Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Director, Protocol and Public Affairs Colonel Tebo Dikole has this week slammed Botswana Police for talking and discussing BDF operational matters with the media and members of the public.
Dikole was referring to a new shooting incident that is reported to have occurred this week, where members of the BDF exchanged fire with poachers at Shaile. Asked to confirm nor deny whether the incident took place, Colonel Tebo Dikole said he cannot discuss BDF operational matters with members of the media or the general public.
“Such issues are very sensitive and can constitutes to national security if discussed with a third party. That police officer who was quoted, we do not know where he got that information. He is better placed to answer your questions,” said Dikole. On Monday, March 16, it was reported that five suspected elephant poachers escaped following a fire exchange with members of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) anti- poaching team in the Shaile area of the Chobe National Park in the afternoon.
This follows another incident where a BDF officer and a poacher was killed when they exchanged fire at the Chief’s Island a few days back. In a twist of events, impeccable sources within the military told WeekendPost that the BDF soldiers were ambushed by poachers at their base and instead soldiers ran for their lives. “This is when the exchange took place in broad day light, the soldiers were not on patrol as it is reported,” said the source.
Speaking to local media Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Chipisani who is the officer-in charge at the Narcotics, Fauna and Flora Investigations department in Kasane said no soldier in the BDF patrol team was hurt in the shoot-out. He explained that on Monday at around 4 pm, members of the BDF anti-poaching patrolling team who were at Shaile had a sudden confrontation with the poachers and there was serious exchange of fire before the poachers escaped.
“Unfortunately, all the five poachers managed to escape. Again fortunately, none of our soldiers were injured,” he said. Assistant Superintendent Chipisani explained that they suspected that the poachers were from neighbouring countries of Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Previously, WeekendPost inquired about the number of members of the Special Forces and Infantry Units currently deployed in the anti- poaching operations at Chief’s Island in the Okavango area. The BDF declined to comment on the matter since they considered it “operational matters that cannot be shared with the media and the public.”
Dikole has however refuted reports that lapse in anti-poaching mission is a result of disgruntled members within the military. “The BDF in the execution of its mission of defending Botswana’s Territorial Integrity, Sovereignty and National Interests is not driven by the profit or remuneration. All BDF members to include Special Forces performance hinges on one of our core value of ‘Duty’ which succinctly states that, ‘Duty is accomplishing all assigned tasks to the fullest of our ability’,” Colonel Dikole said.
“The BDF wishes to underscore the fact that there is a marked difference between BDF members and mercenaries whose prime or sole motivation is private gain, whereas BDF members have been capacitated to put service before self as anything to the contrary would render such an individual not a member of the BDF in good standing”.
Dikole said the BDF continues to urge media houses not to mislead the public in the quest for a scoop on anti- poaching operations by attributing increased poaching to supposedly disgruntled BDF members. He said poaching of rhinos in many countries has spiked up because of the astronomically high returns on the value of the rhino horn which is alleged to be around sixty five dollars ($65 000) per kg in the illegal market.
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.