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BOFEPUSU guns for Masisi again


The Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) is laying plans for the downfall of Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi in the run up to the ruling party congress due in two Months’ time.

In a bitter raw over the government’s u-turn on the outsourcing of the Public Service employees motor vehicle loan scheme, GEMVAS, the senior leaders of the union say they would do anything within their power to make sure that Masisi does not become the next chairperson of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

‘’If we let Masisi win the chairmanship of the BDP, he would become a problem for all of us. We have to launch a battle to get rid of him,” pointed out BOFEPUSU’s secretary for Labour affairs, Johnson Motshwarakgole.

The beef, according to Motshwarakgole is that Masisi is the man behind the government’s decision to take away GEMVAS from Unigem, a company whose shareholding includes that of BOFEPUSU union members. BOPEU is the only union members that sold its Unigem shares sometime last year before the government decided to take control of the loan scheme, GEMVAS.

The union alleges that Masisi is influencing the government to take over the scheme because he believes that UNIGEM is making a lot of money and has been sponsoring a series of court cases which BOFEPUSU previously launched against government.

The government has announced that it would be taking over the scheme by the beginning of next month just a few months after Unigem purchased a million Pula system to improve the running of the scheme. By Friday afternoon, the Union Lawyers were drafting a statutory notice and planning to file an urgent application before the High court in an attempt to stop the government’s in its tracks.

According to the Federation’s Deputy Secretary General, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, the scheme has been running smoothly under Unigem and therefore there cannot be any professional or administrative reason for the government to take over the scheme as it lacks capacity and skills to run it and the only logical explanation to the takeover is politically motivated.

Motshegwa’s take is that the government is unleashing an economic unholy war against unions.

“We are engaged in a terrain where there is violence against civil rights. The only valid reason is that as a country we are sliding towards autocratic tendencies and we need a vibrant civil society to rise against these ills,” Motshegwa spoke out.

The most immediate solution to this problem according to the unionists, is to go to court and challenge government on this matter and influence the BDP members not to vote for Masisi.

 “He (Masisi) is the one spearheading the GEMVAS in-sourcing such that by the 1st of June, 2015, it would be totally under the control of government …We disqualify Masisi because if he succeeds Khama as the next President he would be a much worse dictator than him,” Motshwarakgole further added before saying that as such he wants Masisi not to become the country’s President.

Speaking at a media briefing in Gaborone on Friday this week Motshwarakgole further explained that Masisi was an enemy of labour movements and a threat to the country’s tranquil.

Political comments have landed the union Secretary generals in trouble with the employer in the past but the federations’s Secretary General Tobokani Rari maintains that it is the right of the civil society to participate in selecting its leaders because at the end of it all, the elected rules over everybody.

BOFEPUSU’s plan remains to be tested though as they have failed to bring Masisi down in two occasions, that is, during the primary elections preceding the 2014 general elections and during the general elections last October.

However the0020union maintains that they would have brought him down hadn’t he stopped the civil service employees from voting in the primary elections.

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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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