Multitudes thronged Oodi Sub Landboard to apply for the few plots available
Some Kgatleng village chiefs have warned the Kgatleng Land Board to tread carefully on the issue of recent land applications and make sure that they select wisely.
The Kgatleng Land Board froze plot applications some years back under the popular catchphrase ‘Gagona lehatshe’ but recently invited interested people to apply for residential plots in the few villages in its area of jurisdiction.
Multitudes flocked to the district this week in persuit of their land ownership dream,bringing traffic on the Mochudi and Oodi roads to a standstill, prompting the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Botswana Police Service choppers and Special Support Group (SSG) to rescue the situation.
This publication has gathered that Kgatleng chiefs have expressed their reservation at the current system of allocating land and believe that the allocation process should be skewed in favour of original inhabitants of the areas.
In a brief interview, Kgatleng Land Board Chairperson Peggy Gaorutwe, confirmed this but was quick to say: “I heard and understood them well but I emphasised the need to follow the law as it is clear on that issue.”
Section 14 (1) of Botswana’s Constitution states, in part, that “No person shall be deprived of his freedom of movement, and for the purposes of this section the said freedom means the right to move freely throughout Botswana, the right to reside in any part of Botswana.”
It is understood that some chiefs expressed their concerns non-residents are usually uncooperative after being allocated land as they snub kgotla meetings and often appear unruly among other reasons.
Gaorutwe said the chiefs also told her that the inhabitants, particularly the youth, have always expressed concerns that the last allocations in Kgatleng were conducted a long time back after the board’s decision to freeze allocations. They also told the board chair that the same people hardly keep the land as they sell it within few months of allocation.
The land quota system is a system very much preferred by President, Lt Gen Ian Khama, something he alluded to in Kgatleng last year after the residents expressed their concern that some people “come from afar to take their land”.
According to Khama, a portion of land should be reserved for natives. Khama suggested that 70 percent should be allocated to the “owners of the land” especially around Gaborone while 30 percent should go to the “outsiders”.
The motion was initially brought before Parliament by South East South Member of Parliament (MP) Odirile Motlhale, but was shot down by unhappy MPs who argued the practice would sow seeds of tribalism.
The Oodi case and episodes this week exposed Botswana’s unpreparedness and lack of political will to resolve the land issue. The same issues and complications always arise and expose officials’ lack of vision, proper planning and the ability to respond swiftly and effectively to challenges.
Applications were thrown on the floor willy-nilly and it is unclear what selection criteria will be used. It was clear from the onset that the first-come-first-serve system had no place. Gaorutwe said they have a well-panned strategy on how they would deal with the applicants.
“They outnumbered our capacity, plans and expectations – brought down the fence and pushed their way in. No man would have controlled it,” she says further adding that they know what they will do.
The Tribal Land Act was reviewed in 1993 to make access to and ownership of tribal land democratic and inclusive. Botswana has unfortunately not been spared from tribal mistrust, tribal hegemony, tribal superiority and inferiority, among others. In his latest State-of-the-Nation Adress on land, President Khama said:
“The equitable and efficient distribution of land remains an area of both great opportunity and challenge. To address the shortage of serviced land, Government shall continue to undertake land servicing projects to promote economic development. The construction of Palapye Extension 11 land servicing project is expected to yield 3300 plots upon completion. In addition we will continue with infrastructure design projects for another eight areas around the country.”
He continued: “Government is also implementing additional measures that promote optimal utilisation and better management of our land resources through physical planning; Land Administration Processes, Capacity Building and Systems (LAPCAS) Project, which has so far resulted in the surveying of 234,525 plots countrywide. A project outcome will be the establishment of a land information centre as a collection of all land data in the country.”
Khama said as of now a total of 890,814 individual land records have been opened and secured, while Deeds Registry has captured 431,667 title deeds.
“Information collected through this project will benefit individual landholders as well as the country as a whole, since registered land titles can, for example, be used as collateral for loans,” he concluded.
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.