Zimbabwe’s government funded media house, The Herald say it is high time President Lieutenant General Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama is called to order and be advised to mind his own country’s business before “his wayward behaviour” causes division and chaos in the region.
The Herald Newspaper which labelled Khama, SADC’s slouching novice, made the call just after Botswana voiced her opinion against South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the international Criminal court (ICC). “South Africa has a sovereign right to withdraw from the ICC, after all, most African countries are disillusioned by the international court. ICC has simply lost its credibility and Africa should start withdrawing its support to the Rome Statutes,” wrote the Herald in its opinion pages.
South Africa recently announced its intention to withdraw from the ICC. The country’s foreign minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane formally notified United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon that South Africa plans to pull back from ICC. The move came three days after Burundi declared the same intention of withdrawing from the same court. According to the statutes that forms the ICC, it will take a year for withdrawal to materialise unless the notifications indicated a later date.
According to the Herald, Politics and international relations dictates that South Africa made a sovereign decision and such decision, they contend, has nothing to do with its neighbours or other states in the international arena where members are guided by respect towards each other's sovereignty. “However, the region's insolent cousin issued a statement against South Africa's sovereign decision to pull out of the ICC. Botswana, in a statement, expressed its regret towards that decision.
Ironically, Botswana acknowledged South Africa's sovereign right to become party to, or withdraw from any international instrument,” read the opinion in part. Their contention is that, Article II (1) of the United Nations Charter recognises sovereign equality of members while Section 4, in part, calls for members to refrain from threats against political independence of any state. Because of that, they believe, “these provisions clearly inform Botswana to mind its own business. The South African government's decision is guided by Article 127 (1) of the Rome Statutes which states that a State Party may, by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, withdraw from this Statute.”
Botswana had expresses disappointment at South Africa’s decision to pull out from the ICC. For a long time, the country had differed with many other African countries who have been threatening to withdraw en-mass from the ICC. In the latest opinion in question, Botswana had contended that South Africa should have aired its grievances during the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute meeting at The Hague due this month. However, Zimbabwe is of the view that the fact that Botswana feels that the ICC is an important and unique institution in the international justice system does not hold any water.
“Africa has made it clear that it is tired of the bully tactics used by the West, particularly, the United States and its allies, in persecuting African leaders through the ICC. The declaration, made by Comoros, Djibouti, and Senegal in 2009, was specifically in reference to President al-Bashir's indictment,” the Herald stated before adding that, “at the 2013 AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa unanimously accused the ICC of being racist and stated that the ICC was prosecuting only African cases. AU announced its support of Kenya's application for legal proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta his deputy William Ruto to be returned to Africa.”
The Rome Statute which established the court in 2002, provides that countries which have signed the treaty be obliged to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.Nonetheless, some Africa countries have been violating the provision as they believe their countries have to be left to solve their own problems. South Africans for instance, refused to arrest the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir when he visited the country despite ICC having issued an arrest warrant.
Among other atrocities Bashir is wanted for are human rights abuses. Nonetheless, Botswana has made it known that she will not hesitate to arrest Bashir and hand him over to the ICC if he was to step on its ground while some of the countries have announced that they will not meddle in the internal affairs of Sudan. Some of the countries have raised concern that the absence of important global players, United States, China, India, Japan and the Russian Federation, from the agreement establishing the ICC makes the court not as universal as it claims to be. These excluded countries in fact represent over seventy percent of the world’s population.â€¨
The ICC is believed to have descriminately gone after those countries seen as being weak and unprotected by the UN Security Council; considering human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. “The ICC is unaccountable to any public entity. So who can blame the South African government to "wash its hands" off the burden that the ICC has become to Africa? Botswana, the British protectorate that gained a pseudo-independence in 1966 from their masters, should start reflecting on the direction it is taking against its neighbours,” the Herald further stated and adviced that Khama should “take cue from South Korea, currently battling to remove the "US' baby" tag that is causing so much discomfort in their region.
Botswana could be gaining favours for supporting the powerful Western countries but it should also reflect on its relations with its SADC counterparts.” The Herald believes that Khama had unnecessarily picked a fight with South Africa because he is “a slouching novice who does not seem to know the strictures of sovereignity.”
Nonetheless, Botswana has always maintained that ICC stands for the good of all nations and therefore it will always support it without “any fear or favour.” Just recently Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi reiterated the country’s stance that, ICC is all about human rights protection and adviced that leaders should be exemplary and “do right and fear no man.”
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.