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Khama ready to release Moitoi for AU

President Lt. Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi

President Lt. Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama may release Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi for the Chairmanship of African Union Commission.

WeekendPost has established that Khama has given the move thumbs up as, given her credentials, Venson-Moitoi will represent the country well and in particular the AU as the highest decision making organ of the continent.

The Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) has unanimously endorsed the Botswana candidate – Moitoi – for the position, and stakes are high for other regions, as it is widely believed that the continent may opt for another Southerner in the coming election following Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini -Zuma’s remarkable performance at the African body.

After having served in the AU for four years now, Dlamini-Zuma’s chairmanship ends in June this year. She is said to be a leading candidate earmarked to succeed embattled President Jacob Zuma whose term maybe cut short following the constitutional court ruling on Thursday that found him guilty of flouting the constitution in using public funds to upgrade his Nkandla private residence.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation released a statement yesterday confirming Moitoi’s candidature, citing that as the candidate for the Southern African region, Venson-Moitoi, will compete for the position with candidates’ from other regions of Africa.

The decision by President Khama to release Venson-Moitoi and the possible subsequent victory in the contestation will leave Serowe South constituency vacant – which will naturally warrant a bye election and a ministerial vacancy.

Serowe South is a well-known stronghold of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) with Venson-Moitoi having safely won the seat with a margin of more than 7 000 votes against Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Brigadier Iphemele Kgokgothwane in 2014.

The Minister of MoFAIC is expected to consult with a possibility of bidding farewell to the constituents next week after she returns from a long leave. She was first elected to Parliament in 1999 and ever since then she has been enjoying landslide victories.

Former Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) Chairperson Louis Sibanda, a close ally of Venson-Moitoi, is seen as a strong contender to succeed her – should she win the AU chairperson bid. Another hopeful, Sefane Phuthego may have dented his chances by contesting against her in the previous 2014 BDP primary election.

Indications suggest that the incumbent Serowe South legislator will further consult with President Khama on the contestation as they might differ somewhere while at AU – hence the dialogue is necessary. While at AU, the duo may differ in ratifying some treaties notwithstanding that they have worked under the same government.

It is expected that the elections   for   the  position will be held during the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU, which will take place from 17 to 18 June in Kigali, Rwanda.

It is understood that the decision to endorse Minister Venson-Moitoi as candidate for the AU Chairperson-ship “was taken at the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Southern Africa Region held in Gaborone on the 23rd March 2016”.

This publication has established that 10 SADC countries have endorsed Venson-Moitoi including their rival Zimbabwe with whom they have had differences in the past over Robert Mugabe’s legitimacy as a President following disputed elections.

Botswana has ruffled a few feathers through her roof-top diplomacy pinned on its constitutional obligations and shrewd principles based on human rights, rule of law and effective democracy. They have almost not spared any country in denouncing against flouting and inconsistency in the said principles.

In the past, Botswana has broken ranks with fellow African countries with regards to affiliation to the International Criminal Court (ICC). When others in the continent denounced the Court for its double standards saying it targeted African leaders and turned a blind eye to western countries, Botswana rooted for it.

The country still uses the death penalty which is entrenched in its constitution and this has rubbed other countries the wrong way including neighbouring South Africa. Botswana is also known for her abhorrence to gay rights, which is against most western countries agenda however, recently the CoA ruled in favour of a homosexual organization, LEGABIBO and ordered it was free to register.

It remains to be seen whether this rooftop diplomacy will affect Botswana (represented by Venson-Moitoi)’s performance for the AU  top post in the next 3 months when African countries look for a replacement for exiting Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who made history as the first woman AU chair in 50 years. Moitoi will be the second, should she win.

WeekendPost has also gathered that AU Chairmanship rotates amongst the African regions, but a lot of people felt that the SADC region may continue, and it is still unclear if they (other regions) will field candidates in the contestation.  

The   Chairperson   of   the   African   Union   Commission   is   the   Chief   Executive Officer,   legal   representative   of   the   AU   and   the   Commission’s   Accounting Officer. The Chairperson also exercises executive functions in the running of the   AU   affairs   and   is   responsible   for   the   delivery   of   the   agenda   of   the Organisation aimed at advancing greater continental integration for a more prosperous Africa.

The AU Commission comprises of the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and eight (8) Commissioners   of   peace and   security; political   affairs; trade and industry;   infrastructure   and   energy;   social   affairs;   rural   economy   and agriculture; human resources, science and technology; and economic affairs.

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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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