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Dikgosi clash over Bogosi Act review

The Balopi Commission of 2000 and the Bogosi Act of 2008 caused an old-school tribal divide among members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi this week as the tribal leaders affirmed their vote for a motion agitating for a review of the Bogosi Act of 2008.

In a stretched three day deliberation on a motion proposed by Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Sefhare/Tswapong area, “requesting Government to make a holistic review of the Bogosi Act”, the tribesmen contended that it contains traces of tribal and stately subjugation, gulfs of disparity in statuses of the DiKgosi, fuels power struggles, is ambiguous and vague with potential to throw confusion into the institution among others concerns.

Dikgosi, Kgari Sechele of Bakwena and Sediegeng Kgamane of Bangwato both from the so called main tribes, were the prime antagonists to the motion.

Kgosi Kgari of the Bakwena described the current Bogosi Act as, “straight forward and consistent with the laws of the country.”

On the other end, Kgosi Kgamane of the Bamangwato rose in fierce opposition to the motion calling for a review of the Act and its sections. During the debate members called for equating of ranks and eminences of the members of the house.

During his interventions Kgosi Kgamane chided Kgosi Maruje of Masunga declaring that the latter’s presentation deduced from the Balopi Commission is a divisive attack laced with hatred and hints of tribalism. Kgosi Maruje stood his ground indicating that he only referenced on the Balopi Commission. He said, “these are results of a Presidential Commission and I can’t stoop to that level and absolve myself from that (argument).”

The Dikgosi said that the constitution and the Bogosi Act show that other chiefs of the so called minority tribes in the North East, Gantsi, Kgalagadi, and Chobe, whose tribes were initially believed had no paramount chiefs are addressed as Dikgosana and having a 3 level hierarchy which translates in their positions being equivalent to lesser positions and status in the chieftaincy structure in comparison with the so called main tribes.

This in turn would mean that other tribal territories such as the Bamangwato regions have three more superior multi level leadership positions above other regions, being the Paramount Chief, Deputy Chief, and Senior Sub Tribal Authority.

Furthermore, Kgamane also opposed the call to end the Bogosana description saying that it is a designation that the current DiKgosi and their fore bearers found in the institution. The emotive and combative Kgamane reasoned that such a designation meant the position of Bogosana meant the occupation and not the individual.

Kgamane, who virtually engaged in a tit-for-tat war of words with Kgosi Maruje Masunga advocated for the Bamangwato to be “left alone with their traditional Chieftainship organisation” to which other members of the house cried foul saying it undermined the seemingly lawful chieftainship organisation of other tribes. Kgamane responded in agitation that, “it is our culture and I ask that our tradition be left as it is, in peace.”

Kgosi Modise outlined 14 sections of the constitution which he said were strikingly ambiguous and vague. Modise outlined section 25(1) that states that, ‘subject to provisions of Subsection (2), a person shall be guilty of an offence if he or she commits any act with intent to undermine the lawful power and authority of a Kgosi.’ Modise said his contention is that the word ‘undermine’ as used in the section is not defined in the definitions section of the Act thus making the extent of the parameters of its application vague.

The Dikgosi also argued that the Bogosi Act confers too many laws on the Minister. Kgosi David Toto of Kgalagadi South backed the motion mover in his displeasure with section 21(1) which says ‘a Kgosi may after consultation with the people of the area and with approval of the minister appoint a person as his or her Moemela Kgosi in respect of any area of his or her tribal territory or tribal area and may in a like manner terminate the appointment.

The members of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi said the current Bogosi Act of 2008 has not fully fixed the anomalies of the scrapped Chieftainship Act of 1987 that perpetuated oppression and tribal inequality. A majority of members of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi said that while changes have been made, vestiges of the old system are still alive and well because only in paper the titles of the DiKgosi have been equated while they are still addressed the old way. It has also emerged that the so called Dikgosi of the main tribes are bought expensive personal Special Utility Vehicles (SUV’s), appointed personal secretaries and paid salaries not at par with other chiefs.

Assistant Minister of Local Government Frans Van Der Westhuizen concurred with the vote of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi that the 7 year old Act “needs to be reviewed to consider amendments are necessary.”

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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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