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.”
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.