Namibian Lives Matter, a Non-Governmental Organisation based in Namibia have this week announced its intention to report the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to the African Commission for violation of human rights following the death of four citizens at the hands of Botswana’s army in November 2020.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective (peoples) rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and considering individual complaints of violations of the Charter.
This includes investigating human rights violations, creating and approving programs of action towards encouraging human rights, and set-up effect communication between them and States (in this case Botswana and Namibia) to get first-hand information on violations of human rights.
The abuses of human rights is said to have occurred when the BDF shot dead the four men who were Nchindo brothers being; Tommy, Wamunyima and Martin (Namibians), together with Sinvula Munyeme (Zambian) – on 5 November 2020 – near Kasane in the Sedudu area in the Southern channel of Chobe River. Botswana has adopted a “shoot to kill” policy over poachers, real or suspicious, in her territorial space.
The BDF killed the “fishermen” with the belief that they were a syndicate of poachers believed to be part of a network responsible for cross-border organised poaching for rhinoceros and elephants, especially in the western part of the country (Okavango Delta and in the Chobe National Park).
The National Executive Chairperson of Namibian Lives Matter, Sinvula Mudabeti, told The Namibian newspaper this week that they are preparing petitions for violation of human rights against the BDF and Botswana.
“We are also considering petitioning the African Commission on human and people’s rights. Our legal experts will soon draft heads of arguments for further transmission to the African Commission against the Namibian and Botswana governments,” the group Chairperson said.
He further continued: “We will also file a complaint at the (Namibian) Office of the Ombudsman to compel the government to release the report on the investigation of the Nchindo murders and for the State to adhere to its demands.”
When reached for comment, BDF Spokesperson Colonel Tebo Dikole downplayed the matter in an interview with WeekendPost this week, emphasising that they put Botswana’s interest and sovereignty ahead of anything else and that they do not harass (or continue to) the Namibians as the group Namibian Lives Matter alleges.
“Kindly note that the Botswana Defence Force’s mission is exclusively to defend Botswana’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national interests and does not entail the harassment of citizens nor the violation of neighbouring countries jurisdiction that include airspace,” the BDF mouthpiece, Dikole stressed to this publication on behalf of the BDF Commander, Lt General Placid Segokgo.
The BDF said this notwithstanding that there are fresh accusations levelled against the Botswana army for the unabated harassment of Namibians living along the border with Botswana by the BDF in the Zambezi region. The Namibian Lives Matter states that the BDF soldiers this year entered Namibian space with guns during their routine patrols invading Namibia.
“The BDF soldiers (were asked) why they had entered Namibia illegally and with guns. However, there was allegedly no response except that they were on patrol. The police were called to the scene but only came after the BDF helicopters left,” the Namibian NGO claims.
They maintained that this was not the only incident of harassment as many others had gone unreported, and they will now take the government to court as they have sufficient evidence that the government is failing to protect the people of the Zambezi region.
The then Acting permanent secretary in the Office of the President on behalf of the Botswana government communications, John Thomas Dipowe, released a joint statement between the two countries on the matter in December.
“Both governments recognise the need to adhere to the rule of law and at all times maintain respect for human rights by their respective law enforcement agencies in dealing with cases of this nature and that due process shall be followed by relevant authorities.
Going forward, an incident-free future is envisaged and desired by both governments and joint bilateral efforts will be put to play to avert a repeat of similar incidents,” it states. However, Dipowe did not state on how long the investigations into the killings will take and whether they will be made public — for closure on the matter.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.