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Kanye BDP members threaten court action

The Central Committee Secretary General Mpho Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members in Kanye are threatening the party with court action after they were denied an opportunity to select or be selected as delegates for the ongoing congress in Mmadinare.

In particular, this publication has established that party members in the Kanye branch – Kanye South constituency to be precise – were split between electing delegates and so along the way procedure was not followed. It is understood that some names of the delegates were not recommended by the Chairperson and Secretary of wards to branches as is the norm but instead handpicked at the expense of others not coveted.  

The opposing camps at the constituency are said to be divided, among those supporting BDP primary election contenders for the 2014 general elections Lemogang Kwape, and those in allegiance with Thato Baruti. The Kwape camp is believed to be rooting for Mokgweetsi Masisi while the other camp wants Tebelelo Seretse for party chairmanship.

According to party faithfuls, branch congress has sidelined the pro-Baruti camp in selecting delegates for national congress – despite all wards having to be represented. “We believe all wards should be represented at the congress but Nyorosi West and Lotlhakane East was kicked out of the meeting which was aimed at electing those delegates.” The wards are represented by Councillors Thapelo Pelekekae and Patrick Mosimanegape who are believed to be pro-Baruti.

Both Pelekekae and Baruti affirmed to this publication that due process was not followed. Some constituency members believe those selected to Mmadinare congress will not be representative enough of the entire constituency.

WeekendPost is reliably informed that some members in the area have already lodged a complainant letter to the Central Committee threatening court action should the outgoing party politburo not take action before today (Saturday).

“We penned a formal letter to the departing Central Committee stating clearly our objection to the manner in which delegates were elected, but they did not respond despite giving them an ultimatum of 3 days to have responded and addressed our grievances – before the commencement of congress,” declared a party insider at the constituency who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the member, their contention is that some established party processes were spurned: “in the process to election of the delegates, what happened is not what we are used to in the party. The procedure whereby wards must feed the branches was flouted, and delegates were handpicked.”

The BDP tradition is that the delegates are derived from incumbent party Members of Parliament (MP’s), Councillors, various members of all the party committees including Central committee, as well as all 57 constituencies and 12 regions.

They argue that after going through normal procedure of launching complaints at branch level and region – they were not addressed adequately and left with no option but to opt for the Central Committee as the ultimate solution.

The Central Committee Secretary General Mpho Balopi confirmed in an interview that “it true we have received that letter of complaint.” In fact Balopi said that the regional committee made recommendations to Central Committee on the matter having assessed it.

“I have received the letter from Southern region, attached was the letter of complaint by the Kanye branch. The Region has made recommendations and the Central Committee would discuss it before congress,” he said.

However if the congress continues, WeekendPost has it on good authority that the Kanye branch will launch an urgent application before the High Court to take disciplinary action to perpetrators who contravened the known procedure of electing delegates for congress.

“We have met this week, we then phoned Balopi to request for a meeting. If this matter does not see the light of the day we will launch an urgent application at the High Court so that Kanye is represented, failing which the case will be lodged to the incoming Central Committee.”

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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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