Former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander, Lt Gen Tebogo Masire has been appointed the Chairman of the Air Botswana Board. Masire’s appointment comes after the Minister of Transport and Communications, Tshenolo Mabeo’s decision to dissolve the entire Air Botswana board recently.
Masire confirmed his appointment but indicated that he will not say much until his full board is appointed.
As a consequence of the appointment, Masire has resigned his Board membership of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana with immediate effect. He awaits the appointment of his fellow board members. The question now is whether Masire will be able to help turn around the ailing Air Botswana by providing strategic leadership. In the 2016/17 budget speech delivered early this month, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo indicated that Air Botswana made a net loss of P165 million in 2015 compared to, P100 million in 2014, mainly due to high costs of maintenance of its old fleet of aircrafts. According to industry experts this fact alone highlights the magnitude of work that awaits Masire and his Board – turning Air Botswana into profitability is a huge undertaking.
Masire also comes at a time when the Airliner has no substantive General Manager. Its former General Manager, Ben Dahwa was shown the door at the same time with the former board. Despite his wealth of experience the Zimbabwean could not turn around the fortunes of Air Botswana, though some of his close associates pointed in the direction of political interference when reasoning his lack of delivery. Masire is well aware that the first experience of businessmen or tourists coming to Botswana is through the national airline, therefore he is heading a very critical institution that has failed to live up to expectations over time.
Aviation experts are convinced that the future of Botswana is hinged on aviation. They argue that there is need to enhance technology at the Airline and there is need to change the way Air Botswana is doing things. Air Botswana has been plagued with delays, an aging fleet, low staff morale, and other challenges in the many years of its existence. Masire’s first task to get things started is to hunt for a chief executive, and it is understood that there is already a lot of lobbying on the corridors.
The usual names are whispered on the ears of potential decision makers even before the post is advertised. Former PEEPA CEO, who has also headed Air Botswana before, Joshua Galeforolwe; former MVA CEO, Cross Kgosidiile; Moses Sekwakwa, the first captain of Air Botswana; Deputy Regional Director of ICAO for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mr. Boitshoko Sekwati, are some of the names that are being considered by those who claim to have interest in seeing Air Botswana compete meaningfully in the aviation space.
The new chairman and his Board will have a decision to make in regard to Air Botswana fleet such as the four Jet BA 146 which have not been used for over a year.
WHO IS TEBOGO MASIRE?
A brief from the Tebogo Foundation website captures Masire thus: “Lieutenant General Masire, the 4th Commander of the Botswana Defence Force, graduated from the East African School of Aviation, in 1975 and the US Airforce Command and Staff College in 1988. He also holds a BSc Degree from Troy State University and an MBA from University of Southern Queensland.
He first worked at the Department of Civil Aviation as an Air Traffic Controller before joining the Military in 1977, when the Botswana Defence Force was formed. He holds the record of being the only member of the first intake of 1977 still in the BDF thirty-five years on! During his 35 years of an illustrious military career, Lt. Gen. Masire has held various operational, staff and command appointments: one of them being the Chief VIP Pilot. He has the honour and privilege of being the only BDF Pilot to have flown all the four Presidents of the Republic of Botswana to over thirty countries.”
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.