As rain clouds gather above the Boteti skies, the clouds dance seductively but the scorching heat hits hard to dismiss any hope of rain pelts. The veldt is warm with backdrops of the cold. There is little sign of life as it is midweek. Ocassionally, a bird flies in the sky and a forlorn figure can be seen ducking in the forest. The life of the Basarwa in the Boteti is not only lonely but frightening too.
They live far away from resources. “As things stand, these people have to travel long distances to access basic services such as schools and health posts.
Some children get tired and frustrated from the up and down and end up dropping out of school,” said Botswana Khwedom Council public relations officer Banyatsi Salutu. In this forsaken area, having ambitions is a luxury. There isn’t much to do beyond being idle and if one has the energy, fornicating. Boteti is a mineral rich area and one would expect that the standard of living would be better. Instead, the opposite is the reality. Poverty and hopelessness are rife in the area.
“We have had more than four cases of women who gave birth in the open veldt or even kombis as they tried to make their way to hospitals to give birth. A special fare on a taxi is P25 and most of them cannot afford that money because there is no employment; they end up giving birth here, with no proper care,” said Salutu. When residents see outsiders, they flock to them like birds to carrion, hoping to salvage something. Most of the residents, particularly Basarwa, live in abject poverty. The area is undeveloped and improverished and puts a blot on Botswana’s development record. Although diamonds are mined in the area, the people here have nothing to show for it.
Their humour masks frustration and pain. They not only lack basic amenities but also pride and self identity; their dignity is gone, like that of a village harlot whose only sense of pride is once being desired, if only for five minutes. Speaking to The Midweek Sun recently, Botswana Khwedom Council public relations officer Banyatsi Salutu claimed that Basarwa were better off when De Beers operated in the area. “They got us jobs and cared,” he said.
Things changed when Debswana took over. “Basarwa were struck off the work roll and we were pushed out and treated like rubbish. It has been a roller coaster ride since then.” However, Debswana’s Matshidiso Kamona refutes this claim, insisting they follow the National Employment Act.
While she could not divulge much before engaging the personnel in Orapa/Letlhakane, she was aware that the Khwedom Council had presented some grievances. She asked for a questionnaire which she had not responded to by press time.
Salutu said that they wanted government to engage them on issues affecting the Basarwa and other indigenous tribes in Botswana. The Botswana Khwedom Council was registered by Registrar of Societies in 2008 and purpots to represent minority tribes and stands against the abuse and oppression of the Bakhwe (Basarwa). Salutu said it was horrible how issues affecting Basarwa continue to be treated with indifference, claiming that some politicians only showed interest in their plight for political mileage and were not really concerned with their condition.
Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has refuted claims that she is under the radar of the Financial Intelligence Agency. Dr Venson-Moitoi who pulled out of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race at the eleventh hour, was last week reported to have had her accounts frozen because she was being investigated by FIA.
It was alleged that the freezing of the accounts would have a negative bearing on her campaign as she could not access her funds. Responding to enquiries on the issue during a media briefing in Kang Village, Dr Venson-Moitoi said the allegations were far from the truth.
According to the former cabinet minister, all her accounts were clean and she was accessing her funds without any challenge. “The person who was saying all those things was lying. My accounts are clean as we speak. I was never confronted by FIA or anyone. As far as I know I am not under any investigations,” she said.
Linked to that, it had emerged that Dr Venson-Moitoi’s campaign was being funded from outside the country especially by the some rich families in South Africa. Reports then suggested that her source of funding was blocked through the intervention of FIA, and that even her accounts were frozen. She dismissed the reports as propaganda that was perhaps spread to soil her campaign.
“I am clean. This is why I am never mentioned in missing funds from National Petroleum Fund or those of Capital Management Botswana,” said the Serowe South Member of Parliament. Last month Dr Venson-Moitoi had reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi that she was not happy that she is being followed around the country by security agents.
Magosi dismissed the claims on grounds that his organisation is not the only one that uses private motor vehicles.
ARRESTED FOR RECKLESS DRIVING
Simba Mooketsi Mampori, 31, of Mbalambi allegedly killed his girlfriend in Bontleng, Gaborone and used her blood to scribble a message on the wall.
The message read, ‘Ke lapisitswe ke maaka’- translated to mean ‘I am tired of lies.’ Matlhogonolo Moshashu’s body was found inside his sister’s rented house in Bontleng.Mampori and Moshashu, 34, had a two year-old child together. Mampori allegedly killed her in March 31 by stabbing her with a screw driver, which was found inside the house. In an interview with The Midweek Sun this week, Otilia Kholiya, one of the tenants in the yard, said that she arrived on that fateful Sunday to find a yellow tape surrounding the yard with the police all over the place.
She said that she was the one who helped with cleaning. “He used her blood and wrote ‘Ke lapile ke maaka.’ I washed all the blood in the house by myself. Although police officers suspect that he used the screw driver they found in the house to kill her, I beg to differ. “That blood was just too much, it must have been something bigger,” she said, adding that they found a new dress that the deceased was going to wear to Mampori’s sister’s baby shower.
Another tenant Nicah Mandefu said that the house belonged to Mampori’s sister and that she rarely slept there and preferred her parents’place in Gaborone. She stated that she saw Mampori with his girlfriend arrive on Saturday around 4pm. “I don’t know him much because the house belongs to his sister. He probably just needed it for the weekend to spend time with his girlfriend who was staying and working outside Gaborone.
“They just greeted me and another tenant as we were sitting in front of our house. They stayed for 30 minutes and left. They would come again around 7pm,” she said. Mandefu said it was the first time she saw the deceased.
Mandefu said that Mampori’s sister arrived on Sunday around 9am, found her house locked and asked about his whereabouts. “She then told me that the lady he was with was actually his girlfriend and mother of his child,” she said. After some time, the sister returned to tell them that she received a report to say Mampori was found in Mmankgodi where he had tried to hang himself on a tree after killing Mashashu.
Upon failing to kill himself, he drove off recklessly at high speed, thus catching the attention of the police who stopped and charged him with reckless driving. “The police then noticed that he was not well as he had bruises from trying to kill himself. He could not even speak to the police but wrote down his mother’s phone number and gave them the keys to the sister’s house.
“They then took him to Thamaga Primary Hospital to be attended for his wounds on the neck, and later the police called his family and finally drove together to Bontleng where they found his girlfriend dead inside the sister’s house,” the neighbour tenant narrated to The Midweek Sun.
According to Botswana Police Service Deputy Public Relations Senior Superintendent Near Bagali, Mampori is also linked to another murder that occurred on 26 March in Gaborone in which a 39-year old woman from Molepolole was found with stab wounds.
At the time of his arrest, Mampori was awaiting trial for two murder cases committed in Mahalapye and Gaborone in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The deceased were his girlfriends. He was arraigned before Extension 2 Magistrate Court last Wednesday. He is incarcerated and expected back in court on April 17.
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