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Minister Kwape is lying to you – Baaitses letter to UN

Following the governments contentious response to the United Nations Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (UNSR), businessman, Shadrack Baaitse has countered the information concerning his matters though a letter to the UNSR in which he details what he terms a string of lies by Minister Dr Lemogang Kwape.

In his letter, Baaitse says Kwape is lying when he says on the 3rd of November 2020, an armed robbery case was reported in Kumakwane involving a black station wagon Land Cruiser. I have noted with great concern that Mr Kwapes response carries a huge weight of falsified and fabricated information.

Firstly, there was NO reported armed robbery case on the 3rd November 2020 in Kumakwane involving a black Station Wagon Land Cruiser. The truth is that on the 27th October 2020 an armed robbery case was reported to have taken place in Kumakwane involving a Security systems cash in transit Ghanzi bound vehicle at or around 5AM. It is reported that 6 suspects overtook the cash in transit vehicle using a Ford Wild track (Double Cab) and made a U-turn facing Gaborone and started firing at the Cash in transit vehicle.

Baaitse says I must emphasize that this report was confirmed by Kweneng District Officer Commanding No: 11 Senior Superintendent Modise Gabatshwane. I have noted that Mr Kwape has deliberately lied to the special rapporteur to cover the brutality and gruesome acts the DIS has continued to carry out on what they call Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) such as myself and others who are deemed to be Masisi and Magosi critics.

There was NEVER a black station wagon Land Cruiser reported to be involved in an armed robbery case in Kumakwane on the 3rd November 2020 as Mr Kwape claims. This a plan to discredit my report which statement I gave to the Botswana Police Services in Serowe Police Station that the DIS planned my demise and tried to use the Botswana Police after several failed attempts by the DIS on trying to arrest me, pin me down (as Mr Peter Magosi has vowed) and do me harm as they warned me on the 18th September 2018 just because I am loyal to former President Khama.

At point number 10 of his letter, where he concern himself with why he did not pursue the DIS threat to kill further, Baaitse narrates:

As mentioned in the above paragraphs, I found no reason to lodge any further complaint to anyone or any state security agency save to say I have been filing reports and furnishing them to other organizations abroad. This is because the current regime under Mr Masisi and Magosi have deviated from the democratic pillars as demonstrated by several series of events and many high court judgements and no action is ever taken to pursue such reports and complaints.

My first unprecedented encounter with the current DIS was on the 18th September 2018 where I was detained in DIS Sebele office for over 4 hours where I was questioned about my relationship with former President Khama and former Director General Dis Colonel Isaac Kgosi whom I worked under during my time in the Botswana Defence force since I reported directly to them then. I reported such to the DIS Director General in his office in person but he has never gotten back to me save that he told me that there are certain politicians who are busy trying to destroy my name and he will sort them out for me

He continued that Magosi further asked me to work cooperatively with them and convince former President Khama to hand Isaac Kgosi over to them so that former President Khama could live his life freely. In that meeting Mr Magosi also said he is very much willing to assist me the current Botswana Unified Revenue Services Prevailing Securities Tax liability and he will instruct Mr Kaone Molapo to rectify the same if I agree to work with them the same way he has assisted Mr Tshephang Mabaila whose case was even worse since he had a criminal case.

He further disclosed that on the 3rd April 2019, he and Ms Marathe the who was then in the Botswana Police Services landed in Kang airstrip where he met my Prevailing Securities employees and as they complained to Ms Marathe about my whereabouts, he, Mr Magosi told Ms Dinah Marathe that she should not worry since he is in constant communications with me. It is therefore to my shock that Mr Kwapes response continues to demonstrate the dishonesty of the Masisi regime as they continue to lie about facts that are very much available in public domain.

The letter continues: I must further state that I am disappointed in the manner the Masisi regime conducts itself ranging from fabricating information as they have done here in my case and many others such as the Butterfly case and Isaac Kgosi arrest, the list is endless.

We live in fear for our lives, we are literally ex-communicated from our loved ones, my family has been subjected to constant surveillance, my businesses have been subjected to discrimination and backlisting by the current Government and her parastatals, including falsified tax liabilities using the draconic pay now and complain later tax act as demonstrated by court papers.

Baaitse further says it has been reported that Mr Magosi and Mr Masisi have also gone to an extent of lobbying 3 court of appeal judges to overturn certain high court judgements including my Prevailing Securities / BURS case since they embarrassed the State and such judges have been prepared to preside over those appeal cases and turn them down.

This information came to a close Court of Appeal Judge whom I consider a sister and a very close associate of Mr Magosi who shared her serious concern as to what evil I have done to Mr Magosi such that he is so seriously determined to destroy my life and acting jointly with Mr Kaone Molapo of the BURS to pin me to an 85 million Pula false Tax liability. This is just one of the indications that several Security agencies and other institutions such as the BURS, the DISS, the DPP, 3 or 4 members of the Judiciary have deviated from democratic practices, the rule of law, human rights practices and violated peoples constitutional rights, wrote Baaitse

I was never interviewed as alleged by Kwape

According to Kwape, following linkages to the robbery, Mr Baaitse was subjected to an interview and it was established in the interview that

he knew nothing about the robbery.

To this Baaitse says, wrote that he challenges Kwapa to produce evidence.

I must retaliate that I was never subjected to any interview, the two police officers asked for my national identity and upon noticing my identity they then contacted their superiors and recorded my details and mobile numbers and simply told me to go. The Botswana Police acted in theirprofessional duties as I stated above and did realize I was deliberately implicated, wrote Baaitse.

He continued the allegations here are false, I have never been subjected to any interview neither by any Government official, the Botswana Police nor Mr Kwapes Ministry or any. In a Democratic setup, where ones life is under threat as I have demonstrated with several reports including reporting to the Director General of the DIS Peter Fana Magosi, one has to be called for an interview by the concerned party, however, in my case I have never been asked to provide details apart from the letters I wrote to several organizations including the United Nations Secretary General, African Union, SADC and other human rights organizations abroad. I want to challenge Mr Kwape to provide the details of such interview and persons involved.


BAC graduates 727 students this year

9th December 2022

Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) last week held its 2022 graduation where 727 students graduated after spending the last two years of their academic studies navigating through the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is said that during the pandemic, BAC provided students with laptops, tablets and data sim cards to facilitate virtual learning and blended learning. The Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development at the ceremony, Wilhemina Makwnja noted that the students managed to create connections and build bridges to reach their ultimate goals, therefore their graduation is not only testimony of their strength and resilience, but it also demonstrates their commitment to excel by facing the challenges they encountered head on to break through the barriers and focused on their success.

“I trust that the graduates will build onto these qualities and competencies as they venture into the industry to impart their skills in the various sectors of the economy,” said Makwinja. She also shared that she strongly believes that the graduates will become agents of change and that they will take advantage of the spectrum of opportunities available in the market both locally and internationally.

Living in an era of digital economies, e-commerce, fin-tech and many other new eco-systems that have been created as the world continues to evolve, it is said to be inevitable that we all need to be steadfast and adapt to the rapid changes experienced before the pandemic. “As part of the transformation agenda, the Ministry of Entrepreneurship has been established with a mandate to drive development of sustainable industries and trade, and this can be achieved through ‘accelerated transformative investments in Botswana’,” said Makwinja.

She further noted it is through the Ministry that youth entrepreneurship projects will be supported including administration of the Youth Development Fund that facilitates funding commercialization of various youth projects. “There are other Government incentives in Agriculture which are aimed at supporting Batswana farmers with commercialization of their produce to supply both the local market and exporting to other markets,” added Makwinja.

The BAC Executive Director, Serty Leburu on the other hand enunciated that it was important to recognise that the past years they have gone through a lot of changes and mostly life defining moments as the school lost some valuable staff members and students during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The environment within which we operate has been changing rapidly and as an institution we have to constantly come up with some interventions and pivot ourselves in order to rise to the test and adapt,” said Leburu.

Leburu also renowned that they were also launching the BAC 2022-2027 Institutional Strategy focusing on key areas for Teaching and Learning, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Transition to University Status and Internationalization, Asset Mobilisation and Optimization as well as Student and Staff experience. “It is our ambition to continue to expand into other markets to provide access to our programs through partnerships and collaborations with both local and international private and public entities,” added Leburu

In addition to this, she reflected that research, innovation, and consultancy are some of the areas they are making strides to develop and grow in partnership with various stakeholders. Through the schools there are projects that are being worked on at various levels. “As BAC we continue to work with the industry and our partners, we assess the market to identify training and development needs to capacitate employees to meet the demands of the new and evolving economies,” concluded Leburu.

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Media have a Role in Accelerating Harm Reduction Adoption

8th December 2022

African Scientists and Experts Call for the adoption of a Harm Reduction in approach in Public Health Strategies and Tobacco Control. Media have a critical role to play in accelerating Harm Reduction efforts by informing and sensitizing cigarette smokers on the availability and benefits of alternative, potentially lower risk products to cigarretes. Traditional cessation and smoking prevention norms are not the only ways that smokers who cannot or don’t’ want to quit can make healthier choices that cause less harm to themselves and those around them.

This was said during the 2nd Harm Reduction Exchange conference for African journalists held in Nairobi, Kenya on the 1st of December 2022. Speaking at the Harm Reduction Exchange Conference, Integra Africa Principal Dr. Tendai Mhizha emphasized the role that journalists and media houses should play in handling misinformation and disinformation in tobacco harm reduction discourse that is actually perpetuating the death and disease caused by people continuing to smoke combustible cigarettes. “There has been a lot of disinformation surrounding the topic of nicotine and the alleged negative effects that e-cigarettes have on public health.

This has led to policies that disfavour risk reduces products and narratives that completely deny their benefits. The media have the difficult responsibility to curb the scourge of disinformation and misinformation on harm reduction just like on other socio-political stances that are prescriptive and do not uphold consumers’ right to healthier lifestyle choices,” Dr Mhizha said.

The Harm Reduction Exchange cast a spotlight on alternative ways to reduce harm among tobacco smokers. Held under the theme Harm Reduction: Making a difference in Africa, the conference focused on the progress being made through harm reduction strategies in all fields related to public health such as drug and alcohol abuse, excessive sugar consumption, skin lightening and other addictive and behavioral practices. A wide array of harm reduction strategies and initiatives that are deployed towards reducing unnecessary deaths through non-communicable diseases were presented and discussed.

On his part, Prof. Abdoul Kassé, a world renowned and awarded Oncologist and a Professor of Surgery at the Cancer Institute in Senegal, said that Harm Reduction is a powerful public A Summary of the HR Exchange 30th November  1st December 2022 health tool that has the potential to reduce cancer by 30% and should be at the centre of all public health development strategies. Harm reduction, he said, has already benefited many people in public health and is the most viable alternative in tobacco control.

It applies to areas where there is a need to reduce the harm associated with a practice or consumption of a substance that is overused in society leading to increased morbidity and mortality. “Innovative Harm Reduction initiatives will help to keep more Africans alive. Tobacco Harm Reduction initiatives, including the use of popular e-cigarettes, nicotine patches and chewing gums, have continued to generate a lot of misunderstanding in both the public health community and in the media. However, there is evidence that the use of potentially less harmful alternatives than cigarettes for those who are not willing or cannot give up smoking with currently approved methods may be a solution, not necessarily the best for everyone but by far better than continuous smoking.

Where cessation repeatedly fails, switching to less harmful products is expected to result in benefits for many smokers,” Prof. Abdoul Kassé said. Similarly, views were expressed by Kenya’s Dr. Vivian Manyeki who said tobacco Harm Reduction has a solid scientific and medical basis, and it has a lot of promise as a public health measure to assist millions of smokers. “Many smokers are unable, or at least unwilling, to achieve cessation through complete nicotine and tobacco abstinence. They continue smoking despite the very real and obvious adverse health consequences and against the multiple public health campaigns. Conventional smoking cessation proposals should be complemented with alternative but more realistic options through Harm Reduction,” Dr. Manyeki said.

Tobacco Harm Reduction was introduced to mitigate the damage caused by cigarette smoking—the most dangerous form of tobacco use, and the leading cause of preventable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “Nicotine has an addictive potential but plays a minor role in smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Across the world, there is growing interest among experts in novel approaches towards tobacco control and there is an ongoing discussion that reducing the negative effects of smoking can be also achieved by tobacco harm reduction,” Dr. Kgosi Letlape, an ophthalmologist and President of Africa Medical Association and the president of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa, said.

Tobacco cessation is a key factor in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Abstinence from tobacco smoking is one of the primary goals for health promotion and management globally but it is unachievable in a huge amount of cases. This task remains unaccomplished despite extensive public campaigns on the health dangers of tobacco smoking. Thus, the development of novel strategies to reduce smoking is imperative. Moreover, the use of innovations in smoking products has been currently adopted by several smokers to reduce the health risks of smoking.

“The Harm Reduction approach prevents drug-related deaths and overdose fatalities and is the only way out for addicts. In the same way these alternative technologies can reduce tobacco harm and accelerate the journey to a smoke-free world as they reduce exposure to toxicants,” Bernice Apondi, A Policy Manager at Voices of Community Action and Leadership Kenya (VOCAL-Kenya), said.

During the Harm Reduction Exchange, journalists drawn from Southern, West and East African countries, including: Nigeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe debated and set forth several resolutions in regards to the present and future as well as the challenges and progress made in Harm Reduction,and science-led regulation.

The Harm Reduction Exchange brought together high-level policy makers, physicians, scientists and health policy experts with media stakeholders from Africa in a lively mix of speeches, presentations, and panel discussions. The key note speakers included Prof Abdoul Aziz Kasse, Ms Bernice Opondi, Joseph Magero, Jonathan Fell, Chimwemwe Ngoma, Clive Bates, Dr. Kgosi Letlape, Dr. Vivian Manyeki and Dr. Tendai Mhizha.


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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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