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Namibia mulling action against Botswana over BDF inquest ruling

In what is seen as the Government of Namibias disappointment at the inquest ruling into the killing of its citizens by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), the neighbouring country has said that its citizens and families of three Namibians and their Zambian citizen were expecting an appropriate closure to this unfortunate incident.

In a statement, Namibias Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said the Government of the Republic of Namibia has taken note of the verdict on the Inquest into the killing by the Botswana Defence Force of three Namibian nationals and their Zambian cousin, which was delivered in the Kasane Magistrate Court, in the Republic of Botswana, on 20 January 2022.

The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation wishes to inform that the 54-page judgment is receiving legal scrutiny by Government Attorneys and that a pronouncement will be made in due course; as the Namibian nation and the family of the deceased were expecting an appropriate closure to this unfortunate incident, said Nandi-Ndaitwah.

The latest statement by the Namibian Government comes after the Namibian Lives Matter (NLM) movement announced that it would approach the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) in an effort to have an impartial inquest into the killing of four men along the Chobe River by the Botswana army in 2020.

We take note of the verdict by the Botswana Magistrate in the matter of the killings of the Nchindo brothers and their cousin by the BDF handed down. We have received the verdict and our lawyers are studying it so that we issue our legal response and legal remedies soon, NLM national chairperson Sinvula Mudabeti said. He said they consider the verdict as highly biased and miscarriage of justice by Botswana.

We will now seek legal recourse and redress from SADC, the AU and the UN where an impartial court will handle this matter independent of Namibia and Botswana, said Mudabeti. He said the verdict is a clear indication that Botswana is a country that does not have respect for human rights and the sanctity of life, especially for Namibians. We also take note that the verdict is also a license to BDF to shoot and kill Namibians as they please. We are heading to SADC, the African UNION and the United Nations to register a case of espionage, torture and executions of innocent and unarmed Namibians by trigger happy BDF, he said.

He said they will soon call for community meetings to engage our people so as to adopt a long term strategy against Botswana. Be assured that the long arm of justice will ultimately catch up with Botswana. We shall not rest until justice is achieved. Together we are stronger, said Mudabeti. Meanwhile Zambezi Development Association chairperson Blessing Maanda was quoted by the Namibian press as saying the Namibian government was to blame for the ruling, saying they were not prepared, and that this was also evident in the case of Kasikili Island, which Namibia has also lost.

He reportedly said the inquest was not only supposed to focus on the deaths of the four fishermen, but also on the other 33 people who have lost their lives at the hands of the BDF. We can blame the Botswana court ruling, but the truth is there was no joint investigation. The leaders have failed us when it comes to the BDF soldiers killing our people. Our chances to take the case further is compromised because of a lack of preparation from our side, he was quoted as saying.

Delivering her ruling recently, Kasane regional magistrate Taboka Mopipi found the BDF had no intent to kill the four men but only retaliated after the slain fishermen shot at them. Therefore, the BDF members cannot be held criminally liable for the deaths of the deceased persons, she said.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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