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Khama plans BDP return

It has been barely a year since the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) gave birth to the Botswana Patriotic Party (BPF) after a massive fallout between the current President Mokgweetsi Masisi and former President Ian Khama.

Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has warmed up to the idea of smoking a peace pipe with his successor, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, and he is prepared to return to his former political home.  Khama and Masisi fell out following the latter’s ascendency to the presidency. The fall out is attributed to the idea that Masisi breached some of the agreements that the two men had prior to Khama leaving office.

Before Khama’s departure as President, it was believed that he had chosen someone whom he will control post Presidency.  However, the moment Khama left the office, Masisi emerged from the woods, proving to be his own man. However, this publication has gathered that Khama is ready to retrace his steps after he failed to dislodge Masisi from the top seat in the 2019 general elections, but Masisi is not yet ready to accept his former boss.

When Khama left BDP last year, he caused a trail of destruction, with BDP losing the majority of seats in the Central District for the first time since independence, including the three Serowe constituencies. It is reported that Khama was hurt by Masisi’s action hence he wanted him removed from the presidency. The former President went on to form a political party and a political alliance with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

With elections gone, and Masisi still in power, Khama is attempting to put their differences aside. Some senior BDP members (names withheld) allegedly tried to soften Masisi by persuading him to accept Khama back but he declined and dismissed them outright. “I don’t think the President [Masisi] is ready to deal with such an issue at this point in time. He infuriates at the mention of Khama’s name, they are many issues surrounding their fallout and it will take time to put their differences aside,” revealed a source.

Furthermore, sources have revealed that the reason why Khama’s big comeback might be weighing heavily on the President is because he is not sure on whether or not he can be trusted again.
“Who knows what the motive behind this possible comeback might be? After a series of battles that unfolded last year prior to elections, the idea itself sends mixed signals.”

However, it is reported that some members within the BDP have advised Khama to go public about his quest to make peace between him and his predecessor. Khama has been accused of working with the current Secretary General of the BDP, Mpho Balopi in an initiative to help him in his pursuit for the Chairmanship of the party.

It is alleged that factions are already looming in the BDP, some vouching for Khama’s big comeback. Moreover, Balopi is reported to be working with former President Ian Khama, which does not sit well with President Masisi.Reports from sources say that Balopi justifies his working relationship by saying that he and Khama have known each other from time immemorial and he is what he is because of Khama.

Balopi first became the party SG at the time when Khama was leading the party. As it is, Balopi is the third most senior member of the party, coming after Masisi and Tsogwane. While Khama could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print, few weeks ago he confirmed that there are talks on going involving party elders about the possibility of him re-uniting with his former party.

Khama’s comment came in the wake of a BDP statement by Masisi affirming that Khama was not a member of the ruling party. Masisi’s statement was, according to sources, triggered by the developments in the party when some claimed that Khama had not formal resigned from the party, therefore entitled to return at any time he wishes.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021
Botswana-economic-recovery-depends-on-successful-vaccine-rollout---BoB-

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021
Inside-the-UB-BDF-fighter-Jet-tragedy-report

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.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021
JAKO HUBONA

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.

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