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Masisi slams Mogae, Masire

Masisi says Batswana will propose changes when they want them

Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi has said the continual criticism of the current administration, led by President Lt Gen Ian Khama by former presidents is unfair and sometimes uninformed.

The Vice President directed most of his fury at former President Dr Festus Mogae, who he accused of playing to the gallery only after leaving office. Mogae, a well-respected voice on the African continent has used several platforms to bash the Khama administration, directly or indirectly.

As things stand, Masisi is the heir apparent to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) throne and many observers are of the view that he wants to start coming onto the stage, especially after a Mmadinare congress gave him a boost with a chairmanship triumph over fierce rivals.

Speaking during a press briefing this week, Masisi said though they welcome criticism, it is also worth noting that some of the remarks made by the former heads of state are opportunistic. Masisi took a jab at Mogae for criticising countries which are anti-gay among them Botswana, which is yet to legalise homosexuality.

Masisi expressed disappointment that Mogae has the audacity to suggest adoption of such laws and policies while he did not do so during his presidency. The Vice President who doubles up as chairman of the ruling party said the fact that Mogae came out publicly to state that he could not legalise homosexuality during his presidency because he feared losing elections means that the subject remain unpopular among Batswana.

“We also do not want to lose elections. We are a democratic country. We cannot legalise something which we know people do not want,” emphasised Masisi.

Masisi, who is also the Moshupa-Mmanyana legislator said even opposition parties have not come out publicly to state whether they support homosexuality or not because the subject remains sensitive.  The Vice President said it is therefore unfair for the former president to expect his immediate successor to adopt a law which he himself could not adopt.

In a rare turn of events, Masisi showered praises on Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe’s stance on homosexuality.  Mugabe recently told a United Nations gathering that “Africans are not gays.”

The Vice President also mentioned countries like Kenya and Uguanda who had said no to homosexuality. Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly told United States President in his recent visit to the country that homosexuality in a ‘non-issue’ in his nation.

Former president Mogae recently told the UN gathering that African countries should start viewing homosexuality issues as human right and therefore being an entitlement to those who are homosexuals.

“The smallest, most vulnerable, most disenfranchised, most excluded, most discriminated sectors of the population should remain highest in a leader’s priority and must be protected,” he said.

 “Same sex sexual activity, the most basic right, is now legal in 25 countries in Africa. For the rest of our countries it is punishable by imprisonment of differing periods up to life and going as far as the death penalty,” Mogae had said.

Masisi also slays Masire
Masisi also responded to former president Sir Ketumile Masire’s criticism that governance standards in Africa are going down. Masire who is a board member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said bad governance and corruption do not only undermine service delivery, but also impose heavy costs on the economy.  

Masisi said although they welcome criticism and are always looking for improvements, the ex-president is possibly being misinformed. He said Masire might not be familiar with modern day service delivery methods as compared to what the former president is accustomed to.

Masisi stated that the Botswana government has introduced major changes in the offering of services to citizens, most of them which are totally different to what government used to do in the past.

“The way in which government offers service delivery also constitutes governance,” said Masisi.

“The old may not be used to the methods which government is using today but the Botswana government is doing its utmost best to deliver services to the people in an efficient manner.”

Mogae also made similar remarks last year on the state of governance in Botswana. Speaking at African Leadership Forum in Tanzania, Mogae stated that Botswana was regressing because of lack of respect of rule of law and deportation of foreign nationals. 

The 2015 Mo Ibrahim Index registers that Botswana has since 2011 shown an overall governance deterioration of -1.8 points.  The report states that Botswana is among the top ten biggest fallers during this period in Africa. According to the report, the weakening in performance is driven by deterioration in some of the pillars including, safety and rule of law, Participation and human rights, as well as Sustainable Economic Opportunity.

Former President Mogae is a recipient of the Mo Ibrahim Award, while former President Masire is a Board member.

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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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