The high court would on Monday next week begin the trial on the demand by a group of Ranyane residents who would want the government to restore services it used to provide to them prior to the forced relocation of some residents to the neighbouring Bere settlement.
The demanded services include, free clean water, Ipelegeng and the mobile clinic which were cut out from the settlement shortly after the residents successfully stopped the relocation exercise through the high court last year.
The tribesmen of the Kgalagadi dessert in the Gantsi Administration who include Basarwa and Bakgalagadi would appear before Justice Terrence Rannowane of the Gaborone High court to register their grievances, their legal representative, Onalethata Kambai of Kambai Attorneys has confirmed.
The Ranyane residents who most of them live in abject poverty would have to travel hundreds of kilometres to Gaborone ahead of the Christmas holidays with the hope that they would have free clean water reopened for them very soon.
Most of the residents of Ranyane seldom bath their bodies and wash their clothes due to the limited fresh water from the borehole. The residents buy diesel to keep the borehole engine running from the little monies they get from working in the neighbouring farms. The government has stopped the draught relieve and poverty eradication programmes (Ipelegeng) from Ranyane and has taken away the engine borehole.
The desperate residents had to sell their livestock and bought the borehole engine and to date the unemployed people contribute every month to buy 2000 litres of diesel for the engine. The village itself has no fuel station and therefore they have to travel a long distance to buy the diesel from another village every month.
According to some of Ranyane residents, the people were left “hungry, dirty, ill, penniless and secluded. Even the destitute programmes are far from our reach and the elderly are not getting their pensions.”
Since the mobile clinic stopped coming to the settlement the residents have no access to contraceptives and say they are often left to have unprotected sex and exposed to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS.
They would then have to travel some forty kilometres and some time by foot to the nearby Metsimantsho settlement to get health care.
Some of the residents claim that they eat wild roots everyday such that they are getting depleted. The government has denied these people hunting licences and in the absence of food they depend on wild roots and berries.
Kashe Gadisele one of the plaintiffs in the matter added that he is certain that the government is denying his people rights to enjoy their share of the country’s economy because they have refused to be moved from the ancestral land.
Last year Ranyane residents who refused to be forcefully moved from the wildlife reserve area to the Bere settlement took government to court and won the case. However the government never restored the services and the people are of the view that it is because the decision makers have not accepted defeat and would do anything to frustrate the victors in the case.
The Metsimantsho ward that also houses Ranyane, has voted against the ruling party in the just ended general elections and it is yet to be seen whether their ballot would help their case in any way.
The high profile case which has already attracted the attention of local and international human rights groups is set.
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.