Connect with us
Friday, 19 April 2024

BDF promotions: Soldiers warned, told to shut-up


Army generals at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks (SSKB) have given junior officers, who have been vocal about questioning the recent promotions, warnings and told them to shut-up because matters of progression at the army are way above their authority, WeekendPost has established.

Some soldiers, especially those that did not make it to the promotions list, were incensed after the release of the list. They cited that the criterion used was unfair and the seniors used it to favour some who even failed the set physical test which is used as a guide for progression in the army.

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]The concerned army officers even suggested that Commander in Chief who is also President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, set up a commission of inquiry to scrutinize the ‘biased’ elevations. As things stand, the pugnacity of the officers has now provoked the nerves of the generals who this week gave some of the officers’ serious warnings, commanding them to abstain from the matter.

“Now some have been given verbal warnings, while some received letters inviting them to disciplinary hearings after they demanded explanations about the promotions,” a soldier who preferred to remain anonymous said this week.

It is said the seniors at Botswana Defense Force (BDF) are of the view that questioning their decision on promotions is tantamount to insubordination and indiscipline which are the cornerstone of the institution.

On the other hand the aggrieved soldiers say this is the usual reason spouted by seniors to avoid accountability. “The problem with BDF is that they like instilling fear on us; and whenever we try to raise something you are punished somehow and this is really frustrating,” added the anonymous army officer.

BDF Head of Protocol and Public Affairs, Tebo Dikole could not comprehensibly talk to the promotion issue. “Please note that the issue of staff promotions in the Botswana Defense Force is purely administrative and an internal matter,” he briefly responded to this publication’s enquiries.

Of main concern from the officers, especially the Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) is the system used for the promotions. “It is a frustrating that an officer from intake 65 is not promoted but then someone from intake 70 is promoted thereby becoming their senior. We have long said that at the least, those who have been serving could be promoted first then juniors later because now we are breeding an angry and frustrated force,” another officer submitted.

It is argued that from intake 65 (2012) by now they could be Lance Corporal but some are left behind while those that arrived in the barracks later are elevated at the speed of light. Further the soldiers say their leaders should follow the BDF Act to the letter which specifies that an officer should stay two years in a rank and progress, this is not being practiced, they say.

The contention from the soldiers is, despite having worked the army for many years they will have to retire to poverty with nothing to show for their dedicated service. “If you promote someone you are increasing his retirement age, which is according to their ranks anyway. So those that have been working for long and did not get promoted it means they will retire to poverty, but if they could have been promoted it would increase their retirement age.”

Among the tools used to guide promotions are; Physical Test – which requires one to complete 2.7 kilometers run, sit ups and push-ups. Overall performance on the job and discipline are also considered. The physical test is the main tool which unfortunately, but understandably see many of the old soldiers failing because of age.


As displeasure emanating from the promotions gains accretion, soldiers accuse their leaders for unfairness in the army which they say is not good for the security of the country. Commander Lt General Placid Segokgo and his deputy Major General Gotsileene Morake have been called on to act; because “something is just not right”.

“We are let down by the leadership, commander and his deputy are the problem they don’t want voices of reason or to take advice let alone engagements. If possible we need new commandership in BDF there are lots of capable officers here,” expressed another soldier. Despite the complaints by the officers, BDF is ranked as one of the best armies in Africa and the world, an image they have always been consistent about since its inception in the late 70’s. [/ihc-hide-content]


Nigerians, Zimbabweans apply for Chema Chema Fund

16th April 2024

Fronting activities, where locals are used as a front for foreign-owned businesses, have been a long-standing issue in Botswana. These activities not only undermine the government’s efforts to promote local businesses but also deprive Batswana of opportunities for economic empowerment, officials say. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has warned of heavy penalties for those involved in fronting activities especially in relation to the latest popular government initiative dubbed Chema Chema.

According to the Ministry, the Industrial Development Act of 2019 clearly outlines the consequences of engaging in fronting activities. The fines of up to P50,000 for first-time offenders and P20,000 plus a two-year jail term for repeat offenders send a strong message that the government is serious about cracking down on this illegal practice. These penalties are meant to deter individuals from participating in fronting activities and to protect the integrity of local industries.

“It is disheartening to hear reports of collaboration between foreigners and locals to exploit government initiatives such as the Chema Chema Fund. This fund, administered by CEDA and LEA, is meant to support informal traders and low-income earners in Botswana. However, when fronting activities come into play, the intended beneficiaries are sidelined, and the funds are misused for personal gain.” It has been discovered that foreign nationals predominantly of Zimbabwean and Nigerian origin use unsuspecting Batswana to attempt to access the Chema Chema Fund. It is understood that they approach these Batswana under the guise of drafting business plans for them or simply coming up with ‘bankable business ideas that qualify for Chema Chema.’

Observers say the Chema Chema Fund has the potential to uplift the lives of many Batswana who are struggling to make ends meet. They argue that it is crucial that these funds are used for their intended purpose and not siphoned off through illegal activities such as fronting. The Ministry says the warning it issued serves as a reminder to all stakeholders involved in the administration of these funds to ensure transparency and accountability in their disbursement.

One local commentator said it is important to highlight the impact of fronting activities on the local economy and the livelihoods of Batswana. He said by using locals as a front for foreign-owned businesses, opportunities for local entrepreneurs are stifled, and the economic empowerment of Batswana is hindered. The Ministry’s warning of heavy penalties is a call to action for all stakeholders to work together to eliminate fronting activities and promote a level playing field for local businesses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s warning of heavy penalties for fronting activities is a necessary step to protect the integrity of local industries and promote economic empowerment for Batswana. “It is imperative that all stakeholders comply with regulations and work towards a transparent and accountable business environment. By upholding the law and cracking down on illegal activities, we can ensure a fair and prosperous future for all Batswana.”










Continue Reading


Merck Foundation and African First Ladies mark World Health Day 2024

15th April 2024

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks “World Health Day” 2024 together with Africa’s First Ladies who are also Ambassadors of MerckFoundation “More Than a Mother” Campaign through their Scholarship and Capacity Building Program. Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “At Merck Foundation, we mark World Health Day every single day of the year over the past 12 years, by building healthcare capacity and transforming patient care across Africa, Asia and beyond.

I am proud to share that Merck Foundation has provided over 1740 scholarships to aspiring young doctors from 52 countries, in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Embryology & Fertility specialty, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Advanced Surgical Practice, Pain Management, General Surgery, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Internal Medicine, Trauma & Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Cardiology, Stroke Medicine, Care of the Older Person, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Child Health, Obesity & Weight Management, Women’s Health, Biotechnology in ART and many more”.

As per the available data, Africa has only 34.6% of the required doctors, nurses, and midwives. It is projected that by 2030, Africa would need additional 6.1 million doctors, nurses, and midwives*. “For Example, before the start of the Merck Foundation programs in 2012; there was not a single Oncologist, Fertility or Reproductive care specialists, Diabetologist, Respiratory or ICU specialist in many countries such as The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea, Burundi, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Namibia among others. We are certainly creating historic legacy in Africa, and also beyond. Together with our partners like Africa’s First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Gender, Education and Communication, we are impacting the lives of people in the most disadvantaged communities in Africa and beyond.”, added Senator Dr. Kelej. Merck Foundation works closely with their Ambassadors, the African First Ladies and local partners such as; Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building healthcare capacity and addressing health, social & economic challenges in developing countries and under-served communities. “I strongly believe that training healthcare providers and building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to equitable and quality at health care in Africa.

Therefore, I am happy to announce the Call for Applications for 2024 Scholarships for young doctors with special focus on female doctors for our online one-year diploma and two year master degree in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties, which includes both Online Diploma programs and On-Site Fellowship and clinical training programs. The applications are invited through the Office of our Ambassadors and long-term partners, The First Ladies of Africa and Ministry of Health of each country.” shared Dr . Kelej. “Our aim is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people by building healthcare capacity across Africa, Asia and other developing countries. We are strongly committed to transforming patientcare landscape through our scholarships program”, concluded Senator Kelej.

Continue Reading


Interpol fugitive escapes from Botswana

15th April 2024

John Isaak Ndovi, a Tanzanian national embroiled in controversy and pursued under a red notice by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), has mysteriously vanished, bypassing a scheduled bail hearing at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court in Gaborone. Previously apprehended by Botswana law enforcement at the Tlokweng border post several months earlier, his escape has ignited serious concerns.

Accused of pilfering assets worth in excess of P1 million, an amount translating to roughly 30,000 Omani Riyals, Ndovi has become a figure of paramount interest, especially to the authorities in the Sultanate of Oman, nestled in the far reaches of Asia.

The unsettling news of his disappearance surfaced following his failure to present himself at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court the preceding week. Speculation abounds that Ndovi may have sought refuge in South Africa in a bid to elude capture, prompting a widespread mobilization of law enforcement agencies to ascertain his current location.

In an official communiqué, Detective Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Selebatso Mokgosi of Interpol Gaborone disclosed Ndovi’s apprehension last September at the Tlokweng border, a capture made possible through the vigilant issuance of the Interpol red notice.

At 36, Ndovi is implicated in a case of alleged home invasion in Oman. Despite the non-existence of an extradition treaty between Botswana and Oman, Nomsa Moatswi, the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), emphasized that the lack of formal extradition agreements does not hinder her office’s ability to entertain extradition requests. She highlighted the adoption of international cooperation norms, advocating for collaboration through the lenses of international comity and reciprocity.

Moatswi disclosed the intensified effort by law enforcement to locate Ndovi following his no-show in court, and pointed to Botswana’s track record of extraditing two international fugitives from France and Zimbabwe in the previous year as evidence of the country’s relentless pursuit of legal integrity.

When probed about the potential implications of Ndovi’s case on Botswana’s forthcoming evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Moatswi reserved her speculations. She acknowledged the criticality of steering clear of blacklisting, suggesting that this singular case is unlikely to feature prominently in the FATF’s assessment criteria.


Continue Reading