Former Cabinet Minister David Magang has revealed that the reason he delayed launching his new book, “Delusion of Grandeur,” was because of the advice vented by his family to wait for October 2014 general elections in order to avoid being blamed for Botswana Democratic Party’s poor showing.
Magang said the book was completed in 2013 and when he was about to approach the publisher, his family advised against such move because he could have been blamed for the party elections result in case the opposition gave the party a hiding. The Magang family understood that the book, in the former Minister’s usual element would divide the opinion and prove to be controversial.
Magang’s first book, “The Magic of Perseverance,” which was an autobiography was controversial as Magang bluntly attacked his former government and party colleagues over a number of policy issues including diamond beneficiation, citizen empowerment and favouritism of foreign owned businesses at the expense of Batswana by the government.
His second book is no different, and in a party which was already ailing ahead of the elections, the decision not to publish back in 2013 made perfect sense for Magang. In the aftermath of the 2014 general elections, BDP emerged from the elections bruised, losing a significant number of strongholds to opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the process. Its popular vote fell for the first time in its history to 47 percent.
Magang said that the results would have turned out even worse had he published before the elections and he would have been blamed for aiding opposition to take power with his excessive criticism of his own party and a government he was once part of. “We had to wait because I was also not in a hurry, and had to avoid a situation where the opposition young Turks had a field day in using the book as reference,” he said.
Magang said he was aware that the former Speaker of the National Assembly Margaret Nasha’s “Madam Speaker Sir” received its own share of blame for the party’s poor performance, adding that, had he too published earlier he would have been equally blamed.
Magang also shared his worries over a growing trend in which people are victimized for expressing their views by publishing books, saying it could be the reason former influential politicians did not write or publish their own books.
He also bemoaned the prohibitive publishing process saying it deterred a lot of people from publishing their own books. He said publishers are skeptical about publishing anyone’s book in the fear of not selling enough copies, and therefore not making profit.
Magang further expressed the desire to see the University of Botswana establishing its own press for the purpose of publishing books mainly for academic purposes. Magang says it was a world trend for universities to have their own press to easily publish journals and books from their academic staff.
Professor Brothers Malema, a guest of honour at the book launch said the unapologetic book embodied the current state of affairs and why Botswana has not prospered contrary to what the world has been made to believe by the international credit institutions.
Malema observed that while Magang is not an economist by training, the book is up to standard and somehow exceeded expectations; he encouraged local economists and academics alike to read the book.
The launch of the book was attended by high profile personas in form of ambassadors, Members of Parliament, Cabinet ministers (present and former), and other influential members of the society.
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.
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.