Botswana Police this week clashed with Good Hope Senior Secondary School students following unruly behavior by some students who hurled stones at the school night watchmen, WeekendPost can reveal.
It is understood that the students started by firing stones at the watchmen who were on duty at the time. In turn, the furious watchmen launched a vain attempt to quell the onslaught by the students who were in their numbers. The watchmen called in the Police who arrived with weapons, invading the students in their hostels.
“We learnt that some of our colleagues threw stones at the watchmen and he roped in the Police, and when the Police came they beat all of us with sjamboks, they fired rubber bullets and tear gas. They came loaded with all those weapons. Some students even suffered injuries and were admitted at the hospital,” one student who pleaded for anonymity, told this publication at the scene.
WeekendPost arrived on the scene on Wednesday to get first hand information; some students were reported to be in hospital after suffering some injuries due to the clash. When the team left the scene in the late afternoon, some students were seen riding at the back of a police van after having been taken in for questioning on the matter. At the time of going to press, it was not clear if any of the students had been charged with any offence. It is still unclear why the students started the battle or hurled stones at the watchmen.
The Good Hope school management were not forthcoming when asked about the possible reasons for the student’s demonstration, insisting that the investigations are ongoing and could therefore not ascertain facts surrounding the matter.
Chief Education Officer in Good Hope Sub region, Mr Basil Ncaagae confirmed the incident. “There were indeed some disturbances in school as some school boys were agitated and in the process started throwing stones all over; as a result, the school management employed internal security which failed to cool down the students and they engaged the Police who came with their responding mechanisms and invaded the rowdy students.”
He said Ncaagae also confirmed that during the confrontation, some students were injured: “Three students were injured and taken to the hospital; however, police investigations are still continuing,” he emphasised. But the number differs with that of the students who maintained in an interview with this publication that more than 50 students suffered injuries during the clash.
The group of students who spoke to WeekendPost stated that the beatings they experienced at the hands of Government security agents were cruel and apart from physical torture, they may suffer psychological trauma that may lead to poor performance at the ongoing examination sitting.
Ncaagae also revealed that there are 2,000 students in Good Hope Senior Secondary and 95 percent are said to be boarding in the facility. It is understood that those who board at school may, due to their numerical strength, prone to causing unruly behavior.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Good Hope/Mabule, James Mathokgwane was spotted at the school accompanied by Okavango MP Bagalatia Arone who were to be briefed on the development and possibly come up with interventions in the matter.
Arone’s attendance at the meeting was precipitated by the existence of students from his constituency who were transferred to Good Hope school following their dismal failure at their first exam sitting as the school. The newly built Shakawe Senior Secondary School opened late during last during 2013 and this affected the students performance at the Botswana General Certificate Secondary Education (BGCSE) sitting. It remains to be seen if they will suffer the same fate should this clash affect their studies and their performance when the results are released early in 2015.
In earnest, Ncaagae believes that “the students are fairly well behaved but ofcourse problems may be there and others here and there, may misbehave.” He added that the police-students clash has not affected examinations which are currently in progress.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.