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Police buy high performance helicopters from France


The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgati has approved the sum of close to P130 Million to be used on the procurement of three helicopters for the air support branch of the Botswana Police Service ahead of this year’s Parliamentary budget session that starts in less than two weeks time.


Kgati authorised the use of the sum on Thursday this week, following approval by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) early last Month.


The actual amount is Euro 11 608 800. 00 and is for the supply, delivery and commissioning of the three AS350B3 helicopters, associated accessories and services by Airbus Helicopters Southern Africa, (Pty) Ltd of France.
The Air Support branch Director, Arthur Johnson confirmed in an interview this week that, the Police management would be meeting with the supplier on Monday next week at the Police Headquarters in Gaborone to finalise the agreement.


“We are negotiating and signing the contract on Monday. Of course that would be subject to agreement,” Johnson explained.


Currently Johnson’s branch which is located in the capital city Gaborone is operating with just two helicopters after another one perished in a horrific crush in the Maun area in April last year and killed three senior police officers including its pilot.


The two helicopters cater for all Police operations and cover the whole country hence Johnson has ordered the workhorse helicopters of powerful high-performance. Information retrieved from Airbus helicopter website suggests that the AS350B3 is designed to carry out the most demanding missions in the most extreme weather and geographical conditions and has exceptional lifting capability, high endurance, extended range and fast cruise speed which makes it a leader in its class.


In fact the helicopter of Johson’s choice holds a world record after it climbed to 3,000 meters 9,900 feet in two minutes twenty-one seconds and landed on Mount Everest a few years back.


According to its supplier, the AS350 B3 has over the past decade become the reference helicopter for airborne police units in the Sub-Sahara Africa where law enforcement agencies in Angola, Namibia and South Africa have also selected them due to its outstanding capabilities.


However it may take about a year before Johnson’s order flies the skies of Botswana due to processing requirements.


“These things take time. As you may be aware, we are not going to pay the whole procurement amount at a go. We pay for one service at a time until after delivery, that is when we do the final payment,” Johnson explained further.


The Air Support Branch was formed in 2009 to help combat the escalating crime and road accidents to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the Police service around the country. Its operations include response to call out, emergencies, monitoring of public gathering and big events, searching for missing persons, aerial photographs and videos, rooftop searches, borderline patrols and disaster rescue.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

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The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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