for seeking to pervert the country’s judicial system. Boko said this in response to Kgathi’s words in parliament that his ministry is in consultations with Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo on examining bail provision.

Boko stated on the floor of parliament this week that: “…what is alarming and which betrays the false understanding …of rule of law by the minister is this idea that he has a problem with bail.” “He has a problem with bail so much so that he says he is engaging with the Chief Justice in relation to bail. That is not only wrong, it is in fact unlawful. It is unlawful first because bail is regulated by law as we speak, you do not have to engage with the Chief Justice in relation to bail. When you do that you are seeking to corrupt the judicial system.”

He further stated that Kgathi’s overture as a high ranking executive figure greatly imperils the independence of the Judiciary and the doctrine of separation of powers: “When you do that you are seeking to have us in a situation where our judicial systems, our Judges are operating under dictation.”

“That is wrong. It is unconstitutional. It is a violation of the constitutional threesome, which we call the separation of powers; where judges are supposed to do their work without any let or hindrance by yourselves as ministers or whatever else you may want to call yourselves.” he stated.

Boko who is also Botswana National Front president and a lawyer by profession continued to state: “It is important to appreciate your jarring statement here that you are engaging with the Chief Justice, if the Chief Justice is entertaining you, I am going to tell him straight up that he is violating the law himself. If he is entertaining any such overtures from you, it is wrong.”

He also continued to state that the constitution of Botswana is clear in setting out the circumstances under which any citizen or any person within the country can be deprived of their liberty. “Our Constitution is also very clear in Section 10 Sub-Section 2 (a) all the way to (f) in setting out the presumption of innocence that applies, and this is what our courts interpret, this is what our courts apply in granting suspects bail.

If you are aggrieved with that, the best thing for you is either to read the law and understand it properly or go back to the people and seek to amend the constitution and do violence to the rule of law, aside from that you have absolutely no business engaging with Chief Justice in relation to bail or any other issue for that matter,” he said to Kgathi.

P14 billion and the Gripens
In his speech Boko also tore into Botswana Defence Force (BDF) expenditure for the National Development Plan 11 describing it as misdirected while there are more pressing challenges facing the country. He described the expenditure as irresponsible at a time when mines are shutting down while government is failing to bail out these folding enterprises describing it “as an act of gross irresponsibility bordering in fact on criminality”.

He further stated that potential danger to the country’s tranquillity does not lie in a foreign power but with the jobless and the poor. “The second issue I want to point out is that the biggest threat to national security is the crushing poverty, the aching misery of unemployment and the terrible situation of the working destitute that our country finds itself in. The biggest threat to national security is not any external threat, it is in fact internal strife that will arise and result from the failure of this Government to address the youth bulge that has now become a ticking time bomb.”

Boko also left the ministers with a jarring parting shot: “I want to conclude by warning the ministers. “In the same way that directors have a fiduciary responsibility in relation to the enterprises that they oversee, ministers have a fiduciary obligation, and that fiduciary obligation means when the time comes all of you are personally, personally liable when the time comes, all of you are liable.”

He further cautioned: “Each and every single one of you, individually and personally, each one of you is liable to imprisonment for the irresponsible decisions over which you preside now and to the misery that you are subjecting this nation to. I want this to be very clear in your minds; I rest on that unpleasant note for all of you.”

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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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