28 Mar 2023
The Botswana government has announced that it will address children up to the age of eight in their minority language at school. A new version of the National Language Policy has been made for this purpose. This promise has been made before and the new policy is very similar to "old wine in new bottles".
7 Feb 2023
Panda farmers look forward to bumper harvest. Mmegi Friday, February 03, 2023 | 80 Views |
Farmers in the country’s most commercially productive agriculture region expect a healthy harvest of different crops this year, including an 11% increase in sorghum output, helping national aspirations for food security. Staff Writer MBONGENI MGUNI writes
Of particular interest to Batswana, however, is the nation’s staple, sorghum. National consumption ranges between 30,000 and 50,000 per annum and Pandamatenga has traditionally been able to satisfy the demand with exports in some years. The staple crop, however, represents a dilemma for commercial farmers.“Farmers don’t make profits from sorghum because the costs of producing it are high while the biggest buyer is the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board whose prices have not changed over the years,” Scheepers said. “That’s why farmers also plant other cereals." End of quotation.
The price of sorghum at supermarket Choppies in Botswana is: 10 kg BWP 14.95. (€ 1.07 on February 7, 2023) At Jumbo Netherlands: 400 gr € 2.89. (10 kilos € 72.25).
26 Jan 2023
Eswatini. Human Rights Lawyer's Death. Mswati's Afrikaner speaking to London Times, confirm list of 'terrorist' to be killed. 24 January 2023.
By Zweli Martin Dlamini
MBABANE:Arnold Pienaar,the founder of Bastion Security, a company that provides mercenary services to King Mswati has come-out to confirm that they have a list of terrorists to be killed.
Speaking to the Times of London, the Afrikaner ‘hitman’ who served in the South African army during apartheid and worked in Iraq,confirmed that his company signed a security agreement with the King last year but denied any involvement in the killing of human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko.
“We do training, it is nonsense that we are a hit squad or mercenaries,” he told The Times.
After working in Swaziland for a number of years defending commercial forests from arson attacks, Pienaar said he had struck up a relationship with the King and offered to help with the worsening security.
“I could see that the security forces were totally untrained for the job of dealing with terrorists,” he said.
24 Jan 2023
We helped pay for that land – State
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 | 3160 Views | In the continuing legal tussle between government and Bamalete over Forest Hill 9-KO farm, the state has now revealed that it is entitled to the land because it helped settle the remaining debt when the tribe could not.
Forest Hill 9KO farm dates back to 1925 when Balete bought the farm for investment purposes. Then the tribe contributed to raising the 3,000 Sterling Pounds required to purchase the land from Aaron Siew. Appearing before the Court of Appeal (CoA) bench yesterday state counsel Advocate Sydney Pilane said Balete failed to pay the original owners of the land outstanding balance and that is when the government stepped in. Pilane said the government had paid part of the loan therefore it is entitled to the land.
The state is appealing last year’s High Court decision that the land belongs to Balete. “The tribe was unable to settle the remaining arrears therefore it asked the government to settle the debt. Government has stake in the land,” Pilane said in his submissions at the CoA yesterday.
He also argued that the government has a stake in the ownership because it took over the payment of arrears and did something that the tribe at the time could not. Pilane however revealed that this was not a loan and therefore there were no terms of payment. “It was neither an expropriation nor acquisition. It was a change of trustees from the chief to the landboard. Balete are not losing this land, they will just have different trustees,” he said. Pilane further argued that by taking the land, the government through Malete Landboard will allocate part of the land primarily to Balete tribe.
For his part Balete lawyer Geoff Budlender said what the government did when they took over the land was a compulsory acquisition of land and there was no consent from the tribe. He said the government did it without without the willing consent of its owner. "Balete were left with no legal right for their land. It was a freehold land owned by the tribe. The tribe asserted its ownership rights leading to loss of ownership,"he said.
Judgement on the matter will be delivered on February 17.
23 Jan 2023
Moseka Phofu Ya Gaabo...
Monday, January 23, 2023 | 1070 Views |
Ga-Malete Kgosi (Chief), Kgosi Mosadi Seboko has asked her tribe to support her and come in larger numbers at the Court of Appeal tomorrow (Tuesday) where they are battling with the State over dispossession of their farmland.
When addressing her community at the tribe’s cultural event dubbed, “Letsatsi La Barwa Kgodumo, Letsatsi La Ngwao” at Ramotswa Kgotla (traditional place for community meetings) Kgolo ya Gamalete on Saturday, Kgosi Mosadi said she was going to fight with everything she has for their land. She called on the community to support her during the difficult time saying Balete need the land because the government had already taken most of their land and people have no grazing land and neither farms. “We are still going to fight for our land till the end. Balete bought that land with intension of extending their village. All the land in Ga-Malete is gone. It has been taken away from us. We are not saying people from other tribes should not be allocated land in Ramotswa. All we are calling for is for the government to let us keep our farmland. It is the only inheritance left for our children and us. If the government takes it, how are our people, more especially the less privileged, going to survive?” she said.
Kgosi Mosadi added that her tribe and forefathers who then put its title deed in her forefather’s names bought the land. She added that it was surprising that the government wanted to dispossess their land while white people owned many farmlands all across the country. She highlighted that only a few citizens owned farmlands. Kgosi Mosadi further said there were people who badmouthed her in her community and cautioned them against doing so, saying if she loses the land they as Balete would also have lost. She said they were in trying times where they need to be united as the community. Even though she called on her tribe to accompany her to court, she pleaded with them not to cause chaos. She said buses would be available at different dikgotla across the village for all members who are willing to support the course. The government has for a long time been engaged in a bitter war with the tribe over the farmland known as Hill 9-KO. It has been an unending war when government informed the tribe that it was time for the cessation of the tribe’s ownership of the farms by cancelling its title deed.
For his part, former MP Olebile Gaborone urged Balete to support Kgosi Mosadi throughout the case. Dikgosi who graced the event included Kgosi Bana Sekai from Mochudi, Kgosi Mompoloki Motswagole, Kgosi Malope II and their wives. There were other dignitaries such Taolo Moshaga and Dr Olebile Molefe of Olefile Molefe Foundation.
5 Jan 2023
This is war-Bangwato Royals on Khama warrant of arrest. (see January 3)
This reminds me of the war dances that tribes, facing each other, performed before they began to slaughter each other in a game they called "war". If the Bangwato tribe continues with their plan, would they appear on the scene in traditional dress with special spears and knives? Would the government join them in this game?
It is disrespectful of me to express these thoughts on a website. But looking at the picture in Mmegi depicting serious and angry looking male Bangwato tribesmen/Royal Family members, I can't take these people seriously after their statement: This is war.
3 Jan 2023
This is war-Bangwato Royals on Khama warrant of arrest
Mmegi. Friday, December 30, 2022 | 2400 Views |
Following former president Ian Khama's warrant of arrest yesterday, Bamangwato (a Botswana tribe) Royals say they are shocked by these developments, because they view the move as a fight against their tribe. Khama was slapped with a warrant of arrest Thursday by the Regional Magistrate Court .
The royal family's spokesperson, Chimbizani Chimidza told MmegiOnline that it is shocking that government is still after their "Kgosikgolo" (emperor, supreme chief) even though it has been proven that he has done nothing wrong. "The Chief Justice has said it himself that this criminal charges against our Kgosikgolo are maliciously motivated, so it's now shocking that the State wants him arrested. We view this as a plot orchestrated to deny Bamangwato a chance to live peacefully with their Kgosikgolo in Botswana," he said. Chimidza said the royal family will meet after the holidays to discuss the matter of Khama's warrant. "At the moment, we are just waiting for everyone to return from the holidays. We will meet over this matter as the royal family," he added.
Khama has been on a self imposed exile in South Africa since last year. The former president has been charged with 14 criminal charges ranging from unlawful possession of a firearm to receiving stolen property.
According to the warrant of arrest issued by acting regional magistrate Mareledi Dipate Thursday morning, Khama is to be apprehended on sight and brought before the Broadhurst Magistrate Court. Khama who is the second accused in the matter has never appeared before court since he was charged in April 2022.
1 Jan 2023
We wish all people worldwide, but especially the readers of our website, a prosperous, happy and healthy 2023.
30 Dec 2022
Refusal to be buried in own land. December 23, 2022, Mmegi reported:
"Gaoberekwe family’s burial dilemma. The fight between the government and Gaoberekwe family over the burial of their late father, Pitseng Gaoberekwe is the one that stood out for me during the year under review as it went on to grab international attention. The family, who are of San origin from New Xade, have been battling with the government in court for a year over their desire to bury their father in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). The deceased’s remains have been lying in the mortuary since mid-December 2021 pending the finalisation of the court case." End of quotation.
Pitseng Goaberekwe lived most of his life in the CKGR, until he became ill and moved to New Xade to be with his family, to be looked after by them. His family had been removed from the CKGR many years before that time. His wish was to be buried in the CKGR after his death. This was refused by the government December 2021.
Until today, the government does not allow the San to own land. Considering they were the first inhabitants in southern Africa, they are already the owners of the land and therefore no need for them to buy any of it. It is impossible for the government to refuse them to bury a family member in the CKGR. Paramount chiefs of tribes who arrived in Botswana after the San, were given a prominent burial plot, on top of a mountain, so they can be seen and rememberd all the time one is in the vicinity. What do the government officials and judges think to gain buy the refusal?
What surprises me, is that there has been no sign in the news papers of Batswana standing up for this family. As most people in Botswana belong to a religion (16% are without a religion, source Wikipedia), one would expect them to support the family in their problems. Their religion tells them to support fellow human beings when these are in need. Might they have been scared for repercussions? Are they too tired from scratching a living together to get involved in other people's problems? Or do they think the San are not worth it to get involved in?
The last sentence in Mmegi's report states: "However, things took a turn when the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) made an application before the High Court barring the family entry into the CKGR. To me, this is a human interest story that needs to be followed as it develops." End of quotation.
Link to the Mmegi article: https://www.mmegi.bw/news/gaoberekwe-familys-burial-dilemma/news
My advice to the government officials, judges of the concerning courtcases and their attorneys is: To take Mr Pitseng Goaberekwe straightaway to the CKGR, to be buried in the place his family wishes, in the manner his family wishes. And put the crematorium bill in the paper shredder.
20 Nov 2022
President Masisi warns people who don't let their children go to school.
that after the independence of Bechuanaland in 1966, which has since been called Botswana,
Around 2015 I was at Nampol Vocational Training Center during the graduation ceremony for the students. The district alderman for education said that after the independence of Bechuanaland in 1966, which has since been called Botswana,the government embarked on a nationwide education plan to teach as many children as possible to read and write across the country. But that education was now aimed at a more extensive curriculum.
President Masisi can blame people who do not allow their children to go to school, but might compulsory education not be more effective. Otherwise, mopping up the bathroom floor with the bathtap still running and the bath overflowing. What could be the reason that people keep their children at home. Could it be to let them work so that there is money to buy food? Because there is no money for the (compulsory) school uniform? Because their culture clashes with the school culture? The schools are obliged to interweave the Christian religion in their timetable. Corporal punishment may be given, although they are subject to regulations. This goes against the San culture.
Masisi went on to say: "The government is committed to providing a safe and stimulating environment for children to grow up and to develop their full potential." That would be nice. But to achieve that, more social workers, teachers and supervisors in all (boarding) schools must be appointed. I do not want to prejudge the implementation of Masisi's good plans, but I am very curious to see what the result will look like. He will also review the Botswana School Feeding Programme for all schools. Hopefully a meal will not only consist of a bowl of cooked brown beans, as I noticed during a visit to a school in 2015.
19 Nov 2022
No child must be denied school- Masisi. Mmegi 16 November 2022. Sharon Mathala.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has raised a stiff warning to parents and guardians who deny children the opportunity to go to school.
Masisi said this during yesterday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). The President noted that “under no circumstances” should a child in Botswana be deprived of going to school.
“I note with concern that some parents and guardians choose not to send their children to school, contrary to the best interest of the child. No child, under no circumstance, be it yours, those of your relatives, domestic helpers and farm workers, should ever be denied access to education,” the President issued the stern warning.
Masisi further pointed out that his government is aware of instances where children are subjected to child labour.“No child should be subjected to child labour. All of us have an obligation to ensure that children’s rights are safeguarded and promoted.”
“Government is committed to providing a safe and enabling environment for children to grow and reach their full potential. As such, the review of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s Policy framework will be completed during the second Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP),” he continued.
According to Masisi to ensure that no child is left behind in education, government has since approved the Languages Policy of 2022 which will be used for basic teaching from pre-primary to standard 2.
“This Policy will be introduced in the following languages, from January 2023: Sheyeyi; Thimbukushu; Naro; Nama; Afrikaans; Khwedam; IsiNdebele, OtjiHerero/OtjiMbanderu; Shekgalagari; Ikalanga; ChiShona; Chiikuhane; and, Sign Language. The agreed orthography and dominance in the regions where the languages are spoken, were some of the criteria used for their selection,” Masisi pronounced. Botswana, according to the President will also work on reviewing the school feeding programme.
“Following the 2021 World Children’s Day commemoration, I received 75 letters from children, citing nutrition as one of the key challenges in child development. This gave impetus to the review of the Botswana School Feeding Programme for all schools. In the spirit of children’s rights, children are not only to be seen but must also be heard,” The President noted.
6 Nov 2022
Transferring money well organized. Or not?
Transferring money to Botswana is quick and easy with our bank. A small problem is that the money cannot be transferred in Botswana Pulas (BWP). I solve this by looking up the exchange rate of that day from € to BWP on the internet, converting the amount to be sent to BWP and adding some extra money, in case the exchange rate has dropped by the time the money is exchanged. When transferring you can choose between: Option 1. Share bank costs with the recipient (You only pay the costs of your own bank. And the recipient pays the costs for his/her bank.) To prevent you from being surprised because less money has arrived than intended, you can choose option 2. You pay all costs, so for your own bank and the bank of the recipient. I always use option 2.
Our bank's website states: The money is immediately credited to the recipient's account within Europe. For transfers outside of Europe this can take a few days.
After the transfer I made on October 20, 2022, the Transaction details of this transfer stated: Payment has been received. At recipient on October 21, 2022, 3:22 PM. The shipping date was October 20, 2022 2:53 PM.
Because the daily exchange rate is announced after 11 am in Botswana, I have used the exchange rate of October 21, 2022 to calculate the BWP amount. This was more than enough to pay for the school fees for 2023 and the new school uniform of the student we sponsor. I also calculated the exchange rate for October 20, 2022, that was also enough.
So that was the theory. However, the amount that arrived was enough for the school fees and 1 t-shirt. This amount was exactly BWP 2000 less than what I had calculated for October 21. Had someone not looked closely and mistaken a 9 for a 7? No, a copy of the recipient's bank statement clearly showed a 7. And that the payment was not received on October 21, but on October 24.
I reported the above to the recipient, who would ask for advice about this from his bank.
I called my bank three times for an explanation of the difference in theory and practice. This resulted in being given conflicting information, which I also encountered in various places on the bank's website. It was confirmed that in option 2 all costs are indeed paid by the client. But I was also told that my bank has no direct contact with bank(s) in Botswana and the money was sent through other banks (how many/which/where?) who could all take some money off for their own expenses. But that was just not the intention when using option 2.
We now have to wait for the response from the Botswana bank and for inspiration to find out what really happened to the money sent.
31 Oct 2022
Sunday Standard. Masisi's nephew seeks BWP 17m retribution. 28 October 2022. Sharon Mathala
As the bitter court battle between President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s sister and nephew over government tenders gets heated and dirtier, the Director General (DG) of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Peter Magosi has once again been fingered in the ruling party funding saga.
The battle is over the half-a-billion pula water tender awarded to Masisi’s sister, Boitumelo Phadi Mmutle and nephew Olebile Joseph Pilane through their shared company, G and M Building Services (Proprietary) Limited, listed as the first defendant in the court papers.
Other defendants are from second to fourth (Kelebogile Monnatshipi, Tswela Khumo Ventures (Pty) Ltd, and Huashi Li).
Sordid details surrounding the controversial Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) tender for the Goodhope Sub-District water supply have exposed how the first family, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), and now the DIS are all involved in government tenders.
The President’s nephew feels he was elbowed out fraudulently from G&M soon after the P550 million tender was awarded and now he is coming out with guns blazing at his aunts and other business associates for allegedly pushing him out in what he perceives as an attempt to defraud him of his share of the loot. Turning to what he is entitled to, Pilane revealed that he was deserving of over P17 million of the P550 million water tender. “The first defendants’ 40% share of the said profit would be P43,975,972.36. The plaintiff’s share in the first defendants’ profit of P43,975,972.38 (which would be the amount owed to their company from the 40 to 60% joint venture) is P17,590,388.95,” Pilane has argued.
Read more: https://www.mmegi.bw/news/masisis-nephew-seeks-p17m-retribution/news
The exact details in this article are not clear to me, partly because the text is sometimes a bit confusing. What is clear to me is the enormous profit that is made in this tender. After all, water is a product that belongs to everyone.
Previous ublication on this sunject.
The Botswana Gazette. 5 August 2022. Petition against President's sister withdrawn.
Petitioner wanted P500K in director’s fees or the company liquidated
Petitioner has confirmed withdrawal but declined to say why
President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s relative, Olebile Joseph Pilane, who had dragged the President’s sister Boitumelo Phadi Mmutle to court over a company that had been awarded a P550 million water supply tender, has mysteriously withdrawn the case from the Lobatse High Court where he had registered a petition for the company to be dissolved.
“The relationship between the shareholders and directors of the respondent company has broken down, there is no prospect of reconciling and your petitioner respectfully submits that it is just and equitable for this court to grant the order for the winding up of the respondent company,” the petition read.
Read more: https://www.thegazette.news/news/petition-against-presidents-sister-withdrawn/#.Y1-2B3bMJPY
27 Oct 2022
Botswana. Five suspended on corruption allegations. Mmegi. 7 October 2022. Innocent Selatlhwa.
Five Ministry of Agriculture employees have been suspended pending investigations into corruption allegations involving P24 million.
According to information gathered by Mmegi, the five employees including a Director were suspended after P24 million was used to drill just three boreholes under the Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) programmme. Reports were made alleging that the employees could have benefitted from the money as it was thought to be exorbitant. They have since been suspended while the Ministry is investigating the matter. The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is also involved to get to the bottom of the matter,” an inside source said. Minister for Agriculture, Fidelis Molao would not be drawn into discussing the specific matter.“We always receive reports on allegations of corruption and misconduct. I cannot discuss the matter as investigations are still ongoing. When we receive such reports, we follow set procedure to get to the bottom of the issue.Most importantly, we use these to identify and close gaps to avoid any leakages in the future,” he said.
26 Oct 2022
Climate change threatens Botswana's tourism – World Bank. 29 July 2022. Sunday Standard by Thobo Mothoka.
Climate change and environmental degradation pose existential threats to Botswana’s tourism and its competitiveness, a World Bank report has said.
The report says the acceleration of desertification caused by Climate change is putting pressure on key wildlife habitats, particularly through water scarcity.
Botswana’s wildlife tourism is concentrated in the northern part of the country, driven primarily by water sources such as the Okavango Delta and Chobe River.
The World Bank says Climate change and water scarcity, along with geopolitical implications in upstream Angola, may threaten the competitiveness of Botswana’s wildlife safari offering, which is dependent on ample water inflow into the Okavango Delta.
“Early indications are that changes in water levels, flow, and seasonality are already affecting biodiversity, as well as the spread and migration patterns of iconic wildlife species across the delta and Chobe. Botswana’s growing elephant population has also led to increased instances of damaged crops and infrastructure (leading to conflict with local communities) as well as natural resource degradation through reduced tree cover that is used by other wildlife for shelter and food.”
25 Oct 2022
Botswana committed to environmental protection. Mmegi. 4 March 2022.
NAIROBI: Botswana continues to pursue policies that ensure the conservation of the environment due to the government's commitment to sustainable development, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.
Addressing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 50th-anniversary commemorations in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday, President Masisi said the country continued to ensure the safeguarding of the environment through various policies and interventions.
He said the country had made significant achievements in environmental management and managed to update and enact new legislative and policy instruments to address evolving environmental challenges.
"In order to contribute effectively to the global challenge to address climate change, we have strengthened and updated our nationally determined contributors and adopted the Climate Change Policy and the National Adoption Plan," President Masisi said.........................
The article ends with: The President also made a plea to the global community to incentivise conservation success, instead of coming up with punitive measures for such efforts. End of quotation. The whole article can be read on https://www.mmegi.bw/opinion-amp-analysis/botswana-committed-to-environment-protection/news
Some articles require a subscription on Mmegi. If you are unable to open this article, you can send us an email (email@example.com) with the request to send you a copy of the article.
They are beautiful and learned words that President Masisi used. But very vague. Either he didn't use the right words to explain the plans, or it is a political game. I wonder how many people in Botswana will recognize their own environment in these plans.
24 Oct 2022
In the column "The megacity" (Dutch daily newspaper Trouw), Andrea Dijkstra described the strict road safety rules imposed in Rwanda by the autocratic president Paul Kagame, and what effect this has in the capital Kigali. Moped riders and passengers all wear helmets, each vehicle waits at a red traffic light. If you drive through a red light, you will receive the €25 fine on your phone within seconds. The average Rwandan earns €150 per month. You can be fined €100 for throwing waste on the street. So the president is doing a good job of protecting his subjects in the traffic and keeping the country clean. But what possesses him not to protect human rights in Rwanda and to put his opponents under lock and key or even have them murdered? Even for opponents of his helmet-wearing obligation, having to wait at a red traffic light and throwing rubbish on the street, these would be very harsh punishments.
16 Sep 2022
Sunday Standard. 5 September 2022. by Obusitse Kologwe.
OLDM Walk generated since 2002.
Debswana- Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mine (OLDM) Annual General Manager’s charity walk has raised P6.9 million (€ 528,630) since its inception in 2002. This is according to Debswana Corporate Communication Manager Agatha Sejoe.
On Saturday OLDM held its annual General Manager’s 10km and 20 km walk which attracted over 1 500 participants and various sponsors. The annual General Manager’s Walk is part of Debswana’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and it seeks to raise awareness of the socio-economic needs of the Boteti Sub District, raise money towards deserving community focused interventions and to improve employee wellness by encouraging a balanced, active and health lifestyle.
Sejoe said since its inception 17 years ago the Charity Walk has contributed immensely to the development story of Boteti Sub District.
“Major projects that have resulted from this initiative include the psycho-social support project for orphans and vulnerable children in the Boteti Sub District. Further, the walk has sponsored the construction of eight houses for less priviledged families at Xere, Khwee, Mokubilo, Mosu, Kedia, Mmea, Letlhakane and Mmatshumo at a cost of P1.2 million,” she said. End of quotation.
Several other projects have been completed sponsored, or partly, with this money.
9 Sep 2022
Second travel update.
An airplane ticket for the trip to Botswana from April 10 to May 25, 2022 was purchased. Then a message came that one of the projects was canceled; I heard nothing more about another project. I was welcome at the third project. However, the description of what this organization had already set up remained very vague. From previous contacts with them I suspect that they hoped to get money and/or goods and that after I left the project would stall. A new project could have been to explore the living conditions of the San and other minority groups in two cities. We wondered if it was worth leaving Henk (husband) alone with our Downs son. Henk could get Corona and therefore not be able to take care of our son. It will be at least 3-5 days before I get back. Also, my worn knee could function reasonably well for a long time, but maybe not. I will be 80 years old in January. I can handle stress less and less.
I am sorry that supporting the San, especially the children, has to stop now. Actually, staying twice three months a year would have been more effective. But this was not possible because of our son.
The investigation of whether there is still a need to provide financial development aid continues. The website would be too small for reports of corruption. This happens in so many countries that it would be easier to find out where it isn't happening and put those countries on the SEMK website as an example.
All in all, there are more reasons to stay at home than to go to Botswana.
6 Sep 2022
Eswatini. Swaziland News. By Zweli Martin Dlamini. 19 July 2022.
MBABANE: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit on eSwatini political crisis has been postponed again after King Mswati avoided to appear before the regional body that facilitates a political dialogue.
Mswati, an absolute Monarch is currently unleashing his police and soldiers to shoot and kill dozens of civilians merely for demanding democratic reforms. Read more
1 Sep 2022
I thought we were done with killing for the time being and wanted to return to camp and rest. I was suffering from shock and felt that I must lie down. But this was not the end. Buno was not yet satisfied. He challenged Tuys to shoot at running targets! Tuys tried to talk him out of the idea and suggested that they had better go and get some gin. But Buno would not be put off.
He led the way to a point a short distance from the kraal, where there were clumps of bushes and long grass. Warriors were made to dodge in and out of these bushes while their king potted them. This required much better shooting, and the men turned and twisted in and out of the brush like mad things. Buno found that he could not kill enough to satisfy his brutish desire and soon tired of the "sport." Tuys, however, had to take his turn, and he was able to miss even more frequently than before. Sick as I felt, I was rather amused at Tuys missing these poor savages. I have often seen him stop an antelope in full flight, and we have a saying that "only a bullet travels faster than a springbok."
This happened about 150 years ago. One would expect that the current king Mswati III would have moved with the times and would treat his subjects humanely and with respect. Several reports in Swaziland News indicate that this king still orders the killing of his people, at this moment of time because they disagree with him about his way of ruling. Unfortunately, the pro-democrats do not agree on which form of democracy ought to be choosen. Should Swaziland become a republic or a constitutional monarchy?
30 Aug 2022
Read first 27, 28 and 29 August.
Buno's face darkened. His bloodshot eyes flashed and for a second I thought he would strike Tuys.
"The king commands! Buno, king of the Swazis, commands!" he shouted in a hoarse voice. "Shoot! Shoot and kill more than I did, if you can!"
I was holding Tuys's rifle and he came over to where I was standing. I was so sick with it all that I hardly heard him when he spoke to me hurriedly in Dutch.
"We must go through with it," he whispered. "Kill as few as you can. Shoot them in the head and they'll die quickly!"
A second later Tuys raised his rifle. Each shot that hit meant death; there was no need of stabbing when he shot. Buno taunted him at each shot, and in spite of being the best shot in the Transvaal Tuys was able to miss as many as possible without arousing the suspicions of the bloody king.
When he had finished my turn came. I could hardly hold the heavy rifle. Buno fairly abused me, for he was raging by this time. One taunt I well remember.
"O Mzaan Bakoor, you of the great ears!" he shouted, his voice now a hoarse growl. "Show the king that you can shoot as well as you hear. Oom Tuys cannot shoot. You beat him!"
So unsteady was I that I could not have held the rifle firmly if I had wanted to. I shot, and never were twenty shot so many. My score was much worse than Tuys's, but the memory of that murder match will never die!
Buno was jubilant over his victory. He seemed to think that he had shamed the white men before his people and his indunas also gloried in his victory. I think they were rather glad that they had not been asked to serve as targets.
29 Aug 2022
Read first 27 and 28 August.
The indunas gathered about and I could see the horror in their faces. They knew what was coming, but even then I did not suspect. Tuys looked startled and gazed at Buno as though he could not understand. Down the lines the plumed heads still nodded and after a moment there was silence.
The savage king slipped a clip into his Mauser, the metallic click intensified by the silence. He raised the rifle, sighting down first one line of warriors and then the other. The next instant a shot rang out and a plumed Swazi pitched forward and lay writhing in the sunlight. As Buno threw another cartridge into place, two warriors stepped out and stabbed the fallen warrior.
Four more shots rang out, and at each a plumed head came down, with shield and assegai crashing as they struck the ground. Each warrior was stabbed as he lay, the killers quietly stepping back into the ranks.
It was the most ghastly spectacle I had ever attended. We Boers have always had to fight for our lives and farms, so that sudden death was no novelty to me. But such a slaughter as this!
Buno completed his twenty shots and made three misses. These angered him and he shouted out the equivalent of "I'll get you next time!"
Then came Tuys's turn. He had been thinking rapidly and I had a faint hope that he would find some way out.
"O King, it is not fitting that your warriors should die by my rifle," he said hurriedly. "You are king and their lives are yours; I am but your guest and it is not right that brave men should be killed by one who loves only peace. Let us shoot at other targets. Let us kill cattle so that there may be a feast to-night".
28 Aug 2022
Read first 27 August.
After dinner, during which Tuys told me more stories about Buno and his cruelty, we attended the shooting match. I don't suppose there was ever another like it. It was a most terrible exhibition of savage beastiality and ought to have been called the "murder match," instead of a shooting contest.
When we arrived at Buno's kraal we found him walking excitedly up and down, the rifle in his hands. Standing near him were a score or more of his indunas (a Zulu/Xhosa title meaning advisor, great leader, ambassador, headman or commander of a group of warriors) and we were struck at once by their look of apprehension. Lined up on either side of the wide roadway leading to the royal kraal were thousands of warriors. More than a dozen impis (a group of warriors) were in line, every man in his full war costume. Their knob-kerries (a sturdy stick with a knob at the end) were held at the ready, their shields across their bodies, and each had shifted his assegai to the position used in battle.
The lines of savage warriors stretched away from the kraal for hundreds of yards. It was the first time I had ever seen the impis of the king on parade and it was a most impressive sight. There was a slight breeze and the white plumes on their heads danced in the sunlight. What struck me most was the splendid build and stature of these men. They were all six feet or more and their black skins fairly shone. Most of them wore leopard-skins caught about the waist and on one shoulder.
My rapid inspection was broken by the king. He greeted us vociferously, and I immediately saw that he was on fire with the gin he had drunk. No sooner did he raise his hand in salutation than the impis gave the royal salute. Their deep shout ended with the crash of twenty thousand feet brought down together. The earth fairly shook.
I realize now that this salute was a tribute to the cruelty of the ages. In just such a manner did the gladiators salute Nero with their "Morituri te salutamus!" ("Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you") A few moments after the salute I realized that these men were also about to die.
"Come on, Oom Tuys, come and let the king see how well you can shoot!" Buno shouted. "I have provided the only targets worthy of your skill—you who are noted for your shooting among a race of white men who have conquered all with their rifles! I will shoot first, and then you shall beat me!"
Then he turned suddenly to me.
"And you, too, Mzaan Bakoor, little induna! You, too, shall shoot against the king! First I will shoot, then Oom Tuys, and then you. Each will shoot this many shots," and he held out four clips of five cartridges each.
27 Aug 2022
After reading a couple of articles in Swaziland News about King Mswati's response to protesters asking for the country to be democratic, you might think these stories are from an exciting book. The two newspapers published in Eswatini (Times of Swaziland and Eswatini Observer,) do not publish anything about these events at all. The fact that these two newspapers are released in Eswatini and the Swaziland News from South Africa, could mean that it is not safe for the staff of this newspaper to release the paper in Eswatini.
We go to the end of the 19th century and the book “Adventures in Swaziland” by Owen Rowe O'Neil, published in 1921. The story of a South African Boer, who after being brought up near Swaziland, educated at Edinburgh and Harvard and was made a warrior of the Queen of the Swazis. It is not a “travel” book, but the narrative of a man who has lived a great part of his life with a savage African tribe.
Free of charge to be read on http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38447/38447-h/38447-h.htm
Quotes from the book "Adventures in Swaziland". Owen's uncle, Thuys, is a friend of King Buno of Swaziland. He takes his nephew to visit King Bruno. Page 54.
"Buno has asked me a thousand times to bring him a rifle," he said, "but always I have refused. As you know, the Swazis, like other kaffirs, are not allowed to have guns. Death is the punishment we deal out to those who sell rifles to these savages. Now Buno has his heart set on owning a rifle, and the last time I saw him I promised that I would get him one.
When they are near the King's kraal: "In the cart I have a Mauser with about five thousand cartridges, and the outfit is for Buno. You will want to come to Swaziland many times in the future, so I am going to make Buno your friend for life. I am going to allow you to present the Mauser to him!"
"He gave me the rifle and handed Sibijaan (One of two San boys who were "found" in the field. This one was offered as a playmate to Owen.) a heavy bag of cartridges. Then he loaded a dozen of our escort with more cartridges and bottles of gin. Thus loaded down, we set out to call on the most powerful and savage king in South Africa.
26 Aug 2022
RARE PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT: Super intendent Bhekani Khumalo, the Malkerns Station Commander, who protected both the police and protectors.
Swaziland News, 25 August 2022. By Bongiwe Dlamini
MALKERNS: Superintendent Bhekani Khumalo, the Malkerns Station Commander demonstrated true policing on Tuesday when he controlled both his police officers and public transport employees to maintain peace and avoid confrontations.
In eSwatini it is rare for protestors to deliver petitions without being shot by the police, dozens have been killed since the political unrest started.
Police normally exercise caution when dealing with public transport employees as they normally exercise their power and influence a national shutdown without even applying for protest permit from Municipalities.
In a unusual conduct, police demonstrated professionalism during the delivery of a petition where the public transport employees were demanding justice for their colleague Sabelo Dlamini who was allegedly shot and killed by police officer Nkola Mabuza during the political unrest.
Reached for comments, Muzi Nhleko, the founder and National Organiser of the Eswatini Kombis, Buses and Allied Workers Union(EKABAU) confirmed that the Station Commander maintained law and order during the delivery of the petition.
“It’s true, we were not assaulted by the police on that day, the police Station Commander was professional hence they were no confrontations and chaos. We have always maintained that protestors are peaceful, it is the police that provokes them. If the police can work professionally in the country and do exactly what Station Commander Khumalo did, we will protest in peace in the country with no deaths and injuries,” he said.
Efforts to reach Station Commander Bhekani Khumalo proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report.
But Nhleko said they noted that while they were addressing the police, soldiers were camping nearby waiting to shoot them, he said the soldiers were driving in a foreign registered GD6.
It has been disclosed that after the delivery of the petition, some public transport workers were abducted by the police who found them next to Gcina Army Barracks in Matsapha, they then handed them over to soldiers who tortured them.
23 Aug 2022
Swaziland News. By Zweli Martin Dlamini. 21 August 2022.
King Mswati: I will only release MP's Bacede Mabuza, Mthanderi Dube when surrendering the throne.
MBABANE: King Mswati allegedly told a team of Judges that he would only approve the release of incarcerated pro-democracy Members of Parliament(MPs) Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube when surrendering the Throne during what he described as “the firing of the last bullet”.
The Judges had gone to try and negotiate with Mswati to at least release the MPs and restore peace and stability in the country,however, the King is said to have stated categorically that he would not release the MPs.
“The King stated that he will not release the MPs but will fight until the last bullet.He said the death of the civilians and the security officers does not affect his Throne ngoba kusafa bantfu nje. Utsi yena usengakacali kusebentisa yakhe imali to defend his Throne,” said the high profile insider.
It has been disclosed that the Judges told the King that they have tried everything in their power to manipulate the law and keep the MPs behind bars, however, “it is now becoming clear in the eyes of the public that they are innocent”.
The insiders alleged that the King told the Judges that they must continue manipulating the law to prove that “they are educated”.
A questionnaire was sent to Percy Simelane, the King’s Spokesperson, however, he had not responded to our questions at the time of compiling this report.
This disclosure comes after King Mswati commanded police officers to intensify the shooting and killing of civilians, he said the police must meet them “eye for an eye”.
“I therefore advise you that as you go about your very important duties, you go out in full alert and in readiness to respond effectively and decisively against any criminal elements and you must meet them eye for an eye,” he said.
Eswatini is in the midst of a political unrest after King Mswati unleashed his forces to shoot and kill dozens of civilians merely for demanding democratic reforms.
Reached for comments, human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko, the Chairperson of the MultiStakeholder Forum said it long became clear that the King had no commitment to a peaceful resolution of the socio-economic and political problems of the country.
“It was clear from the beginning that the MPs committed no crime, the case was a hoax from the start. It is quite pathetic that Judges should approach the King before they hand down judgments. There is no reason in law why the King should be consulted on a matter/matters before the court. This is downright wrong. The judge before whom the matter is heard should simply hand down judgment based on the evidence led, if one is clear from the evidence thus far, it is that there is no case for the MPs to answer, save the fact that the King is abusing the judicial process to achieve political ends", said the human rights lawyer
The MultiStakeholders Forum Chairperson said the MPs must be released to enable a climate of peace for a political dialogue to start.
19 Aug 2022
A plane ticket has been bought for the next trip to Botswana. Departure on 10 April 2022 from Amsterdam to Johannesburg, return on May 24 from Johannesburg. On August 18, Window of Hope sent a message that they currently do not have a project for pre-schoolers. But I may teach the teenage mothers skills with they can use to earn money. Previously I had informed WoH that this is impossible, partly because I know nothing about what is needed in Botswana. There is contact with another group in Gantsi, they want me help with the care of street children and to set up a pre-school. In Molepolole a friend is looking for a space in a shopping mall to keep children occupied. Inquiries are being made at the municipality if and where this might be possible.
10 Aug 2022
Democracy. There are different views on democracy. Take Kenya, a democratic republic. The elections there on 9 August are watched with fear and trembling. It is feared that the two candidates will incite their own tribe against that of the other candidate, as this has already happened in the past. This resulted in many deaths. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs currently gives travel advice for Kenya: "The color code for Kenya is mainly yellow with a part orange and red. There are security risks in the red areas." Eswatini is an absolute monarchy. It has a parliament that has almost only advisory powers. Members are appointed in the local communities through a vaguely transparent procedure. They do not represent any grass root supporters. People who ask for democracy are killed by the army and police on behalf of the king.
During the 21st session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, 1964, concerning discussions on giving independence to Colonial countries, the Uruquay delegate stated that the Latin American countries had set a good example for the African countries to be able to be independent. The Tanzanian delegate "did not believe that democracy was now coming to Africa. The history of that continent had always been marked by bloodshed and what was now taking place in Africa was a proces of decolonization. It was therefore not really a question of democracy coming to Africa but a question of restoration to the Africans of the rights of which they had been robbed by the colonial powers."
In Botswana, President Masisi is currently on tour for the 2024 general election. Addressing delegates at the BDP Youth Wing Congress in Bobonong over the weekend, Masisi made the young people stand and pledge support for him and his party on their ’exciting’ campaign towards winning convincingly in the 2024 general elections. True democracy doesn't involve enforcing a pledge for support. Kenya became independent in 1963, Botswana in 1966 and Eswatini in 1968. Perhaps it is still too early for these countries to have switched to a democratic government? Uruquay became independent in 1828. So that country has a big lead and is, as far as I can judge, a lot more democratic.
9 Aug 2022
US firm, BURS seal 10-yr ‘track and trace’ deal. Tuesday August 2, 2022
Texas-based authentication firm, Authentix, says it has scooped a 10-year deal to provide the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) with technology to implement the contentious 'track and trace' system designed to crack down on alcohol and tobacco tax losses.
In a statement earlier today, Authentix said the new contract covers the marking and digital tracking of an estimated 500 million product units per year.
The track and trace system involves placing a biometric imprint on all alcohol and tobacco products as they are manufactured and imported into the country, allowing the BURS to check that the correct tax revenue is being paid and that the products are genuine and not illicit.
“The new digital track and trace system will boost tax revenue collections levied on manufacturers and importers by increasing industry compliance, reducing illicit trade, and preventing the underreporting of volumes,” Authentix officials stated.
Recently, BURS officials told Mmegi that the alcohol and tobacco industries were a key player in the estimated loss of P3 billion in tax revenues each year. Part of the problem, the tax collector says, is that the industries, particularly alcohol, have a high number of taxes, levies, and other statutory revenues due to government, which make under-reporting and understatement rampant.