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The Fourth Kgosi, Besele Of Barolong.


Contrary to popular myth when Dikgosi Bathoen I, Khama III and Sebele I boarded the steamship RMS Tantallon Castle at Cape Town on the afternoon of Wednesday 21 August 1895 bound for Britain they were joined by Prince Besele also known as Wessels of the Barolong boo Ratshidi who was acting for his then ailing father Kgosi Montshiwa.

Besele and Montshiwa had met with Bathoen, Khama and Sebele in Mahikeng on the 14 August 1895, during which the Barolong were encouraged to join the delegation. On the 15 of August a kgotla meeting was held in which Besele and the Barolong Tribal Secretary Stephen Lefenya were designated to join the mission to Britain.

Also embarking on the Tantallon Castle on the 21 August 1895 were the then Tribal Secretaries of the Bangwaketse, David Sebonego, Bangwato, Simon Seisa and Bakwena, Kehutile Gohiwamang, Bathoen's brother Kwenaetsile, the Rev. William Charles Willoughby and his son Howard (who bound for school).

When the ship docked at Plymouth, England at 6AM on the morning of Friday 6 September 1895 the delegation was further joined by the LMS Missionary the Rev. Howard Lloyd and the Wesleyan Missionary Rev. Alfred Spring Sharp, both of whom were already in England on furlough. Sharp had been sent to assist Besele and Lefenya.

While the mission of Bathoen, Khama and Sebele was focused on trying to prevent the Bechuanaland Protectorate from being placed under the jurisdiction of Cecil Rhodes Chartered Company, Besele's primary goal was to try to halt the transfer of the then Crown Colony of British Bechuanaland (south of the Molopo) to the jurisdiction of the Cape Colony; although he also had a stake in preventing the Barolong Farms within the Protectorate from falling under Rhodes.

Unfortunately for the Barolong, the British barred Besele and Lefenya from meeting with the Colonial Secretary Joe Chamberlain on the afternoon of Wednesday the 11 September 1895 alongside the other three Dikgosi. Instead the transfer of British Bechuanaland was fast tracked, being finalised on 16 November 1895, while the Colonial Office conspired with the Chartered Company to expropriate the Barolong Farms.

Seeing that their situation was hopeless, Besele and Lefenya decided to cut their losses and return home on Friday the 27 September 1895, boarding the R.M.S Drummond Castle in London bound for Cape Town. Dikgosi Bathoen, Khama and Sebele and their companions finally departed from England almost two months later on Saturday 23 November 1895. This followed their brief audience with Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on 20 November 1895.

Besele mother Tshadinyana, was a sister of Bathoen’s father Gaseitsiwe.  In 1896 he assumed the throne upon the death of his father. He is further remembered for leading the Barolong during the siege 217-day (1899-1900) siege battle of Mahikeng.

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Is COVID-19 Flogging an Already Dead Economic Horse?

9th September 2020

The Central Bank has by way of its Monetary Policy Statement informed us that the Botswana economy is likely to contract by 8.9 percent over the course of the year 2020.

The IMF paints an even gloomier picture – a shrinkage of the order of 9.6 percent.  That translates to just under $2 billion hived off from the overall economic yield given our average GDP of roughly $18 billion a year. In Pula terms, this is about P23 billion less goods and services produced in the country and you and I have a good guess as to what such a sum can do in terms of job creation and sustainability, boosting tax revenue, succouring both recurrent and development expenditure, and on the whole keeping our teeny-weeny economy in relatively good nick.

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Union of Blue Bloods

9th September 2020

Joseph’s and Judah’s family lines conjoin to produce lineal seed

Just to recap, General Atiku, the Israelites were not headed for uncharted territory. The Promised Land teemed with Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These nations were not simply going to cut and run when they saw columns of battle-ready Israelites approach: they were going to fight to the death.

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Security Sector Private Bills: What are they about?

9th September 2020

Parliament has begun debates on three related Private Members Bills on the conditions of service of members of the Security Sector.

The Bills are Prisons (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Police (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Botswana Defence Force (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bills seek to amend the three statutes so that officers are placed on full salaries when on interdictions or suspensions whilst facing disciplinary boards or courts of law.

In terms of the Public Service Act, 2008 which took effect in 2010, civil servants who are indicted are paid full salary and not a portion of their emolument. Section 35(3) of the Act specifically provides that “An employee’s salary shall not be withheld during the period of his or her suspension”.

However, when parliament reformed the public service law to allow civil servants to unionize, among other things, and extended the said protection of their salaries, the process was not completed. When the House conferred the benefit on civil servants, members of the disciplined forces were left out by not accordingly amending the laws regulating their employment.

The Bills stated above seeks to ask Parliament to also include members of the forces on the said benefit. It is unfair not to include soldiers or military officers, police officers and prison waders in the benefit. Paying an officer who is facing either external or internal charges full pay is in line with the notion of ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat or the presumption of innocence; that the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies.

The officers facing charges, either internal disciplinary or criminal charges before the courts, must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Paying them a portion of their salary is penalty and therefore arbitrary. Punishment by way of loss of income or anything should come as a result of a finding on the guilt by a competent court of law, tribunal or disciplinary board.

What was the rationale behind this reform in 2008 when the Public Service Act was adopted? First it was the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered “innocent until proven guilty”. In terms of the constitution and other laws of Botswana, the presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and it is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11.

Withholding a civil servant’s salary because they are accused of an internal disciplinary offense or a criminal offense in the courts of law, was seen as punishment before a decision by a tribunal, disciplinary board or a court of law actually finds someone culpable. Parliament in its wisdom decided that no one deserves this premature punishment.

Secondly, it was considered that people’s lives got destroyed by withholding of financial benefits during internal or judicial trials. Protection of wages is very important for any worker. Workers commit their salaries, they pay mortgages, car loans, insurances, schools fees for children and other things. When public servants were experiencing salary cuts because of interdictions, they lost their homes, cars and their children’s future.

They plummeted into instant destitution. People lost their livelihoods. Families crumbled. What was disheartening was that in many cases, these workers are ultimately exonerated by the courts or disciplinary tribunals. When they are cleared, the harm suffered is usually irreparable. Even if one is reimbursed all their dues, it is difficult to almost impossible to get one’s life back to normal.

There is a reasoning that members of the security sector should be held to very high standards of discipline and moral compass. This is true. However, other more senior public servants such as judges, permanent secretary to the President and ministers have faced suspensions, interdictions and or criminal charges in the courts but were placed on full salaries.

The yardstick against which security sector officers are held cannot be higher than the aforementioned public officials. It just wouldn’t make sense. They are in charge of the security and operate in a very sensitive area, but cannot in anyway be held to higher standards that prosecutors, magistrates, judges, ministers and even senior officials such as permanent secretaries.

Moreover, jail guards, police officers and soldiers, have unique harsh punishments which deter many of them from committing misdemeanors and serious crimes. So, the argument that if the suspension or interdiction with full pay is introduced it would open floodgates of lawlessness is illogical.

Security Sector members work in very difficult conditions. Sometimes this drives them into depression and other emotional conditions. The truth is that many seldom receive proper and adequate counseling or such related therapies. They see horrifying scenes whilst on duty. Jail guards double as hangmen/women.

Detectives attend to autopsies on cases they are dealing with. Traffic police officers are usually the first at accident scenes. Soldiers fight and kill poachers. In all these cases, their minds are troubled. They are human. These conditions also play a part in their behaviors. They are actually more deserving to be paid full salaries when they’re facing allegations of misconduct.

To withhold up to 50 percent of the police, prison workers and the military officers’ salaries during their interdiction or suspensions from work is punitive, insensitive and prejudicial as we do not do the same for other employees employed by the government.

The rest enjoy their full salaries when they are at home and it is for a good reason as no one should be made to suffer before being found blameworthy. The ruling party seems to have taken a position to negate the Bills and the collective opposition argue in the affirmative. The debate have just began and will continue next week Thursday, a day designated for Private Bills.

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